11 reasons he acts like your boyfriend but doesn’t want a relationship

Are you seeing someone who does everything a boyfriend does but runs for the hills whenever you mention making the relationship official?

Maybe he has even told you that he doesn’t love you, yet he acts as if he does.

If so, I feel your pain.

On one hand, he says the right things and makes you feel wanted. But on the other hand, he avoids talking about commitment and never wants to take things to the next level.

You’re confused, frustrated, and starting to doubt whether it’s even worth pursuing a relationship with this guy.

From one woman to another, we’ve all been in this situation and it’s tough, but by understanding why he behaves this way, you can decide whether to stick around or walk away.

So before we get to the reasons he acts like this, let’s first look into the signs that your fella has a problem with making the relationship official.

How do you know if you’re in this situation?

It’s not rocket science – your man makes you feel like he’s into you, but he either stiffens up or outpours a ton of excuses whenever it comes to talking about relationships.

Here are some of the ways you can work out if you’re dealing with this type of situation:

  • He doesn’t reveal much about his emotions
  • He can be unreliable, even in times when you need his help
  • He only pays attention to you when you’re with him, otherwise, he doesn’t go out of his way to keep in touch
  • He avoids talking about the future
  • He only ever wants to come round for sex

But I get it – even with all things, he still acts like your boyfriend.

To say it’s confusing is an understatement.

You end up pondering what he wants every time you hang out, and you can’t understand why he doesn’t just take things to the next level.

Well, that’s what we’re going to get to the heart of in this article.

Not only will we look at the reasons why he behaves this way, but we’ll also cover what your options are and whether it’s worth sticking around or not.

Let’s get straight into it:

Why does he act like your boyfriend but doesn’t want a relationship?

1) He’s unsettled in life

For one reason or another, the man in your life might not feel that he’s settled or stable enough to be in a committed relationship.

For some men, having their finances sorted or a house to call home is a must before they start thinking about entering a long-term relationship with all the bells and labels.

So, does he have financial issues?

Is he going through a difficult period in life?

Other ways he might be unsettled include if he’s recently been divorced or gone through a tough break up, or had to deal with a major life change like the death of a relative or close friend.

Whatever the reason is, it could be that he doesn’t feel like he can take on another “responsibility” whilst everything else in his world is up in the air.

How you can find out:

Start by looking at his financial and personal situation, and you should be able to pick up on hints that indicate he’s not feeling secure in his life.

If not – ask him. You’d be surprised how much you can learn just by asking, “are you where you want to be in your life?”.

2) It’s easy and convenient

As I write this, Steve Harvey comes to mind with his famous words of advice from his many chat shows – whether you’re a fan or not, trust me on this one.

Steve often deals with women who have the same problem, and his advice is always along the lines of, “he doesn’t want to commit, but have you required it?”

Simply put:

Are you letting him get away with it?

Think about it. He’s getting all the benefits of a loving, intimate “relationship” but with none of the responsibility or hard work that comes with it.

And what’s your role in this?

Have you told him that you want to be in a relationship? Have you let him in on your standards? Or have you stayed quiet in the hopes that he’ll come around on his own?

You see, many women, myself included, think that by staying quiet and “going with the flow”, we’ll get the results we want.

But that’s not always the case.

If you don’t make it a “requirement” that after a certain length of time you guys need to have “the chat”, then he’ll just carry on enjoying the perks without ever mentioning the relationship side of things.

As far as he’s concerned, it’s easy and convenient to keep seeing you because you aren’t broaching the subject of commitment.

How you can find out:

Try approaching the subject but in a way that shows him you know what you want, and that you don’t want to waste your time if he doesn’t plan to ever make your relationship official.

You’ll quickly see from his response how much he’s willing to take on the responsibilities, or whether he was just sticking around for the good stuff.

3) Want advice specific to your situation?

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4) He doesn’t see a future with you

In some cases, it could be that he doesn’t see a future with you yet he’s too comfortable (or cowardice) to tell you the truth.

