21 reasons he keeps you around when he doesn’t want a relationship

You’ve done just about everything that “serious” couples do. You’ve traveled together, hung out with each other’s friends, and maybe even met each other’s families.

But despite all this, you’re still stuck in that limbo between relationship and courtship.

Although there are many reasons why a guy might not want to fully commit to a relationship, it typically falls into two categories: 1) it might be about him; 2) it might be something that you’re doing.

Learning to decode the difference between the two will save a ton of heartbreak not just from this guy, but all the other men you’ll be dating in the future.

Does he want you, but not a relationship with you?

There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing where you stand in someone else’s eyes, especially when you are madly in love with that someone else.

Many women find themselves in this endless tango with a man who isn’t really their boyfriend, but who isn’t really “just a friend”.

So does your man want you – says he loves you, but does not want a relationship with you?

If you have experienced any of the following, this may be exactly the case:

  • He cancels plans last minute with some unexpected excuse
  • He doesn’t treat you with the kindness or love that you think you deserve
  • He acts like a different person sometimes, especially when other people are around
  • He doesn’t show you off on his social media accounts
  • He hasn’t taken the time to introduce you to his close friends or family
  • He doesn’t really plan things with you, and just expects you to be ready whenever
  • He loves it when you guys “get physical” but act distant otherwise

Testing him: How to find out that he doesn’t really want a relationship without asking

It can be awkward asking someone if they want to be in a relationship with you, or why they don’t want it in the first place.

But the good thing is that you don’t have to ask at all; in many cases, the signs are obviously telegraphed, and all you need to do is put them to the test.

Here are some easy tests you can perform to see if your man is really “your man”:

1) Talk about the future

Whether you’re in a relationship with someone or just dating them, there’s nothing wrong with talking about the future.

This doesn’t mean trying to plan out the next 20 years with your guy; it can be something as innocent as planning a “serious” vacation or trip abroad in a few months or sometime next year.

If he wants you… he’ll react positively and enthusiastically, and he’ll love the idea of a trip and love the fact that you’re not only thinking about spending more time with him but thinking of keeping him involved in your life for the long term.

If he doesn’t want you he’ll react negatively and standoffish because he’ll be bothered by the fact that you are planning to keep him in your life for that long, while he probably assumes that you won’t still be seeing each other in a few months.

2) Add friends (and family) to the mix

No relationship exists in a vacuum, because no individual exists in a vacuum. We’re made up of the people who fill our lives, from our best friends to our siblings and parents.

So introducing your “special friend” to your friends and family isn’t something that should feel completely out of place; it’s a natural step in the growth of a real relationship.

If he wants you… he might be intimidated or shy towards the idea of meeting other people in your life, but he’ll want to score points with you and he should be open to the idea of it.

If he doesn’t want you… he knows that getting to know your friends and family will make him more of a jerk when he eventually disappoints you, so he will try to pull every lame excuse from the book to squeeze out of the possible meet-up.

3) See how reliable he is

A relationship isn’t just about pleasing each other and making each other happy. We commit to each other and help our partners through their struggles, both big and small.

Whether that means helping them move their furniture into a new apartment, or being the shoulder to cry on when they lose their job or experience a tragedy, the partner should be there to fill that need.

So you need to see exactly how reliable your man is, and whether there’s always a perfect excuse for his unreliability.

If he wants you… there will be very few things that can keep him away from you in your time of need.

4) Try to get him to open up

No matter how reserved and introverted your guy might be, he still has emotions and like anyone, he’s looking for the right person to share those emotions with.

It may take some prodding and pushing, but you can help him open up by opening up emotionally yourself and showing him parts of your personality that no one else gets to see.

If he wants you… he will understand that this is his opportunity to truly connect with not just another person, but with another person who deeply cares about him.

Even if he’s never had the chance to open up before, he will fall into the habit of treating you like his confidante.

If he doesn’t want you… he won’t want to commit to you and reveal the inner parts of himself to you. He will just keep you around as an option.

It will always feel like there’s a part of him that is hidden from you, and he’s doing that intentionally so that when he ultimately leaves, he won’t feel as guilty about it.

5) Get his full attention, and see how long you can keep it

The person you are dating or hanging out with should give you the respect of their full attention, at least sometimes.

This means that they are actively engaged in the conversation, that they are fully present in the activities you’re doing together, and that they aren’t always on their phone or coming up with reasons or excuses to explain their absent-mindedness.

