Have you ever spent countless hours trying to move forward with a guy only to realize that despite your strong chemistry and love, he just wasn't going to take that next step? If so, you’re not alone.
Through my relationship coaching practice, I’ve had the honor of connecting with thousands of women who — despite being smart, successful and beautiful — have faced something painfully similar.
Some of these signs might appear obvious, but trust me: many intelligent women miss them, especially if the chemistry with him is strong. If you’re ready to create a long-term relationship or find yourself stuck in one that's not progressing the way you want it to, these nine warning signs can help you make a better prediction about your future with him and hopefully save you a ton of valuable time in the process.
1. He’s inconsistent in his pursuit of you (or isn’t pursuing you at all).
A man who’s interested in you finds a way. He calls, he texts, he initiates; in short — he makes it happen. If your man isn’t taking an active role in earning your heart, this is a sign he’s either too comfortable or taking you for granted. Unfortunately neither of these two scenarios is likely to result in commitment.
Similarly, when a guy shows up strong at first but quickly loses his passion for you and isn’t willing to do something about it, it’s a warning he’s not valuing you as strongly as he needs to, to make it work.
An example of this is that guy who makes you feel so wanted, alive and beautiful but can then go days (or even weeks) without even texting you. I call this game “hot and cold.” It feels exciting at times but will never make you happy long term.
2. He’s neither aligned with his mission nor searching to find it.
Your trust in a man usually grows in direct proportion to his degree of strength and confidence. The less passionate a man is about what he does, the less likely he is to offer you the kind of strength, decisiveness and commitment level you’re craving.
So while a guy doesn’t need to have already landed his dream job or started his ideal business in order to offer you commitment, he does need to be hungry enough to do something to get there. Without ambition and hunger, it’s unlikely he can offer you much depth of strength or groundedness and it’s easy for him to feel claustrophobic in commitment.
3. He consistently runs away or shuts down in times of stress.
After being married for almost 15 years, I can’t describe the large number of healthy challenges that my wife Gaby and I have experienced as a couple.
I’ve now come to understand that a critical component that allows a guy to stay in a relationship for the long haul is his ability to show up with an open heart, even under pain and stress.
Is this easy or fun? Hell no! But it is pretty important.
Be wary of a guy who doesn’t demonstrate a willingness to face challenges with you and either constantly runs away or pretends the problem isn’t happening. Trust me, no guy feels excited about having “a talk” with his woman, but those who do so with courage express a priceless attitude that’s essential to make a relationship last.
4. He doesn’t follow through with his word.
A man’s integrity is pretty synonymous with his manhood. His ability to follow through on big promises can be easily traced back to his ability to follow through on little ones.
When he sets a time to meet, is he usually on time? When he gets you excited about a plan, does he follow through on it? When he talks about his goals, does he take action? Does he call you when he says he will? Is he more committed to results or excuses?
There are plenty of ways to predict future behavior in a man and integrity is one of the most critical ones.
5. He leaves you out of most of his future plans.
You can tell a lot about how committed a man is by his capacity to envision and get excited about a future with you.
If your man is not taking into account your needs and desires in his future plans, this shows that he’s either not taking the steps to move into a longer-term relationship or that his fear of losing freedom today is more powerful than his desire to commit.
6. His default response to your requests is acting defensive rather than curious.
In order to communicate openly and courageously in a relationship and grow deeper in commitment, you need to feel confident that he listens to you.
If his default attitude when you express your concerns or bring up a problem is getting defensive or acting hurt, it’s just a matter of time before you shut down and resent him in a major way. As long as you’re bringing up issues in a non-critical way, he should have the capacity and curiosity to show interest and listen to you.
All guys can get defensive at times but when a guy is mostly defensive this demonstrates a level of insecurity and close-mindedness that can easily destroy the relationship.
7. He consistently fails to stand up to his family on your behalf.
It’s not a fun surprise to any woman in a committed relationship that being with a guy is in many ways being with his family, too. Family dynamics can add a tremendous joy or the most unnecessary stress to your relationship.
When his family members overstep their boundaries and he’s consistently unable (or unwilling) to draw a line in the sand and stand up for you, it plants an explosively damaging seed in your mind. The message you get is: He’s not strong enough for me.
It’s never about choosing you versus them; it’s about showing you that you are his priority now. A woman who doesn’t feel protected by her man will unknowingly start using her masculine energy to compensate for his gutlessness and this always ends up hurting both, especially in intimacy.
8. He has a significantly higher standard for your behavior than his own.
I’ve always found it fascinating to listen to couples argue and hear a guy demand something from his woman that he is clearly in no position to request.
Almost all of us (men and women) do this at some level; the challenge arises when he has a nearly impossible standard for you to meet, in terms of showing up happy, speaking kindly, arriving on time, exercising frequently, when he isn’t willing to go there first.
The more he expects from you without leading the way, the less you can trust in his sense of integrity and direction.
9. He can’t stand his ground when he needs to say no to you.
This might seem like a contradiction since all women want a man who’s generous and giving, but in truth, no woman wants a "pleaser." Part of what makes you feel attracted-to and confident in your man is his ability to, well, be a man. At times, this means firmly and clearly saying no to you even if you get upset.
When your man is flaky on his important values simply to win you over, you start doubting his ability to guide you and find it extremely difficult to relax, open up and let go.
Obviously you don’t want a guy who just says no, but you most definitely don’t want a man who consistently says yes when he’s compromising on something that’s of vital importance to him.
So now what?
Some of these red flags are more urgent and corrosive than others and some might affect you more deeply regardless of how trivial they seem.
While these nine behaviors are not a scoring system, and there’s no magic number that tells you if you should leave him or stay, I hope they inspire you to listen more closely to your intuition and heart.
No man is perfect and even awesome guys display a couple of these from time to time. If your man is displaying a few of these, have a talk. Openly share your standards and expectations with him.
Most importantly: be radically honest with yourself, don’t make up excuses to justify him and never settle for a guy who can’t give you what you need.