When a man is sure of his woman and knows he wants to be official with her, he won’t miss the chance to commit.

Partly because he wants to start building a life together, but also because he doesn’t want anyone else to get there first.

But, if he doesn’t picture having kids with you or even being in a long term relationship, the chances are he’ll just keep stringing you along until he meets “the one”.

How you can find out:

Bring up the future and see if he’s open to talking about it or not. If he repeatedly avoids the subject, it’s clear that he can’t picture or even imagine a future with you.

If it’s unclear, you should just ask him where he sees the pair of you in a year or two’s time.

The truth is, men don’t plan out their future after the first date as some women do – but after seeing you for a few months he should know whether you have any sort of future together.

5) He’s afraid of being rejected

So we briefly touched upon fear of being rejected as a reason why some men won’t commit, but let’s look into it a bit deeper:

According to Suzanne Degges-White, a lot boils down to cultural expectations of men, such as being the provider and protector.

She explains that having this pressure, combined with past experiences of rejection could make some men react negatively when faced with a new relationship.

And this is especially heightened if they were rejected as a child, through abuse or neglect from their parents.

This pain stays with them into adulthood and depending on how traumatized they were, they may struggle with committing to relationships because of their fear of rejection.

If you’re thinking, “We’re already practically together, so why is he afraid of being rejected?” it could be that he’s afraid that making it official might change things between you.

And as a result, you might leave him.

This would still be a form of rejection, so for him, it’s safer to just enjoy what you have without investing himself in it fully.

How you can find out:

This will be a tough subject, so it’s one you should broach gently. If he’s willing to talk about it, you can offer to support him if he’s willing to face his traumas and move past them.

It’s up to him to work through these issues though, and since they may run from childhood, the healing journey may take a while.

6) He’s using you

This won’t be nice to hear, but he may be simply using you.

Whether it’s for the great sex or entertaining company, he might be sticking around just to pass the time with you but with no intention of ever making your relationship official.

At this point, you might be wondering, “what is he using me for?”

It isn’t always clear straight away, but ask yourself these questions:

  • Does he only come round for sex? (Then he’s using you for your body)
  • Do you pay for everything when you go out? (He’s using you for your money)
  • Does he only come to you when he’s feeling down and needs cheering up? (He’s emotionally taking advantage of you)

According to relationship coach John Alex, some of the reasons why people use others fall into the categories of narcissism, insecurity issues, and compensation for past inferiority.

So what does this mean for you?

Well, you aren’t to blame, that’s for sure – but you need to do something about this.

Your guy is probably dealing (badly) with something that happened in his past, or he’s got narcissistic tendencies and feels little remorse for using you.

How you can find out:

This is the easy part – take away/stop doing whatever it is he usually comes round for. If he continues hanging out, then you know he’s not using you.

But, if his behavior changes or he gets annoyed, you’ll have a clear sign that he was just in it for his advantage.

7) He doesn’t feel needed

Now, you’re probably wondering how he could want to feel more needed than he already does, but I’m going to let you in on a new concept in relationship psychology that’s generating a lot of buzz at the moment

It’s called the hero instinct.

You see, most of us think that we understand what men want from a relationship, but sometimes we miss the mark.

Above all else, men want to feel like a hero towards the woman they care about.

By a hero, I don’t mean a Marvel character or a situation where you need to act like a damsel in distress – far from it.

The hero instinct is all about triggering an innate biological drive within men.

It’s not about sex or power, but about a man feeling that he’s needed, loved, and essential to you.

It’s about tapping into his desire to help those he loves and to protect the people around him.

And the best part?

It’s super easy to do.

Letting him help you, supporting him and cheering his success, and simply letting him make you happy are just some of the ways you can appeal to his hero instinct.

Once you know how to trigger this in your man, he’ll feel that he’s worthy and appreciated, and will throw himself into a relationship with you.

