Most men dread this question. At the moment of asking, everything goes silent. You feel your pulse race a bit faster and pull a fake smile to distract yourself from the cold sweat now gluing your shirt to your back.
But why would such a simple question, especially if preceded by the notorious ‘ Johnny, we need to talk’, cause such a reaction?
- Jason meets Carol.
- Jason and Carol start to have feelings for each other that indicate there may be something special about this relationship.
- Jason holds back and the relationship doesn’t get deeper.
- Carol feels this, gets upset and pressures Jason into commitment.
- Jason resists, protecting his freedom.
- Jason and Carol fizzle out , she is resentful that he wasted her time and he doesn’t understand why she needed commitment.
Before we give the ‘men are trash’ battalion their cue , let’s think about it.
The desire to define a relationship stems from our innate need for security, assurance and safety. On the other hand defining a relationship is a declaration of commitment. Whenever a title is put on a relationship, duties and obligations arise. Women who are socialized to express vulnerability more comfortably than men will not struggle to acknowledge their need for this.
And this is where the problem comes. In an ideal world, a man would woo and pursue a woman using whatever culturally contextual method of the time leading to marriage. But sadly life is not so easy.
Men desire freedom, men will match the streets, risk life and limb and wage wars for freedom. Men want to pursue desires and freedoms as big as space exploration or as small as coming home when they please.
At the same time, men also want deep meaningful relationships. Everyday a man is proposing, every weekend hundreds of thousands are getting married.
In the heads of men, there is often a disassociation of these two desires. Deep meaningful relationships look like a threat to the ability to pursue various freedoms. The commitment that is involved in relationships often seems like sacrificing your wild heart to be tamed to a circus.
So how have men adapted?
By having their cake and eating it at the same time. This is where men will have relations that a committed couple will engage in but refuse to label the relationship. Men will indulge in the company of a woman, her generosity, take her out on dates, a lot of time be sexually intimate with her but never call her ‘girlfriend’, ‘fiancée’, wife etc. Because then, they no longer have the freedom to detach as easily when things do not go as well or when another more suitable candidate shows up.
I’m not looking for anything serious right now..
What we have cannot be labelled..
Definitions are so old fashioned..
Let’s see where things go..
My friends have confessed to me the desire to cheat on significant others, every time a relationship hits a milestone because it reminds them, that the commitment is deeper. You often will hear of men who cheat on women a week after they proposed, a night before they get married or even when she falls pregnant. The innate desire to prove that you are indeed still free and that ‘you still got it’
Commitment is a big deal. We all have the innate fear of committing to the wrong person. We have around us, examples of destroyed unfulfilled lives because of wrong commitments. So, it isn’t because he only wants something casual…And it isn’t because he doesn’t want a committed relationship…And if you fall into the trap of believing that all men are afraid to commit, you won’t trust what a man is saying if he tells you he wants to commit to you… now would you? It just seems a lot more life altering for guys. It is a change that they have little control over after.
This was not written in defence of men nor was it meant to draw a conclusion. Rather it was to contribute, in a little way, to understanding those confused testosterone bags in your life who will just not commit.