In my last blog post How to Know If a Man Is the Marrying Kind, I discussed the male “Age of Commitment,” which doesn’t kick in until around age 26 for college grads. Here are the top ten reasons guys are often reluctant to get into long-term relationships before then.
1. They dread having to change their communication style to be more “female friendly.”
Long intimate talks, lots of “checking in” while apart, and resolving differences for hours are activities that guys would prefer to avoid. Relationship standards reflect female preferences, and guys have to adapt to make it work.
2. They fear the loss of time with male friends.
Having to explain or justify their time away from the relationship is something many guys resist. They have misgivings about signing on for regular “date nights” and feeling pressured to spend the majority of their free time with a girlfriend.
3. They worry about living a programmed life.
Guys tend to be more spontaneous than girls, and they know that girlfriends are usually big on making plans ahead of time. This feels like a further restriction on their independence and freedom.
4. They have concerns about losing social status among their male peers.
The cultural narrative for young guys still prioritizes casual hookups and delaying or avoiding commitment. A guy often takes a hit socially when he enters into a monogamous relationship.
5. They feel uncertain about maintaining the initial heady and intense feelings of romance.
Guys hate messy emotional scenes, and they believe relationships include a lot of those. Ending a relationship is the grandaddy of that dreaded experience, so lots of guys avoid the risk.
6. They have other life priorities, and resist adding a time-consuming relationship.
School, work, sports and other interests require time and dedication for success. A relationship feels like a huge time commitment that will “take over,” causing other areas to suffer from neglect.
7. They don’t want to get stuck in a sexual rut.
Guys with girlfriends have a lot more sex than single guys, but it tends to settle into a routine. Some guys would rather hold out for variety – sow their wild oats – when they’re young.
8. They are wary of the expense.
Traditional gender norms still prevail when it comes to who pays for dates and other activities. Even where girls happily contribute, guys tend to spend more. Not all guys feel they can afford to participate in a relationship.
9. They’re passive.
Research shows that 75% of college guys would like to have a girlfriend. But many don’t set the wheels in motion by pursuing girls they like and making moves. The younger and more inexperienced they are, the more they fear rejection.
10. They don’t see the point of long-term relationships with an expiration date.
Guys don’t intend to marry much before 30, so committing to someone many years before that can seem pointless. And most guys reject the idea of being with one person for 8-10 years, then getting married. They see their 20s as a time to be involved with a variety of people.
Obviously, there are guys who do begin relationships before their mid-20s. They want that experience, and they enjoy the emotional and physical intimacy. But it’s important to keep in mind that the Pros and Cons of relationship formation are different for guys. They make more sacrifices than girls do in some ways. They also derive more benefits. For example, most guys experience emotional intimacy mostly with the opposite sex, whereas girls often have those experiences with their friends.
You can date guys at the Age of Commitment, or you can wait for guys to catch up. In any case, understanding long-term relationships from the perspective of the young man will help you navigate dating and commitment in college and after.