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Sometimes I hear from women who want nothing more than a commitment from the man they love, but are met with resistance and excuses. A common excuse men give if they have been hurt before and are afraid of hurting themselves again. This can leave you unsure about how to respond, aside from reassuring him that you don’t mean to hurt him.

I heard of a woman who said, “We’ve been dating for eight months. I love my boyfriend very much. In fact, I would love to marry him. The other day, I asked him if we could talk about our future together and he cut me off right away. He got up.” He shook his hand and said, “I’m not ready to commit to a serious relationship because I was burned out so much earlier. I just don’t want to get hurt again.” I tried to get more information out of him, but he shut me up and wouldn’t talk about it anymore. Later, I asked his sister about it. She told me that a couple of years ago, he felt crazy for fell in love with this girl and they got engaged. They were planning their wedding when he found out she was cheating on him. His sister told me he was devastated and he wasn’t himself for some time. This is so unfair. Why do I have Paying for this other girl’s mistakes? I would never cheat on my boyfriend, but now he won’t commit to me because she hurt him. What can I do about it? I’ll address these concerns in the next article.

Just because he’s been hurt before doesn’t mean he’ll never commit to you.: Understandably, this young woman feared that because of the other woman’s behavior, the man she loved was never going to commit to her. This simply does not have to be the case. If it were, far fewer people would be married today. Most of us have had our hearts broken and shattered before we met our spouse. In fact, many of us think we will never be vulnerable to this kind of heartbreak again, and yet we eventually heal, meet the person we were supposed to be with, get married, and are quite happy.

Her boyfriend saying he didn’t want to get hurt again was not the same as him saying he would never marry her or get engaged. In essence, he was saying that he had reservations, but I think they are reservations that could probably be overcome. Yes, you have to be patient with him and loving while you wait. But often when you do, you will be richly rewarded.

How to deal with a man who has commitment issues for fear of being hurt again: It is a very common inclination to want to immediately reassure him that you are different and that you would never hurt him. This isn’t a bad idea, as long as you do it in a loving and reassuring way instead of implying that all of this isn’t fair to you. In fact, I would very much avoid discussing the unfairness of this whole situation, although I fully understand your frustration.

You have to remember that your man did not ask to be hurt by this other woman. In fact, he was acting in good faith and trying to marry the woman he loved. He was acting very honorably and this was in no way his fault. So you can understand why he was hurt and why he might be reluctant now. And it is very important that you clarify this. Don’t minimize his feelings, tell him that he should be over it by now or that he can understand the situation. Instead, comfort him, tell him that he understands and that he is so sorry this happened to him. And then reassure him that he would never act that way and that he has no intention of doing anything other than love him and make him happy.

After that, continue as before. Because, frankly, you’ve been making him happy. Things have been going well. Yes, you are not sure because of someone else’s actions and this is not entirely fair. But like I said, people get over this kind of pain all the time and move on. Yes, sometimes it takes a while. But often all they need is an understanding person with whom they can have a successful relationship next time. However, if you dismiss his understandable reservations and try to push him, he may eventually put you in the same category as the other woman.

Be very careful about your response and also approach him in a spirit of understanding and patience. Doing so will help you overcome his reservations. And, once he is able to do that, he will realize that there is no reason for him to be afraid of their relationship because he is the one who is going to heal him.

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