If he wants you… then there should be no difficulty in getting his full attention because he wants your full attention. He’s eager and charismatic and loves the fact that you want him as much as he wants you.

If he doesn’t want you… then he’s always thinking about, “What am I doing after this?” You’re always just a period of time to him, a chunk of his day. You’re never the reason why he gets out of bed; you’re just another item he checks off the list.

21 reasons he is keeping you around without wanting a relationship

If a guy keeps you around but doesn’t want a relationship, it’s obvious that he doesn’t know what he is looking for. While he sometimes says that he doesn’t want a relationship, he doesn’t leave you alone either

Thankfully, with these 21 signs, you can see the true reason they’re keeping you around.

1) He avoids “the talk”

Have you tried to talk to them about defining the relationship? Are they avoiding it like the plague?

I’ll be blunt with you: this can throw you off and make you feel uncertain about your man. Not wanting to talk about defining your relationship can mean he isn’t really committed to it.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an unwelcome sign.

After all, it’s generally not easy for men to share their feelings with you. And avoiding “the talk” is (somewhat) understandable when you put yourself in their shoes.

2) Things go from intense to nothing

Do you feel like he is constantly hot and cold? Sometimes, things are hot and heavy. Other times, there’s nothing. You feel like you’re being pulled back and forth. Confusing, right?

This is one of the top signs that a guy doesn’t know what he wants. One moment, he thinks that you’re everything. And the next moment, he’s ghosting you. Think about all the people that you really like. You want to talk to them all the time.

Shouldn’t they be the same? A study showed that those who are truly interested are communicating with their romantic interest nearly every day. Only 7% of people who weren’t interested and kept women on the side were talking to their side woman every day.

If he tells you he doesn’t know what he wants then you may find the below video interesting. It will help you figure out what he is really trying to say.

3) Cancels last minute

Maybe when the two of you are together, it’s the best thing. You’re constantly connecting and showing each other that through touch, communication, and appreciation. 

But, the problem is you hardly ever see each other. That’s because when you’re about to get together, they cancel last minute.

Even when you think you’re going to get together, it doesn’t happen. 

This isn’t normal.

Someone who wants to build a relationship should be there every step of the way. They won’t cancel last minute more than a few times.

Sure, life happens. But many times, the excuses aren’t genuine.

It doesn’t matter how great things are when the two of you are together—if he’s canceling often, he doesn’t know what he wants. Or if he does, it isn’t you.

4) You haven’t met anyone important

Does it seem like every time the two of you are together, you stay behind at your house or go to non-popular areas? 

If you haven’t met any of his family or friends, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not a good sign. The guys who know what they want will show you off to their loved ones. They want their opinion, which is why you meet family and friends.

But if he’s going out of his way to make sure you’re not meeting anyone he knows, it’s clear he’s not ready for a relationship and doesn’t know what he wants.

5) He puts his dreams first

Look, putting your dreams first isn’t a bad thing. But men and women are different. Men usually have a checklist of things they want to accomplish before they step into a serious relationship.

So, he may like you. But it could be he isn’t ready for a relationship yet because he hasn’t reached all his personal accomplishments.

That’s not to say you aren’t amazing (you are), but he’s focused on something else. No matter what you do, you’re not going to change his mind to want a relationship if he’s focused on his dreams.

So, he does know what he wants—he just doesn’t know what he wants in his love life.

6) He doesn’t feel appreciated

For a man, feeling appreciated is often what separates “like” from “love”.

Don’t get me wrong, no doubt your guy loves your strength and abilities to be independent. But he still wants to feel wanted and useful — not dispensable!

This is because men have a built-in desire for something “greater” that transcends beyond love or sex. It’s why men who appear to have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else — or worst of all, someone else.

But you know what?

It’s not only about their biological drive to feel needed. It’s more about feeling encouraged, valued, and appreciated by you.

I didn’t really think about the importance of appreciation in relationships until I watched Rudá’s Masterclass focused on Love and Intimacy. He’s a world-famous shaman who has helped thousands of people build better relationships with themselves and their loved ones.

And thanks to his free, inspiring masterclass, I now understand that it’s worth examining how you and your partner encourage each other.

Otherwise, you and your partner might be facing an issue of codependency without even realizing it – which is something Rudá covers exceptionally in the video.

That’s why I want you to stop right now and ask yourself:

Are you both growing and learning in your relationship or are you falling into a pattern of codependency? 

