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Men Who Can't Love: How to Recognize a Commitmentphobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart Paperback – January 20, 2004
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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I have read many of these articles and books and can reasonably say that many of them can work very well for men who are NOT TRUE commitmentphobes. Please don't waste your money buying those products for step by step instructions on how to get your man to commit. I promise you it will NOT work on a man if he truly has this disorder.
It's also very interesting to note how the term "commitmentphobia" has sadly become overused. It is important to differentiate between a real CP and just a regular guy who's not ready to commit. This is why I love the book, "Men Who Can't Love". By reading the stages of the relationship and the behaviors exhibited by the CP you can honestly assess whether your man suffers from this disorder.
The following suggestions and feedback are based on my personal experiences. Most of these insights are validated in the book. Hopefully this will help others.
How old is your man and what is his relationship history? For example, if the man is over 45 and has NEVER been married ask him why. Usually they will say that they just "haven't met the right girl". My advice is to probe more! When you do, chances are you will find that those relationships ended when "marriage" or "engagement" was the next natural step. He will probably give you lame excuses for ending his previous relationships that are typically very critical of his ex-girlfriends. Also know that there are CPS who HAVE been married who are described in the book.
How long does it take him to be "exclusive" with you and other women from his past? Many of these men are very resistant to becoming exclusive because they want to keep their options open. Usually it is much deeper than that but in their minds they see themselves as "Great Catches" and want to find that "PERFECT" woman.
It is reasonable to expect that a man and woman should take an appropriate amount of time getting to know each other before committing. But judge this based on how long you have been dating, how often you see each other and how much you are involved in each others lives. If all that criteria has been met and he still isn't committing to being exclusive with you, I would suggest you date other men and keep YOUR own options open.
Also, be careful if he claims to want to be exclusive with you right away without having gotten to know who you are. This is usually not a valid commitment and is based on fantasy. Not reality.
It's also interesting to note, that many of these men actually DO appear "Perfect" on paper! Both of my CPs had doctorate degrees and came from good families.
The disease does come in varying degrees as described in the book, but regardless of how severe his phobia is the end result for YOU will always be painful.
I hate to sound this negative but the truth is these men are Master Manipulators. Some may be aware of what they're doing others may not. They are brilliant at establishing "the fantasy". They are intuitive enough to figure out what your ideal man is and they become that ideal. This lasts only during the beginning of the relationship and cannot be sustained. Eventually, their real personality will come out and it will surprise you.
When you first meet each other, he will act like he is 100% certain that you are THE woman for him. You may wonder how he can know this so quickly, but if you are like me, you probably want to believe him and hope that you finally found your partner for life. In our society we're told that there is "love at first sight", "soulmate recognition" etc. so it's easy for us buy into the "fantasy." I wish I had taken my time, listened to my instincts, and not allowed myself to get persuaded by him.
I must admit, I have had 2 major relationships with CommitmentPhobic men. One relationship just recently ended after almost 4 years. I lived with this man (per his request) and watched him destroy what was once a wonderful relationship shortly after we moved in together.
These men have "TRADEMARKS" that will tell you something is wrong. Some of these behaviors will not appear until after the relationship has become serious.
1) Terribly hurtful and negative remarks-Extremely Critical. Eventually, they WILL start to tear you apart. It could be your looks, personality, financial status, career, education, your past, your family, your pets etc. Even when you attempt to change, they will find yet OTHER things about you to criticize.
These men will ALWAYS find fault with the woman once they become emotionally attached. The theory is that they feel they must distance themselves emotionally to prevent themselves from becoming "vulnerable". By focusing on your supposed negative traits they are DETACHING from their feelings and from you. They never really have both feet in the relationship even though from the outside it seems that they are fully emotionally involved.
They never really are.
2) Their personality will change drastically. You will see him become more distant, withdrawn, moody and intolerant,judgemental, and passive aggressive. You will ask if something is wrong but he will almost always deny it. Sometimes, he will pull it together temporarily to act like the guy you fell for but it never lasts for long.
3) Taking action to better the relationship/make him commit or extricate yourself for your own sanity is futile. I tried many of the following actions: taking space, moving out, breaking up, dating other men, not pressuring him, waiting for him, etc. It NEVER, EVER brings the desired result.
The reason why it is so hard for you to end it is because he will likely make some changes and/or promises! He will not want to lose you when you initially pull away from him.
