Ask A Guy: We Act Like A Couple, So Why Won’t He Date Me?

Dear Ethan,

I dated this guy for a little over a year, but we broke up due to his immaturity level. But we never really stopped talking. Now, another year later, we are doing everything that a normal couple would do, but we are still not officially “boyfriend and girlfriend.” He’s not working, so I am really the one who pays every time we go out. We don’t even have that many pictures together, but when I ask to post one on a social network, he gets all crazy. He always preaches that he doesn’t care what other people think, but he doesn’t want people to think we actually are boyfriend and girlfriend. What is this? Why won’t he date me? I don’t get it!

I’ll tell you exactly what this is, girl: time to move on!

For a moment, let’s excuse the shameful detail that he doesn’t have a job and relies on you financially. Let’s even ignore the fact that he tries to limit what others think of your relationship by censoring your public photographs. These upsetting truths aside, his inability to commit is enough proof that he’s nothing more than dead weight.

When a guy begins to drag his feet after the first few months of a relationship (or hooking up), you only have a small window (a few weeks, let’s say) to set boundaries and make your intentions clear. As soon as you begin feeling that your relationship has plateaued, you needn’t waste any more time expressing how unhappy you are with the lack of commitment you’re getting. This is the make or break period of any romance, the precipice between “casual hookup buddies” and “bf/gf.” If a guy can’t commit to exclusivity after three or four months of dating, he probably never will – and isn’t worth chasing after or trying to convince either way.

When you let a guy coast by on his own terms for too long, you’ll end up in a situation like the one you’re in now. Relationship patterns established over such a long period of time are nearly impossible to break – it’s almost certainly too late to amend the informal roles you’ve established for one another. Add to this the fact that you already broke up with him once before for related reasons and it becomes absolutely clear that you will be best off cutting your losses and severing all ties before he wastes any more of your time!

Good luck!

Ethan Fixell is a writer and comedian from New York City best known as one half of comic “dating coach” duo Dave and Ethan. He is also the creator and editor of For more on Ethan, visit…or call his mom, Robin.

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Posted in: Ask A Guy, Love Advice
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  • Lauren

    I work with this guy who’s flirted with me since I started working there. A month after a started, he kissed me. A month later he kissed me again and yet we still haven’t gone out nor has he actually asked me out. He said we should try “hanging out” first. I’ve tried twice to “hang out.” The first time didn’t work out. The second was a for sure only his ex-girlfriend and 5 yr old son got in a car accident and I got ditched at the theater. I didn’t know and he didn’t answer any of my texts/phone calls until the next day. I’ve kinda decided that the ball is in his court but he still just flirts and I don’t know what to do. Why won’t he ask me out? He got jealous when I talked to another guy who works there and I know he likes me – but he seems to always be working somewhere or has transportation issues and I’m not sure how much longer to give him. Advice?

  • Jochan

    I dated this guy for a little over a year, but we broke up due to his immaturity level.

    You broke up, because you thought he was immature. You started dating him again without making your intentions unmistakenly clear.

    These upsetting truths aside, his inability to commit is enough proof that he’s nothing more than dead weight.

    More likely, Ethan is just utterly naive or as empathetic as a jellyfish. She should just ask him, what he likes about her. Da more detailed the answer, da more likely that he really loves her, which should be asked in the end. Fredy-cats need some gentle approach. It is not about saying something, it is about saying something of importance.

  • Suzzy

    I’ve been dating this guy a little over a year. He is great and we have fun together. But, when we are among mutual friends at gatherings he acts as if I’m just a silly girl chsing him. He ignores me. I once asked him to come talk to me and he looked around puzzled and said “who me?” I was furious! But he came to talk to me anyway. What in the world is going on? Then when we’re alone he apologized and was back to his normal self.

    • Reagan

      It seems to me he might be afraid inside to let others see how much he likes you. When it’s just to two of you he can express that more openly but around others he might shy up. Is suggest asking him if there’s anything you can do to make him more comfertsble and maybe ask him to open up on what the issue is. He might confide in you or he might push you away. If he pushes you away he might not feel ready to admit what he’s afraid of but you should try to make it easy for him to tell you this.

  • Marie

    In my situation, he isn’t ready for a relationship because he got so hurt by the one he was in right before me. He always tells me he still really likes me but I have no idea what we are because were in limbo. Recently he came to visit me at college and I didn’t know how to treat him so I decided to treat him like a friend. He initiated kissing and making out and he took me out for dinner, but alas he left and its been two weeks of not hearing from him. Its like out of sight out of mind for him. I know he’s not ready but I cant move on when he comes to visit and act all cute like he wants me. I made it known to him that I want a commitment and that I wont sleep with him unless I get it. He says he respects this and likes me for this. I love this guy, but I don’t know if he will ever be ready and I don’t know how long I should wait. A short back story…We dated for many months but he graduated from college where I am still enrolled there. We are like 45 mins away now. He had just gotten out of a relationship when we met, and says that he isn’t in the right place right now for another one. He seems to be plagued with the things that went wrong in his last relationship and his ego and self esteem are shaky. We continued dating.

    He says he would love to get his life in order and have more money and be stable before he gets involved. I am very confused about how to treat him….a friend, a boyfriend? We don’t have sex together because I made it clear I want a relationship, but sometimes we get a little carried away and he has done many pleasurable things to me. He is respectful of my wishes in this area, and tells me he doesn’t want me to change my views because me being the classy girl I am is why he likes me so much.

    His most recent visit he spent a lot of time with me and I did not initiate anything. I do feel like I am never his first choice though. He was all cuddly and flirty and we ended up making out a lot and cuddling. We ended up sleeping next to each other for a night, and he event took me for dinner. We get along so well and go so well together, he has even said it. At the end of the day, he wont commit. He calls when he wants to and we talk for hours and he will sometimes flirt with me. I am not a priority in his life. I feel like he is a wonderful man, but he controls the attention I give him. When he wants it he calls. When he doesn’t want it he holds me at arms length.

    I have had a recent injury that had decreased my mobility. I have become slightly depressed over it all and am having a hard time. I need more than anything to lean on him, talk to him, and have him be there for me, and he isn’t. I feel like I can’t call him to vent or talk to him, for him to make me feel better because he isn’t my boyfriend. I am always there for him but I feel like it isn’t reciprocated as much to me. He continues to tell me that he likes me a lot, and has also said he hasn’t been with any other girls. I am logically a single girl, but when he shows up every month and gets all cute and kissing with me, or calls once a week and flirts on the phone, it has me sitting around confused and waiting for him. I don’t know what to do.

    • clara

      @Marie What had happened now? may i know? what did you do? coz i had the same situation. please help me.

  • Grace Turner

    Dear Ethan,

    My problem is, I am almost certain I have ‘fallen’ for my best friend. And I’m not sure if he feels the same? All this year we have been extremely close, but the past few months its been different, for me it was after we first kissed and because he’s such a great guy I couldn’t stop myself from developing some sort of feelings. We talk almost every day and I feel miserable when I’m not talking to him. We are both incredible stubborn which makes it even harder. I don’t want to be the one to say it first! And of course no one wants to be ‘rejected’.. How do I find out if he feels the same?? HELP

    • Anne

      @Grace I have practically the same problem! We never kissed and he insists that he sees me as just a friend, but whenever he drinks he gets super flirty and I can’t tell if it’s because he likes me or because I’m a girl and I’m there. Stupid mixed signals are driving me up a wall! And I can’t just avoid him, he’s my best friend :/