Why Does He Keep Me Around If He Doesn’t Want A Relationship?

Single and Dating | | , Content Writer & Creator
Updated On: January 5, 2024
why does he keep me around if he doesn't want a relationship
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Are you dating a man you suspect isn’t all that committed to you? Have you ever wondered, “Why does he keep me around if he doesn’t want a relationship?” He may even tell you upfront that he doesn’t want to be committed to you, but still spends time with you romantically. He may tell you, and sometimes shows you, that he genuinely likes you. His actions leave you utterly perplexed as to how he is feeling. 

He probably makes you feel like a yo-yo, constantly pushing you away and pulling you back in. Because of the non-stop mixed messages this guy sends, you may feel as if you’re going insane at times. “Why does he keep me around if he doesn’t want a relationship?” you wonder, yet again. Let’s have a look at the inner workings of his mind.

Why Does He Keep Me Around If He Doesn’t Want A Relationship – 17 Probable Reasons

You’ve done almost everything “serious” couples do. You’ve traveled together, met each other’s friends, and possibly met each other’s families too. Despite this, you remain in the limbo between relationship and courtship. Although there are numerous reasons that a man may act interested and then suddenly backs off, they typically fall into two categories: a) It could be about him, b) It could be something you’re doing. Learning to tell the difference between the two will save you a lot of heartbreak in the future, not just with this guy, but with all the other people you’ll date.

1. He’s only interested in a sexual relationship with you

It’s a ridiculously shallow and awful reason, but here we are. Being intimate early in a relationship is not wrong, but it can blur the lines between a casual and a serious relationship. According to a study, if you’re a woman, it is true that you are more likely to interpret physical pleasure as a sign that he has strong feelings for you. In his mind, however, he could just be having fun, filling his boots.

Why would he leave that kind of fun behind to be single and forced to spend his nights alone? He is sexually attracted to you but doesn’t want a relationship, so if you want to get some answers from him, you should first remove sex from the equation. When he realizes you are serious about the no-sex rule, he’ll be able to suddenly discover his honesty. He’ll have to decide whether it is just the sex that inspires him to keep you hanging or if he has genuine feelings for you.

2. He does not want to be lonely 

It’s human nature to want to be loved and to be in the company of those who care about you. It’s possible that a guy doesn’t know what he wants from you, but he doesn’t want to be alone – so he keeps you close for those long, lonely days. But remember, his surface-level feelings for you are not going to change. If you both are dating, you’re probably spending a lot of time together. If that were to end, he’d be left alone with his thoughts. While some people thrive independently and venture out on their own, others will never be that type.

He’s the type of guy who always wants company, whether it’s just to go to the movies or out to dinner, or even for a weekend away. He might just be hanging out with you and leading you on so that he always has someone to make him feel better about being single. You don’t want to be his shadow because that’s the closest thing to a relationship he’ll give you. 

Related Reading: Dating An Overthinker: 15 Tips To Make It Successful

3. He’ll be bored if you’re not there

Similarly, though in a much shallower form, he might just be trying to avoid boredom. When you’re dating someone, you tend to go out a lot and even spend nights at each other’s places. There’s a reason when people start dating someone new, they tend to lose their friendships.

If he wants to go to a new bar or see a new movie, but none of his friends are available, he’s probably used to expecting you to be there and spend time with you. If he lets you go, he will have no one to hang out with, which, as pathetic as it sounds, maybe his reason for keeping you around despite his lack of romantic intentions.

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4. He doesn’t want you to be with anyone else

Men can be possessive. They want what they think is rightfully theirs, so he doesn’t want you but doesn’t want anyone else to have you either. You, as a person, do not belong to him. He has no claim on your heart if he isn’t serious about starting a relationship with you. 

Still, the thought of you with someone else can horrify him. Show him that you have other options besides him, and tell him that if he doesn’t want to commit, someone else will. If he genuinely doesn’t want a relationship, he will most likely become jealous – but without changing his mind. Or worse, he will fake being in a relationship with you just to keep you away from other guys. Here’s more about a guy like this:

  • He appreciates your attention and devotion to him, so he wants you to stick by him
  • Your attraction to him boosts his ego
  • He refuses to admit that he isn’t looking for a committed relationship and continues to make empty promises about your future together
  • He doesn’t want you to move on from him

5. He is scared of dealing with the drama

Even if you’ve only been dating briefly, breakups can be complicated and dramatic. If you don’t feel the same way as your partner, they will be hurt. There’s a chance he doesn’t want to be mature and tell you the truth, because he doesn’t want to deal with the consequences. 

Depending on where you met, there may be additional consequences to ending your relationship that he has been attempting to avoid. For instance, if you work or take classes together, he may be afraid that being around each other will be awkward and uncomfortable if he breaks up with you. Find ways to let him know you’re okay if he doesn’t see this romance progressing and that you won’t cause him any trouble if you cross paths again.