Just think about why your partner doesn’t feel appreciated and whether they should be feeling that way.

If you find you need a helping hand to break free from this unhealthy scenario, you should also try Rudá’s enlightening masterclass.

Here’s the link to the free Love and Intimacy masterclass.

7) He doesn’t spend much time with you

If you’re in bed the majority of the time the two of you are together, this isn’t a good sign. It could be a classic friends-with-benefits thing, so you can expect that he’s really not interested in a relationship.

He may have someone else he’s interested in, or he may not. But he doesn’t know whether he wants to change the current predicament the two of you are in. 

Someone who wants to be in a relationship is going to spend time getting to know you—outside of the bedroom. He should want to know your likes, dislikes, dreams, and desires.  

8) He shows no effort

You’re the one putting in all the effort and planning. And when you do, he seems okay with it all. But when you don’t put in the effort, you don’t hear from him.

He’s probably not that into you if he isn’t showing effort.

As much as you’d like to be in a relationship with him, he clearly isn’t sure whether he wants to or not if he isn’t putting in the effort.

It could be that the situation you have on hand is too easy. He likes the arrangement and doesn’t want to put a label on it all.

9) He’s seeing other people

Fact is, this is one of the red flags for which you should watch out.

I suppose you wouldn’t mind going out and having open relationships. I mean if that’s how you want to move about your dating life, why not, right?

However, if you’re not into this kind of lifestyle, then maybe understanding how a man feels about the situation may be helpful.

Despite what you may have heard, the right thing to do is sit down and have an honest conversation with him. Don’t be passive. Be upfront with your questions and just ask for the truth.

Remember, this is your heart we’re talking about.

Obviously, you could end up getting hurt, especially if his answers aren’t exactly what you want to hear. But trusting your gut, speaking up for yourself, and being honest about what you want in your relationship will help you find out whether or not he’s the right person for you.

If it turns out that he isn’t, then at least you’ll know that you made an effort to understand him and see how things could turn out.

10) He’s scared of commitment

A guy who doesn’t know what he wants is probably scared of commitment. There are multiple reasons that this could have happened to them, but commitment-phobes hardly ever know what they want.

Though they want to be around you and they like you, they’re scared of starting a relationship with you.

So, they’ll show that they like you through small things—like being all in when they’re around you. But then they pull away or even say things that may hurt.

This indecisiveness can leave you confused and anxious about the relationship. 

But the truth is, it’s likely he’s been hurt in the past and is now hesitant to jump feet first into a new relationship, which is worth taking into consideration.

11) He doesn’t know what he wants because he doesn’t want you

This is one reason and sign that he doesn’t want a relationship with you anymore.

As hard as it is to accept, the guy you’re interested in may just not want you. Even if you feel good about the time you guys spend together, if he’s not putting in effort and trying harder in getting to know you, he probably doesn’t want you.

This sucks. But at the same time, all of these signs just show how much he has no idea what it is that he wants.

It all comes down to one simple thing: If you’re questioning whether or not he wants you, he probably doesn’t. 

12) He doesn’t want to hurt you

A guy may like you. Heck, he may even love you. And he won’t want to end things with you because he knows it will hurt you.

Whatever his reason is for thinking about ending things, he may not have the courage to tell you the truth. He may be afraid to hurt your feelings, so he chooses to avoid the situation altogether.

But you deserve better than that.

If a guy isn’t willing to have an honest conversation with you about his feelings, then he doesn’t really care enough about maintaining the relationship. It might be time for you to move on and find someone who will make you happy.

13) He’s been hurt in the past

You know he’s a great guy, but he’s slightly emotionally reserved and withdrawn. He keeps a part of himself sheltered away not only from you but from the rest of the world.

This might be a result of previous important relationships in his life; whether with an ex or with someone else who was close to him and hurt him in the end.

He loves being around you but he’s afraid that this relationship might end up being like his last one, and he doesn’t want to commit before knowing for sure that he won’t experience the same kind of overwhelming heartache.

14) He doesn’t know if you’re serious

He may actually be ready to sit down with you and commit to you right now, but the problem actually isn’t with him; it’s with you.

You may have shown him (without realizing it) that you’re not as serious about the possibility of a relationship with him as he is, and this may have put him off from committing to you.

If this is the case, then it’s time for you to sit down with him and have “the talk.”

