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How to Get a Guy to Commit (If That's What You Want)

06/09/2015 12:09 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2016
Leren Lu via Getty Images

You think that the man you like will never commit to you, because he can't or won't, or both. And that you'll never, ever find a man who will commit to you, because men suck and then you die. OK. Rewind.

A woman I know from Miami, Barbara, told me about a brief affair she had with a gentleman. They had delicious chemistry and all kinds of lovely, sexy stuff happened. "But it won't work out because he's noncommittal."

They had just met. How does she know? She doesn't. She made up a story based on her own insecurity that no one would want just her, and blamed him for it. That's convenient. How would you know someone is or could be committed to you after a week? You can't.

The persistent idea here, that some people can't commit, is bullshit. Anyone can commit. It's a decision, not a personality trait -- as convenient an excuse as that may be to explain why someone left or, by the way, why you didn't hang around (knife cuts both ways, see?).

What's more, getting someone to commit isn't rocket science. I'm going to use the clichéd "he" here for simplicity's sake; not because it's always true, but I hear this most from women about men.

To get a man to commit, you need to do two things:

  1. Rock his world.
  2. Make him earn it.
I told you this wasn't rocket science. How could it be that simple? It is. You're just not doing it.

Let's break it down...

1. Rock His World.

This is a critical first step. If you can't blow his mind, he won't commit to you. Why would he? Because you think he should? He has to enjoy your company and feel pretty f*cking awesome around you. And you should feel that way, too. Yes, you have to be at your best. Not perfect, because no one is. But you've got to bring your A-game.

And the same goes for you. If you even consider committing to someone when your world hasn't been sufficiently rocked, then you're in for a very long haul. Plenty of folks commit out of pressure, or a sense that it's what they "should" do. Don't let this be you. Commitment with love: an easy decision. Commitment without love: a jail sentence.

2. Make Him Earn It

Once you've rocked his world, don't say, "OK, I rocked you, now pay me back with your lifelong commitment." That won't work. Show him that he must earn that privilege. And keep earning it. I'm not talking about berating, withholding or any other mind-f*ck thing we all despise. (Not sure what I mean? Find out why "you go girl" thinking is the worst advice.)

I mean, you must teach him how to treat you so that he has to initiate, make an effort and earn the thing he wants. I don't just mean sex, because you can get sex anywhere. I mean the great stuff he loves about being with you.

Too many women get clingy and fearful and needy and end up rewarding the very behavior they hate. As soon as a guy backs off or seems uninterested, they go into overkill mode trying to "win" back his attention and affection. When you do this, you give the power away. You're saying, "I'll do anything for this, and you don't have to do a thing."

Wrong. He needs to do something. He needs to feel he's earning what he wants. That's how he knows it has value!

This was Barb's undoing. She compromised what she wanted off the bat by letting him know she was down for "whatever": noncommittal sex without strings. That's fine if that's what you want. But it wasn't what she wanted. She thought he did and was going low-rent on him, hoping he'd come back.

Opposite. He's gone.

Men don't want it easier. They want to know what they're going after is worth their time.

This doesn't mean you won't get rejected along the way (read why this is really important). But when you can really wow someone and then make him come back for more, you win.

This worked for me. I started dating a fella who was fresh out of a committed, live-in relationship and said he was unlikely to call anyone his girlfriend anytime soon. I didn't say, "Oh yeah, buster, well you better decide now or I'm out!" I didn't force him into having The Talk (read why to avoid this). I liked the guy. So I made sure I blew his mind and made him earn it. I did my thing, kept my life going and made it clear if he wanted to see me, he had to let me know. When we were together, I made him feel like a million bucks.

And he kept showing up. Six months later, he was spending most evenings with me, cooking me dinner and invited me to his best friend's wedding (three months away). On a romantic road trip, he whispered in my ear those very words you're dying for a man to say to you.

Over dinner one night, I teased, "So it sounds like I'm kinda your girlfriend now."

"Yup," he said.

It works. Sure, we've had a few crossed signals, and I've had my share of insecurities. Does this mean we'll be together forever and ever? Who knows? But the decision to be committed to a relationship is a choice you keep making in the present, which is where you always are.

My point is, this isn't a trick you pull to "get" someone to commit and then stop. Because the day you stop is the day you give up. It's the way you live your life together -- can you think of a better way than to continue to impress and engage and deserve each other? I can't. The key is to practice that NOW, not so you can stop doing it when you find someone, but so you can really start.

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