He will ask you for more "TIME", make promises to get help, and even beg you not to see other men but it only stalls the heartbreaking ending. My guy decided to go into therapy without any prompting from me. He stopped going only after a few months. He even read "Men Who Can't Love" and was shocked by how much it sounded like him. With all this knowledge, it still didn't ultimately solve his problem.
These men may want to change but it will take a VERY LONG time and most of them simply cannot overcome their fears. Although it can be very sad for them to end relationships with women they care deeply for, it is EASIER than having to get engaged or married. The less evolved ones will continuously blame the women or the dynamics of these relationships rather than facing the truth about themselves.
The most important thing that I took away from this book:
There is NOTHING that the woman can do to help the man when he suffers from this disorder. If he really wants to change he WILL get help on his own and be dedicated to doing so for the long-term.
When I met this man, I just knew he was the one! I'm usually pretty cautious in relationships and move slow emotionally, but this man came in and swept me off my feet; bearing his pains and purring to me about wanting us to be vulnerable with each other. He would be at work or out with friends and text me how much he was thinking about me. Within three months he was telling me that he wanted to be my husband and have babies with me. We were planning trips and talking about having chickens at our home together. I had plans to move to and set up in his city (about 1200 miles away). Then I ended up having surgery and that was the first weekend I didn't hear from him. He ignored my texts and didn't call to check up on me. Which was the beginning of months of him contacting me in bursts, pulling me in and then disappearing for days. At one point, I was trying to schedule a weekend to get together and he went on for about 20 minutes talking about how busy he was and how every single weekend was packed for the next month. The first weekend, I called him up asking when he was working and he said he wasn't, that he was just at home relaxing. I said "I thought your weekends were packed all month", he responded that he didn't have to explain his actions to me and that sparked three weeks of silent treatment from him followed by an explanation that I had "asked him for an hour by hour account of his time and that was a major red flag". In the same conversation, he was lecturing me about how he has serious feelings for me and that I should move even without a job prospect. Yet, he still would no longer commit to planning time to see each other. Even to the end he would contact me and tell me that I was his. The final straw was me asking for clarification on what he wanted relationship-wise, he said he "couldn't deal with this right now" and then he wouldn't respond to my texts, e-mails or phone calls. After about a month he wrote to me telling me I was shunning him, a month later that if I had lived closer things would have been different. Thanks to this book, I know that even if I lived next door to him there would be a different excuse.
I spent so much time trying to rationalize and figure out what was going on. I spent a lot of time blaming myself as well. He was blaming me and I bought right into it, until I read this book. Like others have said, it was like our relationship jumped right off those pages. This book really helped me see that this was his issue and fighting it or trying to be better, trying to meet his needs better, wasn't going to yield any positive results. It also helped put the puzzle pieces together for me: he was 6'3 and only owned a twin bed, he spent most of his life moving around every couple years and chose mainly independent contractor positions, he had serious relationship issues with his mom, all of his past relationships had been long distance, and all his past relationships ended because "women are crazy" and he had hours of stories about how his exes had done him wrong with him always being the innocent one. Although this relationship still hurts, I'm glad it pushed me to read this book because as the author states "you'll never let it happen again" *fingers crossed*
I usually wouldn't put this all out there, but reading others reviews and stories helps to reconfirm that I'm not alone, I'm not gullible, and there wasn't a million different ways I could have saved the relationship. I recommend this book to all my friends! I even sent it on to Mr. Commitmentphobe himself haha
UPDATE: I got the "curtain call" and I thought I'd share my mistake. He called me recently after about 6 months after "the bitter end"(my last post). He told me to ask him how he felt about me now, then told me he was still into me, that I would always be so special to him, that I meant so much to him. Then the next morning sent me a love song all about getting a second chance with a girl and hanging on this time, with the message: "timing is everything". Well, I fell for it. Flew out to see him for a weekend. After the first night, he put emotional and physical distance between us and by the end he told me that during the last 6 months feelings had subsided for him, that this weekend was like a long first date and that he was just feeling me out again, and the only way it would work for him is if I moved there, set up my own life, and we could date. I told him that was definitely not going to happen, that for me to move there we would need to get to a commitment stage first. He hasn't contacted me since. I'm NOT proud of not heeding the advice in this book and ignoring the writting on the wall but I'm hoping my experience helps someone else.
This issue WILL play out over and over again. And it hurts every time you give them the benefit of the doubt and believe their words over their actions. They may love you and want you but, unfortunately, it doesn't mean they are capable of follow through in a healthy way.
It all makes SOOO much sense now.
Truly a game...and life changer.
Can't wait to read the other books!
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