The #1 Thing Men Say to Avoid Commitment

In the early days of dating, trying to assess whether someone is open to a relationship is crucial. 

But what does it mean when you ask them whether they’re interested in a committed relationship and they respond, “I could be open to that . . . with the right person”?

In today’s video, I give you three things to look for in those early days to know if things are actually progressing toward real commitment.

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There’s a line that men use in early dating that is a little bit swindley. This is a word that me and Audrey coined from the show The Tinder Swindler. To swindley, to do something that is not in the other person’s interest for your own ends. I.e. don’t you fucking swindley me.

Now, one of the ways that a guy might try to swindley you in the beginning of dating is when you try to bring up the idea of relationships. You say to them, “What do you think about relationships?” They say, “I could be open to a relationship with the right person.” Now, some people may be saying this sincerely. I could imagine someone saying, “Yeah, I’m open to a relationship with the right person.” Or I could imagine the swindley who says, “I could be open to a relationship with the right person. I could be an astronaut, I could be a pillow, I could be a Pokemon, I could be anything, you see. I could be a dancer.”

When that person says it, it’s exploiting a loophole that says yeah, there’s a possibility. Now let’s not talk about it anymore. With that person, you can find yourself going down the path of dating them. Also, it’s not just that they placated you by saying that. It’s that in the back of your mind, it’s a way of pushing off any difficult conversations yourself. ‘Cause if you really want to… We are a biased judge, aren’t we? If we really want to see someone, if we have a lot of chemistry with someone, if we’re excited about them, we’re looking for excuses to see them. So when they say, “Yeah, you know it’s possible.” We go, it’s possible. Now I can go and have sex with them.

So I want you to be very careful. It’s okay to continue to see a person like this, but don’t let the blind hope of something they said early on stop you from measuring the actual progress or lack of progress that you are seeing in those first couple of months. Progress means there’s more consistent communication as time goes on. More frequent, there’s more of it. You feel like you’re getting closer, you feel like you’re getting more comfortable with each other. You feel like you’re being more vulnerable with each other. You’re letting them in. They’re letting you in. Progress looks like him actually inviting you into his world, into what I think of as the constants in his life.

When someone is trying to keep you at arm’s length, often they won’t bring you around the constants in their life. The things that it would be more difficult to extricate you from if it was to end tomorrow. So it could be stuff that’s to do with their work. It could be stuff that’s to do with their friendships or their family. They won’t bring you into that inner circle because it makes for an easier exit the moment they don’t want to put in any more effort. The moment they don’t want to see you again. It works for them to be able to pick you up and put you down at their leisure.

The third way that you can measure progress is whether you’ve actually been able to have a conversation about not seeing other people, exclusivity. Are we temporarily cutting off our other options in order to focus on each other to see what this might become? If you’re not feeling any of those three things, then there’s likely not much progress in the relationship. It’s probably a situation where this person calls you when they want to see you and then is off living their life the rest of the time until they need their next hit.

At that point, you’ve got to be able to say to them, “Hey, I am really enjoying spending time with you when we spend time together. And I know that, for me, I’m looking for a relationship with the right person. And I know you said you were open to a relationship with the right person, but I don’t feel that there’s any progress between us. So it leaves me wondering whether anything has actually shifted for you in the sense of seeing what this can be together or whether nothing’s changed that.”

Tells that person exactly where you stand. Because you can literally say to them, “It makes me wary of giving any more to this situation.” You can spell that out for someone. “The reason I’m bringing this up is because I really enjoy seeing you, but I’m wary of investing more in time and energy seeing you when I don’t necessarily feel like anything has shifted from your side since that original conversation. Feel free to tell me if I’m wrong.”

We have to be willing to have that difficult conversation. Remember, if you are looking for a great relationship with the right person, the right person to you is not just someone you are charmed by. It’s not just someone that you think highly of. It’s someone who’s ready. The right person is both right and ready and if they’re not ready, they can’t be right. Someone demonstrates their readiness by actual progression that is seen through their actions, by the ways they invest in moving things forward with you.

If you do not see that, don’t allow the hope that arose, that originated from this person at one point saying to you they might one day be open to a relationship with the right person to blind you from the facts. Now, if you like this advice and you want more of it, or perhaps this video didn’t quite speak to your exact dating issue, I have a tool at You can tell it your challenge and it will recommend you my best solution that suits your needs from the last 15 years of doing this. So check it out. It’s at and I will see you over there. Thank you and I’ll see you in the next video.

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8 Replies to “The #1 Thing Men Say to Avoid Commitment”

  • You know that was interesting. I was dating someone, who I felt was being aloof 90% of the time, but then he introduced me to his daughter, so I thought he was becoming more committed. However, he eventually dumped me. Then he came back a year later. I dated him again, but, essentially, dumped him… The whole thing was % confusing. I haven’t dated anyone since and its been about 6 years now.

  • This was the perfect video for me to watch today. I have the exact person you have described, the swindler. I don’t need to ask him if he’s progressing, his actions tell me he is not. You have just freed me. Thank you

  • Hmm, shoe on the other foot here. Having had a lot of very tiring relationships, where the other person is a mismatch to live with; too messy, too tidy, too controlling, I am more after the way of choosing to spend time with someone, but living separately and not in each others’ pocket. I really like my own space, and with a professional life it gets busy, I don’t like dropping friends when dating picks up either.

    A bit like your friend Ester Perel described, I like the idea of a relationship where the everyday drudge is not involved. You chase to see each other, when you both want to.

    Am I just too old and unwilling to compromise now that I’ve been burnt a few times?

  • Really, really great video, as always, but, just wanted to check if you’d slipped in a swindley of your own when you said “me and Audrey” instead of “Audrey and I”??? Or were you just demonstrating something else?

  • Hey Matthew i was watching your YouTube videos and me and my gf just broke up and it’s kind of a out of the ordinary situation. We were long distance. She’s from Canada and I’m from the USA. We FaceTimed everyday for 4 months straight. We would FaceTime while we slept, while we worked out, while we basically did anything. And everything was going good until I bought the plane ticket to see her. She started putting less effort and energy. She said it was because she felt peace and comfortable. But she went to a movie with a guy friend and I questioned it and she assumed I didn’t trust her when I just didn’t trust the man. But it all ended because she said she couldn’t be with someone who can’t trust her ever. I tried to rekindle things but she has it engraved in her head that I will never trust her so she doesn’t want to try anymore. What do you think I should do or how can I get setup to get coaching to get her back?

  • Hello Matthew,
    I must tell you that I’ve been with you for many years and the growth that has occurred as a result is priceless. I’m a 49 year old female who has been in two unhealthy and dysfunctional relationships, each lasting a decade long and one was a marriage. I met you at the sunset of my last relationship, and I have been single since then for the last 6 years.

    My life however is full of love and beauty. I’m raising my 17 year old daughter who is amazing! I travel, I have beautiful friendships, and I love my family! Additionally, I’ve been living and working in Japan for the last 6 years! It’s an amazing place!

    Your videos, blogs, emails, etc always resonate with me! However I’m thinking it may be time for me to introduce my 17 year old to you. She likes a gentleman who seems to be causing her more stress than happiness. I’m doing my best to Coach her through it. However, the lessons and truths I’ve learned from you are things I wished I knew so many years ago. If my daughter can grasp the fundamentals of core confidence now, she will be worlds ahead than I was at her age.

    Thank you for being you! I’m tremendously thankful for you!

    Kind regards,

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