To learn more about the hero instinct, you can watch this free video by James Bauer — the relationship expert who discovered it.

If you man is reluctant to be in a serious relationship, even if things seem to be going so well, then chances are you haven’t triggered his hero instinct.

Put the hero instinct to the test and see if his attitude towards you changes – it won’t take long to find out.

Here’s a link to his excellent video again.

8) You’re his safety net

And just as he might be using you for your body or your great companionship, he could also be using you as his back-up girl.

Essentially, you’re just there to fill in the gaps between actual relationships.

It’s pretty cruel, but the safety net concept has been around long before it got a name.

Whether it’s from fear of being alone or out of boredom, many men (and women) keep someone around just so that they have a plan B when plan A falls through.

So, are you his safety net?

You’ll know if you are if he doesn’t want anyone to know you see each other, or he started seeing you straight after coming out of a relationship.

It’s kind of like a rebound situation but one that passes its expiry date.

He doesn’t want to be in a relationship but he wants to keep you around while he waits for someone else to come along.

How you can find out:

Keep an eye out on how often he drops plans with you to go out with other people and whether he seems interested in other women.

Most guys keep a plan B while they keep hunting for plan A, so you should be able to tell if he acts like he’s fully single around other women.

9) He doesn’t want you to see anyone else

And if using you as a safety net wasn’t bad enough, some guys may keep you around simply because they don’t want anyone else to have you.

It sounds a little crazy, right?

Why wouldn’t he just make you his girlfriend if he was jealous?

Well, for some men it’s a case of being highly territorial. Regardless of whether he wants to commit to you, he certainly doesn’t want anyone else entering the mix.

I like to call this part “coasting”, where he does enough to keep you around but without ever making it official.

He hangs out, you talk on the phone every day and he says sweet nothings to you, but when it comes to taking the next step – he isn’t ready for it.

He knows if he does enough to keep you content, he won’t have to commit and you won’t be available to other guys.

How you can find out:

The easiest way to test this is to let him know that you’re keeping your options open, even hint at dating other people and see his reaction.

But, be careful here because it’s normal to feel some jealousy even if his issues have nothing to do with keeping you around out of possessiveness.

10) He’s insecure

Our final reason is insecurity. An insecure man will find it tough to make decisions – he’s always questioning whether he’s making the right choices or not.

One day he thinks being in a relationship is a great idea, the next day he can’t think of anything worse, so he keeps you around “just in case”.

It could be that he’s still finding his place in the world, or he’s dealing with some deep-rooted insecurities that make him feel inadequate and therefore he struggles to make decisions and see them through.

With this type of guy, it’ll be tough to break free, because a part of him does want the relationship but he keeps second-guessing himself and changing his mind.

And the worst part?

He could also just be keeping you around because he’s afraid of trying to find someone else.

With you, it’s a safe option because he already knows how you feel, but going back into the world of dating might be a scary option for him.

That’s why he keeps you around, to avoid making that leap of faith with someone else.

How you can find out:

Pay attention to how decisive he is in life and whether he regards himself as a confident, secure person or someone unsure of themselves.

When he talks about previous relationships, does he over-brag or under-play it? Either extreme could hint at being insecure.

11) He’s afraid of commitment

We’ve all come across a guy in our lifetime who’s completely petrified of committing, and they let countless great women go because they can’t get over this fear.

But what causes fear of commitment? According to Diana Kirschner, there are several factors such as:

  • Fear of being rejected
  • Afraid of not measuring up to your standards
  • Lacking in the ability to trust
  • Fear of having to mature
  • Not wanting to feel smothered or controlled

And ultimately, it’s a loss of freedom that puts many men off from committing.

Depending on many things, like his upbringing, friends, cultural beliefs, your guy may be struggling to be in a relationship because he’s afraid of the unknown.

Find out about his past – you should respect his privacy but also don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand him better.

So, is there any hope for this type of relationship?