It may be that he misinterpreted you in some way, or he has different standards from you even if the two of you are on the same page.

If he’s a jerk…

15) You’re giving him everything he wants

You’re already giving him the one thing every guy wants, so why should he bother to do more?

If you’re giving him all the rewards and benefits of being in a relationship even before you got into a commitment, then he doesn’t really see the need to lock you down and put a label on it.

16) He doesn’t want anyone else to have you

There are some guys with weird dictatorship complexes. It’s less about keeping you for himself and more about keeping you from other guys.

While his possessiveness can be a little flattering, understand that he doesn’t really see you as a partner. He’s not keeping you to himself so he can protect you. You’re there because he sees you as his property.

17) He doesn’t want to pay for your dates

Rewards and benefits come in different forms.

Other guys will keep you around for sex, while others will keep stringing you along because you’re paying for those great dinners and fun trips.

Maybe you’re the independent and strong type and he feels empowered just by being around you.

Either way, when his primal instincts kick in, he’ll do everything to make sure you keep pampering him, even if it means staying in a relationship that he doesn’t really want.

18) He loves playing the field

Maybe the guy you’re into simply hasn’t taken the time to grow up yet.

Unable to commit and make his own decision on which girl to date, he keeps a couple of you in rotation.

When one girl doesn’t answer, he’s sure to have one or two in the reserves. Even if he says you’re the best one, the truth is you’re just another girl on his rotation.

But then, you can do something about this. There are ways to make a man chase you after you slept with him. 

19) He’s made you his backup choice

Romantic safety nets are a thing, even for guys. This is typically the case with exes who can’t seem to make up their minds.

They disappear for months on end and even enter new relationships, but somehow always find themselves coming back to you again.

Is it destiny? Definitely not. This guy is probably scared at the prospect of being alone and keeps you around to save him from solitude after he’s exhausted all his options.

20) He’s afraid of being alone (or bored)

Do you ever feel like you’re only there to fill his time?

Some people (and it’s not just specific to guys) date around because they have nothing better to do with their time.

They use dating to fill up the downtime in between work and waking up. It provides a temporary sense of purpose and fulfillment, which people mistake for actual contentment.

If you feel like your guy is only half-present when you’re hanging out, it could be that he’s just using you as background noise.

He doesn’t really want to be with you; he just doesn’t want to be alone.

21) He doesn’t want things to change

So you’ve been seeing each other for a while but he still won’t have “the talk” with you.

One of the simplest reasons why he still keeps you around even though he doesn’t want a relationship is because he just doesn’t want things to change.

And not in a sensitive and sweet way.

The guy you’re seeing has gotten used to reaping the rewards of dating you and likely worried that taking things to the next level is going to put more pressure on him.

Simply put, he’s not ready to go above and beyond and wants to keep coasting on with you.

How you are accidentally “friend-zoning” yourself without realizing it

The notorious friend zone is an abyss many guys find themselves stuck in.

But it’s not just men who can get sucked into this vortex.

Women can also end up in the friend zone even after making their romantic intentions very clear.

Here are some ways you can put yourself in the non-commitment zone without even knowing it:

1) You don’t make him feel needed, just wanted

We all want to feel loved and needed. And like I mentioned, men are instinctive creatures and it’s in their DNA to want to protect and be chivalrous.

Showering him with all the attention without leaving anything for him to do himself can actually make him feel like he’s not needed.

Let’s face it, this can make him feel like the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.

2) You are always around and available

You made things way too easy for him. Now he understands that all he has to do is pick up his phone and text you, and you’ll come running to him without fail.

Guy brains like to “gamify” things. That means, just like in video games, they want things more they feel like they’ve earned through careful leveling.

I know it’s tempting to be always available, always eager to respond, in the hope that it will make you indispensable in his life. 

But let’s face it, that tactic rarely works. 

Instead, it often leads to you being taken for granted, which can turn into a toxic cycle of neediness and emotional imbalance in the relationship.

One crucial lesson I picked up from Rudá Iandê’s Love and Intimacy Masterclass is the importance of standing on your own two feet emotionally. 

In simple terms, being “the needy” one in a relationship means that you’re setting yourself up for a relationship dynamic that’s anything but equal. 

And if you feel you’re always needy, around, and available, again, I’d recommend giving this free masterclass a try.

Click here to access the free masterclass.

3) You became “too familiar” too fast

Have you ever liked a guy so much that you wanted to be completely honest with him? The truth is, honesty isn’t always the best policy.

