Ask Dr. Gilda: How Can I Get Him To Commit?

A woman whose divorce is almost final wonders how to lock down her love for her new beau.

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
I am a 36-year-old woman with a child. I am currently going through a divorce, and I just started dating after nine months of being apart from my soon-to-be ex. I met this guy who is 30, single, has no kids, and has a great career. We’ve been
I don’t want to seem like one of those clingy women who would call all the time.
seeing each other about 2½ months. We go out once a week and call each other once or twice a week. I don’t want to seem like one of those clingy women who would call all the time.

Anyway, every time we see each other we go out, have a great time, and then go back to his place for sex. We both can’t resist each other. I asked what he thought about our whole situation and he told me he was frightened and nervous because of a previous relationship he’d had. He told me he liked me a lot and that I was a great person that had everything going for me. But I couldn’t get a direct answer about what he thought about us as a couple. How can I approach this in a different manner without scaring him away?
– Hoping for More

Dear Hoping for More,
You’re not divorced yet, but you want a commitment from this new man. For the last 2½ months of seeing each other, your weekly dates have consisted of enjoying a night out and returning to his home for sex. Between your weekly dates, you have a few casual phone calls. This appears to be nothing more than light dating, nothing serious. While you say you want more, you voice some inconsistencies:
  • You say, “I don’t want to seem like one of those clingy women who would call all the time.” So you go out of your way to play a game to appear like a more aloof partner. Yet you are pressuring him to offer a commitment at this very early stage. What’s up, girl?
  • The man told you he was “frightened and nervous” at this time, but you’re asking me how to approach commitment “in a different manner without scaring him away.” Are you not hearing this guy? He is communicating that what you both have is meeting his needs just fine. He is not interested in discussing anything deeper. There is no “different manner” of pushing him. He heard you—and chose to ignore you.
Don’t settle down with the first person you meet.
As my Gilda-Gram says, “We attract not whom we want, but whom we are.” This man is still smarting from his past love derailment. And you’re not even free!

Your choice now is either to accept the status quo of this casual romance or let it go altogether. If you keep pressuring this guy, he will leave. And if you truly cared about him, you would recognize his needs and try to accommodate them. Unfortunately, you’re still hurting from your marriage, so you’re unresponsive to his vulnerabilities. You won’t be ready for a real relationship until you can lick your wounds.

This is what I suggest you do now:
  1. Continue to enjoy this relationship without analysis. Accept it at face value, and just chill out. You still have a marital breakup to finalize. While the lawyers battle it out with you in the middle, you surely won’t be emotionally present for someone else.
  2. Relinquish your neediness to secure your future when your present is not grounded.
  3. Date other people as well as this man. See the world before trying to saddle a partnership you established out of the need to replace your former marriage.
Dating provides you the opportunity of experimenting with different types of people. Don’t settle down with the first person you meet. While the carnal connection may be enticing, it never guarantees lasting love.

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., has a private practice and is an associate professor at Mercy College in New York. Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website ( and send her your relationship questions.
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