It’s not all doom and gloom, but hopefully, now you’ll have a better understanding of why your man just won’t commit.

When I met my boyfriend over three years ago, we had the same situation.

We would hang out constantly, he’d always send me sweet texts asking how my day was…the man even bought me my favorite cake just to make me smile.

But he still avoided ever mentioning his true feelings or talks of a relationship.

If that isn’t mixed signals, I don’t know what is.

But things all came to a head when I left for a week to go on holiday. The time apart coupled with advice from his friends all made him realize that he didn’t want to lose me.

The same week I came back, he told me he loved me and we’ve been together ever since.

You see, my guy was dealing with fears of being committed after his last relationship broke down, but he was mature enough to face his fears, gather support from his friends, and move on.

The truth is:

Every man is different and they’re all dealing with their issues, so whilst I want you to be hopeful, in some cases, sadly, it may still not work out.

Some guys will get there, but others won’t and they’ll fall victim to their fears time and time again.

But instead of being dragged down with them, here’s how you can take control of your love life:

What can you do about it?

Now that you know it’s possible to make things work, you’ve got to try and figure out which issues your fella is dealing with.

Some, like using you or having a deep fear of commitment, are harder to deal with.

Even if you do manage to get a confession out of them, most of the time they’re in denial themselves and can’t recognize how their behavior is affecting you.

But, in cases where they’ve got low-level fears of commitment or they’re unsettled in life, you may be able to help open their eyes to how great you guys would be if you got together.

The way I see it, you have two options here:

Option 1) Stick with him and try and work through his issues

If you take this route, you should be prepared to have a lot of patience, and even then things might not work out.

If your guy wants to be with you, and he appreciates and knows your worth, he’ll try to make changes where needed.

But, he could equally not care and waste your time, so think carefully about how much you want to invest in this relationship.

If you do want to try, here are some tips for making the process easier:

  • Make him realize (subtly, through using the hero instinct) that he is valued and loved
  • Make him feel like he needs you – help him out, support him in his dreams
  • Meet his friends and family – if you hit it off with them, it’ll be hard for him to resist you
  • Be independent and don’t let him forget that you have your own life
  • Don’t accept crap – if he starts messing around, know when to walk away
  • Be honest about your feelings, if being in a relationship is essential then let him know that

The key isn’t to overload him with ultimatums or requirements.

But, you can start to bring your expectations into the mix. If he doesn’t rise to meet them, then he doesn’t care enough to make the effort (providing they are realistic expectations, of course).

And if he does, then you’ll be able to move past the limbo phase and create something meaningful and long-lasting.

Option 2) Walk away

If after reading the reasons above you’ve concluded that there’s no hope, then walking away is the best option.

There’s no shame in this as you’ve got to put yourself first and take care of your emotional needs – if he can’t respect that then it’s his loss.

Before letting him go, have an honest conversation about why you’re cutting things off, and even if he doesn’t change for you, he might realize and correct his mistakes later on in life.

Either way, you’ve got to keep yourself free and available to meet the right one – someone who wants to invest in you, create a life together, and love you unconditionally.

And if your fella starts with the excuses, stay strong.

For a lot of guys, keeping a girl hanging around is just a habit, and they’re so conditioned to say the right things because they’re afraid of being honest about how they feel.

Don’t fall for it, if he wanted to change he had the chance, now it’s your turn to go back out into the world and find someone who is looking for the same things in life as you are.

The bottom line

So, whether you decide to work things out or to walk away, at least you now know why your guy has an issue with being in a relationship.

Does it make it any less painful?

No, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and emotions into him.

But, it does make it clearer and you’ll hopefully be able to work out which course of action you want to take moving forward.

My final piece of advice here is that respect starts at home – love yourself, know your worth, and don’t let any guy hold you back from reaching your full potential.

And if that means walking away from someone who can’t go all-in with you, then so be it.

You’ll only be opening the door for the right man to come along and love you how you deserve to be loved.

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