If you date regularly but still find yourself thinking, “I want a real relationship,” then I’d say either one of two things is happening: You attract women who won’t commit to you, or you can’t commit to them.
So which is it? Below, we’ll take a look at some possibilities, as well as explore ways you can find a woman who best fits into your life.
Scenario #1: I Want a Real Relationship but She Won’t Commit
At first glance, this doesn’t seem likely. After all, don’t all women want commitment deep down? But the truth is, lots of guys do chase women who continually keep them at arm’s length. Maybe you’re all too familiar with this.
I hate to say it, but if you’ve been dating someone a while but don’t get the feeling she wants a real relationship, you were probably friendzoned a long time ago. Why? Here are a few possible reasons:
- She takes you for granted. If you’re too available and contact her all the time, it gives her the message that you’re not at her level.
- She’s unavailable herself. Depending on her background, she might not be good at connecting with people. People with avoidant attachment styles (more on that later) can make it impossible for things to move forward. Or, there may be someone else involved — like a boyfriend you don’t know about — or an ex she’s still pining for.
- She’s keeping you around as a transitional guy. Yes, this happens. She may like you enough to spend some time with, but not enough to call you her boyfriend. And when someone “better” comes along, she’ll break it off.
If a woman friendzones you, the biggest thing you can do is try to learn from it. You can call her bluff and just ask her directly what the deal is. You could also do a little digging to see if any of your mutual friends have any opinions. But in the end, you’ll also need to take an honest look at how you approach relationships to see if you’re doing something to push women away.
Scenario #2: I Want a Real Relationship but Can’t Bring Myself to Commit
Ah, this is a tricky one. Deep down, you want a relationship with someone, but when the opportunity arises, you clam up and run away. For example, do all your relationships end in two months? Do you always run away when things get a little uncomfortable or when there’s a fight?
If so, perhaps you have an avoidant attachment style (like my boyfriend). In case you’re not familiar with what attachment styles are, here’s a quick rundown. (Just a heads up, it goes all the way back to your childhood.)
What Are Attachment Styles?
Starting from when we’re newborns, we’ve had to learn how to best please our parents. Why? Because we relied on them to survive. Depending on the type of parents we had, we developed different ways of behaving in order to get what we needed from them. These are called attachment styles, and these behaviors affect how we approach relationships as adults.
Generally, there are three different attachment styles: Secure, Avoidant, and Anxious.
Secure: If your attachment style is secure, your parents were most likely reliable and responsive to your needs. You’re comfortable with being intimate and close to people as an adult, because you trust that they will be there for you, just like your parents were.
Anxious: If your attachment style is anxious, your parents were inconsistent in meeting your needs — sometimes they were nurturing, while other times they were unavailable. You learned to cling to your parents to get what you needed, which is the same way you approach relationships now.
Avoidant: If your attachment style is avoidant, your parents probably responded to your needs in a negative way. An extreme example might be abuse, but it also could have been something like physical or emotional neglect. Now that you’re an adult, part of you assumes deep down that it hurts to get close to people, because that’s how it was with your parents. So you have a hard time trusting and being intimate in relationships, and either sabotage or avoid them altogether.
As mentioned above, people with an avoidant attachment style have a hard time committing to relationships. If you identify with that one, you might find yourself pushing women away even while things are going well, since connecting emotionally is hard for you.
To change this, try to become more conscious about when you are withdrawing in a relationship. For instance, do you consistently return her texts and calls? Do you reach out to her often on your own? Do you show up when you say you’re going to? Once you see how you withdraw, you can consciously make an effort to change your actions. Don’t worry if it feels uncomfortable at first, because most new habits do. Getting out of your negative pattern is the most important thing.
Becoming more secure in your attachment style takes time, but it’s worth the investment. If you have a hard time seeing your avoidant or anxious behaviors, try talking to a therapist. Then, once you’ve made progress in your own mindset, you can focus on finding your next girlfriend — and keeping her.
How to Find the Quality Girlfriend You Want
When you’re looking to find a relationship, do yourself a favor and be strategic about it. Sure, you could end up dating the next available woman you meet, but who knows if she’ll be girlfriend material?
Instead, be intentional about what types of women you ask out and where you meet them. One exercise I like to do with clients in my Signature program is to review past relationships and look for patterns. You can also do this on your own. Here’s how.
First, Make an Ex-Girlfriend Spreadsheet
Write down the names of your past five girlfriends or dating partners. Then, answer the following questions about each one:
- Where did you meet them? Try to see if there’s a pattern. Did you meet them mostly in bars? At work? Or somewhere else?
- What qualities did you like about them? Even if things ended badly, try to look at each relationship and see what you actually did like about her personality, or about the relationship itself. If you had to say one positive thing about each one — or the best thing — what would it be?
- What did you not like about them? Obviously these are the things you’ll look to avoid in your next relationship. But be honest with yourself, too. Were these “dislikes” actually unavoidable parts of her personality, or situations that you helped create?
Now, Make a Future Girlfriend Spreadsheet
Based on what you can see from your past relationships, decide which qualities you definitely want in your next partner, and write that in a separate list. Is she kind and thoughtful? Is she in better shape? Does she attend church? Does she have a great group of friends? Is she employed? Focusing on exactly what type of woman you want will make her easier to spot.
Then, Figure Out Where You Might Meet Her
Look back again at your ex-girlfriend spreadsheet — particularly, where you met your last five partners. Consider that where you tend to meet your partners could influence the type of person you end up with (for better or worse).
For example, if you were meeting women mainly at bars before, that could be why you always ended up with alcoholics. Or, if you tend to date younger women who end up being too immature, then meeting women on a college campus (even if you work there) probably doesn’t serve you well.
So, try mixing up where you meet future dating partners. Try new dating apps or sites, meetups, group exercise classes, coed sports leagues, etc. Or, ask your friends to set you up. Just be sure to think critically. Is a nice, thoughtful, caring girl more likely to be located in a bar or at a charity event, for example?
Remember to Be Realistic
If you’re a 45-year-old man who wants a 28-year-old girlfriend, you’re not alone — studies show that men continue to prefer women in their early twenties at least into their fifties. But I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that you’re competing with other men. If the age gap is too large, you’ll be competing with men who are as young as her, as well as everyone else.
So ask yourself, what do I have to offer a woman who is 20 years younger than me? You may have a compelling answer to that … but if you don’t, then maybe think about adjusting your expectations.
After all, a woman your age might have more in common with you, increasing the chance of creating a lasting bond. When your interests drastically differ, eventually relationships will fade away.
Hire a Dating Coach
A lot of things are simply easier with help. If you’re thinking, “I want a real relationship,” but still have trouble changing your dating situation, a coach like myself can help you see what you’re missing.
There are so many factors that can keep you from finding the right partner — and believe me when I tell you that most dating coaches have seen them all! Dating coaches are well-versed in looking at behavior patterns and common mistakes people make when it comes to finding love, and can help you reverse whatever is working against you.
Still Thinking, “I Want a Real Relationship with a Woman Who’s All In?”
That’s understandable. But obviously, just saying to yourself “I want a real relationship” won’t actually change anything for the better. Look at the patterns from your past relationships to see what has worked for you, and what hasn’t. Examine your dating habits and be honest about how you attracted people who weren’t right for you, or how you contributed to negative situations.
It takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience to turn your mindset around — but it’s worth it if you want to find that ideal girlfriend you’re looking for. Book a 1-on-1 New Client Skype session with me for more help with your particular issues with dating. During our time together we’ll further diagnose your dating history, discuss anything that might be holding you back, create an action plan, and we’ll also determine if my 3-month Signature program is right for you.