Learn the difference between men who want you forever and men who want you for now
1. He’s all about grand gestures, not small ones. He picks up every tab and takes you shopping for fancy things, but out of sight, out of mind. “He never does thoughtful things, like buying your favorite scone on the way to your house,” says dating coach Laurel House, author of the forthcoming Screwing the Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love. If he’s not doing little kindnesses that prove he knows the details about you, it’s probably because he doesn’t care to.
2. He shows you off at parties and then leaves you to mingle. You might like that he introduces you around. It’s his behavior afterward that’s telling, though. “The guy who won’t commit seems to forget to spend time with you during the majority of the party,” says House. And speaking of party…
3. He always wants to do something, not focus his attention on you. Your date nights are at extravagant restaurants, not at home just hanging out. “He prefers to decompress alone and not include you in life’s day-to-day,” says House. Committed couples want to be together most of the time. If he doesn’t involve you in morning runs and grocery shopping, “you’re not part of his real life,” says House.
4. He wants to share celebrations with you, not struggles. It’s great that he tells you about wins at work, but staying mum about setbacks isn’t necessarily because of his manly pride. “You are not who he turns to for real support or love,” says House. He needs to feel he can and actually do it, or else he can’t be in a lasting relationship with its inevitable challenges.
5. He tells you he wants a future, but only while on a high. If you’ve heard this exclusively when he’s drunk—whether from booze or accomplishments—it doesn’t count. House says it’s important he says this during a normal moment in life, when your heads are crystal-clear. “Cut to reality and bring it up again, and the non-committal guy will make you feel like you’re needy” for wanting clarity about your future.
6. He never plans ahead. Men who want to stick around start talking about events down the road the moment they see a future with you. The non-committal man is last-minute about everything, so don’t mistake this red flag for spontaneity. “He has a tough time committing to any plan that’s even a few days or a week out,” says House. “He doesn’t want to feel boxed in by anything” in case something better comes along.
7. He doesn’t make love to you how you like it. Not all men need the foreplay many women do to warm up, so with a guy who doesn’t care about your needs “it’s just a wham-bam kind of thing,” says dating expert Neely Steinberg, author of Skin in the Game: Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur to Find Love. Sex doesn’t feel intimate when you’re not getting satisfaction, and you won’t get it unless he strives to be sexually compatible with you.
8. His attention to you dwindles over time. And it shouldn’t, even though every relationship has ebbs and flows. “It’s not the end of the honeymoon phase, but his usual MO,” says Steinberg. “He comes on strong in the beginning to draw you in and win you over, but when he senses you’re expecting relationship-type things from him, he realizes he needs to withdraw.”
9. He criticizes more than helps. Men like to solve problems, but only tend to weigh in if you’re sharing one. So if he nitpicks your appearance, personality and more, “he doesn’t appreciate your individuality,” says dating coach and matchmaker April Davis, founder of dating service Cupid’s Cronies. He’s trying to change you, and when he can’t? He’ll be gone.
10. He says he’s not good enough for you. That “I’m-not-worthy” feeling can make you feel like he thinks he’s won the lottery with you. However, he may just be planting a seed for the reason he skips out later on. And if he truly doesn’t feel he’s on par with you, the relationship won’t last for that reason.
11. He doesn’t introduce you to the other women in his life. Guys can have female friends, especially if they’re part of your social circle and you get platonic vibes from their relationship. “But beware if he still talks to his ex or another female ‘friend’ and is hesitant to include you in conversations and outings,” says Davis. “This is basically saying that you come second.”
12. He doesn’t ask for your advice. When he’s in a pickle at work or doesn’t know how to broach a tough topic with his mom, he should want your insights as a strong, smart woman. If he goes to others for wise words, “it reveals that he values his friends’ opinions more highly than yours,” says Davis. And a man isn’t likely to enter a long-term relationship with a woman whose thoughts he doesn’t appreciate.