Ready for the Commitment Push?

Watch out! Here it comes...the age-old commitment question. Guys dread it, and girls don't understand why.

The Question
When you've been dating a woman for a while, sooner or later the question of commitment comes up. The push can come in different forms, often something like one of the following openers, depending on your girl's personality and the stage and length of the relationship:

  • The exclusive question - "Guys have been asking me out, and I'm not sure what to say about my status."
  • The direct approach - "Where do you see this relationship going?"
  • The living-together hint - "My lease ends in two months. Do you think I should renew it?"
  • The couple assumption - "I'm thinking about next summer's vacation. What do you want to do?"
  • The future-together hint - "My mom keeps asking me when we're going to get married."
  • The big push - "Do you ever plan to marry me?"

The Response
When you get the push from your girl, no matter how subtle or gentle, your response will determine the future of your relationship. Many guys simply try to avoid the commitment push. But you can't avoid it forever.

So you'd better be ready for the nudge or the big shove. How? By thinking over how you feel about having her in your life for the long term.

Some not-so-appreciated responses to those questions from your girl:

  • The exclusive question - "I thought we were just having fun!"
  • The direct approach - "Can we talk about this later? I want to see the end of this game."
  • The living-together hint - "Do whatever you want. Did I tell you I'm thinking about moving to Chicago, by the way?"
  • The couple assumption - "Oh, guess I forgot to mention that my buddies and I are planning a wild, two-week cross-country blow-out."
  • The future-together hint - "Why would your mom ask that?"
  • The big push - "Huh? Uh...uh...."

The Recovery
If her commitment question catches you by surprise, then you haven't been paying attention. If she's hanging out with you, then she's hoping for a future together. Maybe to her "a future" simply means dating for several months exclusively or maybe it means marriage. But she has some expectation that you continue to have something to offer her.

If the question makes your skin crawl and you have difficulty breathing, you've got to let her know right away. But don't tell her that directly! Tell her that you don't see yourself moving in the same direction she is. Tell her what you like about her and why you enjoyed the relationship. But also tell her why you're not right for her and that it's time to go your separate ways.

If you do want to be with her in the future but you just haven't recognized it or spoken the words, now is the time to make your feelings clear. She needs reassurance and needs to know why you think she's special. Be honest if you're not sure what the future holds, but let her know you want to continue to find out together.

And next time, be ready for the question. Because it's coming...

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