People need time to get accustomed to each other’s quirks and personalities.

If he already knows everything about you before even having the chance to fall in love, he won’t see your less desirable qualities as a unique part of who you are.

If anything, he’ll just use them as reasons not to be with you.

4) You hurt him without realizing it

We don’t all have the same sensibilities, and you might be turning him off without realizing it with the little things that you do.

Whether it’s being overly critical, clingy, or judgmental, there’s something about you that he doesn’t like and is keeping him from fully committing to you.

5) The relationship just exists in your head 

The simplest explanation of it all: he simply doesn’t want a relationship.

No games, no mystery. It might be that all this romance is just in your head, or maybe he’s set his cards on the table regarding this relationship and you choose to ignore it.

At the end of the day, you can’t force a man to be in a relationship he clearly doesn’t want.

What do you do now? Move on or help your man out?

The answer is specific to you and the guy you’re dating. We’ve equipped you with the signs to self-diagnose your relationship and understand where you stand.

And how do you deal with someone losing feelings for you? 

At the end of the day, it’s still up to you (and your man), and whether or not this relationship is worth working on.

A checklist of questions you need to ask yourself before you decide to move on or keep helping your man realize that you are his perfect partner.

  • Have you talked to him? Does he know how you feel?
  • Have you given him enough time to process everything?
  • Is he honest with you, or at least, does he try to be?
  • Do you feel that you are wasting your time and you deserve more?
  • Is he holding back your growth as a person?
  • Are you trying to force something that nobody else believes in?
  • How much of this dilemma comes from him, and how much comes from you?
  • Have you given yourself too much of him?

If you’ve been open and supportive to him and he still doesn’t want a relationship, then take it a sign that he simply isn’t the commitment type.

At this point, there’s nothing you can do but move on and find a better relationship elsewhere.

Remember: there’s only so much you can do to help out your man. At the very least, he has to want to work things with you.

You can only support this relationship to a certain extent. If he’s not doing anything to make things work, pack your bags and leave this non-relationship immediately.

Want a fun way to figure out what to do?

You deserve better

Here’s the thing…

You deserve better. So much better.

When a guy doesn’t know what he wants but keeps you around anyway, you don’t deserve that. You deserve someone who will love you, want to get to know you, and who is willing to put in the effort.

A man who keeps you around but doesn’t want a relationship isn’t going to be worth the time and effort. He can always come back around when he’s ready for a relationship. But in the meantime, you shouldn’t wait around. Because truthfully, it doesn’t happen very often.

It’s obviously bothering you, as it should. He just wants to be friends but keeps on flirting. 

So, it’s probably time to cut ties.

Have a conversation with the guy you’re dating. If he steps up and wants to begin a relationship, then you have your answer.

If he avoids defining the relationship or beats around the bush, it’s time to cut ties.

As much as that sucks, it will make you happier. You don’t need a relationship to feel good about yourself, and a man that’s half-in is only going to make you feel worse. 

You shouldn’t have to ask why he’s keeping you around if he doesn’t want a relationship. Nothing good comes from that question.

It’s a hard conversation to have, and you may be scared to do so. But, you truly do deserve better. You’ll find a guy that’s all-in and ready to start a relationship. It may take time, but it will be worth cutting ties with the guy that’s keeping you on the side.

In saying that…

Although kicking him to the curb is definitely an option, here’s another one for you:

Try to get inside his head and understand what he’s thinking.

If a guy won’t commit, especially if he seems happy with you, there’s always a reason. If you really like him, maybe it’s on you to figure out what it is.

In my experience, the missing link in any relationship is never sex, communication, or a lack of romantic dates. All these things are important, but they are rarely deal-breakers when it comes to the success of a relationship.

The true missing link is often a deep, intimate understanding of your relationship with yourself. I know this from Rudá’s free Love and Intimacy Masterclass, which I mentioned above.

If you don’t grasp your own needs, insecurities, and relational patterns, how can you expect to understand someone else’s? 

So, before making any rash decisions, use this amazing opportunity to invest a little time in understanding yourself better to improve your relationship dynamics.

Click here to access the free Love and Intimacy masterclass.


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Jess Carpenter

I studied at The University of Utah where I earned both my B.S. and M.S. and am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES certified). My favorite spot to write is wherever I can see my toddlers to ensure they aren’t jumping from the second story or coloring on the walls.

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