You’re seeing a great guy—he’s everything a girl could ever want. Only problem is, he just can’t commit to anything more serious. He wants to, but the time just isn’t right—“yet.” He’s a one-foot-out guy.
Many a wonderful Giveaway Girl has spent years hitched to a guy or partner who will not move forward with her. And it sucks—even more so because these guys seem perfect on the surface. They aren’t mean, they’re tons of fun, they appear to really have their stuff together, and they seem to be going places. But the words “Let’s move this relationship forward—now” will never issue from their lips.
Granted, not all Giveaway Girls want to take things to a more intimate level or get married. But for those who do, this is a tough place to be for both parties, and it’s hard knowing when to walk away.
Amanda dated a married man for several years, despite her wanting a commitment. He promised he’d leave his wife for her (they were having so much trouble, he said). As time went on, the split never happened, but Amanda stayed with him anyway—the Giveaway Girl on the side, waiting and letting her blind love and optimism compromise her judgment and good sense. I wonder if Amanda is still waiting. That’s a tough spot to be in.
Why are these guys like this?
Several reasons … here are a few I have seen in my years of counseling experience:
- Attachment disruption: This is when a child isn’t able to form a loving, warm, consistent bond with a parent or caregiver.
- Lack of maturity: Usually, as one ages, one sees value and meaning in the longstanding connections of others in our lives. Some people just want to keep moving and not connect with others.
- Addiction to substances: If someone is overly connected to drinking or other substances, having a partner will risk that. Pretty soon, the girlfriend will start noticing and complaining about all the drinking or using that occurs. Best way to remedy that is make sure no one is around long enough to point out or notice a destructive habit.
- Addiction to the beginning of relationships: The beginning of romance, the first-time make-out sessions and sex can be intoxicating. The “wow” will always pale into less exciting rhythms. That’s how it works when you get to know people. Some people hate it when that drug wears off, and they have to move on.
- Loving the conquest: Some guys seduce for the challenge, the rigor, and the twists and turns. Once they have conquered, they’re ready to move on.
- Seeing the world differently: Some people don’t believe in long-term relationships. They prefer to have deep connections with people for a short time and then continue learning and exploring other connections. It’s how they’re wired. If they’re upfront about it, be sure to listen.
I once heard a story about a guy who would come into his therapist office and complain and complain about his relationship. So he dumped his girlfriend and got a dog. Then, he complained about the way the dog acted, how he always needed to take walks, and how he barked at other dogs. So he got rid of the dog. Finally, he got a plant. And then he got tired of watering it and got rid of the plant too. Finally, he was alone. And then he was lonely.
Things to think about …
If you are in a relationship with one of these guys and the relationship isn’t going where you want it, seek some couples counseling or individual counseling for yourself. No one can decide for you what steps to take and what decisions to make, but be aware that he may make a shift or he won’t. You have to decide what you think is best for your life and realize that sometimes, people aren’t who we want them to be.
About the author: Cherilynn M. Veland, MSW, LCSW, is author of the book Stop Giving It Away, a new book about developing healthier relationships with yourself and others. The Stop Giving It Away movement aims to stop the detrimental level of self-sacrifice in which many women live and work. For more insight, get a copy of Stop Giving It Away.