6. He doesn’t want to cause you pain

Perhaps we should give him the benefit of doubt and consider that he is a nice guy who doesn’t want to see you hurt when he ends a growing relationship. Ending a serious relationship is difficult for the receiver, without a doubt, but it’s also tricky for the dumper because they have to deal with being the bad guy. We hope no one enjoys telling someone they don’t feel as strongly for them as the other had hoped.

He may delay the inevitable because he doesn’t want to subject you to the agony of learning that he isn’t interested, especially if you’ve been completely honest with him about your feelings. While he is still cowardly in not telling the truth, his intentions are good as he cares about you.

  • It’s better to do it quickly, like ripping off a band-aid, for both of you
  • Make sure he knows you’re strong and can handle anything he has to say
  • Rather than permitting him to linger in a lie to keep you both in naive bliss, tell him about the benefits of being honest

7. He doesn’t want to lose you as a friend

Trying to navigate a romantic relationship that grew out of close friends can be difficult, but it is entirely doable. Many lifelong soulmates began as just a friend, but a friendship can also shatter by the failed attempts to make it a romantic interest. If your relationship arose from a great friendship, he might be keeping you around despite his lack of desire for a relationship because he doesn’t want to lose you as a friend. He might also keep you around if he has a girlfriend.

We’ve all experienced how difficult it can be to move on after a breakup. The fact that one person will be caught off guard and hurt while the other will emerge confident, could be tricky to navigate. Returning to a simple friendship after ending a romantic relationship is easier if you were in the early dating stages. Otherwise, it’s harder. But your friendship can be rebuilt over time and eventually get back on track.

Related Reading: 20 Proven Ways To Make Him Feel Guilty For Hurting You

8. He doesn’t want to stop controlling your life 

The reasoning can be quite toxic at times if he is overprotective. He may want to keep you around so he’s always in the loop. One of the most stressful things about a breakup is suddenly being removed from your ex’s life, where you were emotionally involved, with zero way of knowing what they’re up to anymore. 

Because social media stalking only gets you so far, some people choose to keep you hanging despite having no real feelings. If this is the case, he does not respect you as the strong human you are, and you should cut the cord yourself.

  • He is too afraid to lose you because then he won’t be able to control your life
  • He does not want you to take your decisions on your own
  • He does not like the choices that you make in your life
  • He’s always been a little controlling and gets upset when you act with “freedom”

10. He keeps you around as he needs you to pay for things

It’s a horrible thought but more common than you might think. If your man is in a shambles, unemployed, and lost in life, he may lead you on and refuse to let you go because you are his financial support. According to a study, balance is essential in a healthy relationship. If you’re both earning, you don’t have to wait for the man to pay – but it would be nice if he did his part without you bringing it to his notice. 

  • If it appears that he is sponging off you, it’s most likely because he is
  • Does he offer to pay only to realize he’s forgotten his wallet, leaving you to cover the cost of your dates?
  • Do you ever find him paying the bill instead of you? 
  • Maybe he’s always hanging out at your place during lunchtime or inviting himself to dinner? It could be because you have food and he can’t afford it, or it is too expensive to buy his own
  • He may even approach you and ask you to find him some money to help him get by
  • If he lets you spend on him and your dates consistently, he might be hanging on to your dysfunctional romance, so he can save money
on complicated relationship

10. He wishes to maintain his options

Some guys are just not ready to settle down, but they are aware that they have genuine feelings for you. If you’ve found an eligible bachelor who’s used to living it up and meeting a new potential date every night, it’s unsurprising that he’s avoiding taking your relationship to the next level.

As per a study, men were more likely than women to indicate that they were single in order to be free to flirt around, and because they were not into family-making. When you are casually dating, you’re seeing other people and being as flirtatious and carefree as you want. Living like that is natural for some, and it is the only way your guy knows how to be. 

  • He enjoys the attention and ego boost that comes with having the attention of multiple people at the same time, and committing to you would mean giving up that lifestyle
  • He is more interested in casual dating and not a committed relationship
  • He keeps you on the line so he has you as one of his options

11. He enjoys the advantages of the ‘relationship’

I know you’ve had this thought because it’s always my first assumption when I find myself in a similar situation. He may keep you around because he reaps all the benefits of being in a relationship without having to expend any relationship energy. It’s a simple way to meet his needs without doing something he doesn’t want to do: commit. 

He doesn’t see this as a problem. If you have feelings for him and want the relationship to progress to a more committed stage, state your needs. If he’s made it clear that he doesn’t want more than that, you’ll need to accept it rather than try to persuade him that you’d be an excellent partner. You can end things with him if he cannot meet your relationship’s physical and emotional needs

Some of the needs he fulfills through this ‘relationship’ could be:

  • He enjoys the sex with you and does not want to give it up
  • He is not committed to you, but he gets a lot of emotional benefits from you. You’re basically his therapist without pay
  • He keeps coming to you because he is sure that he will be welcomed. If he needs his ego to be validated constantly, tell him to adopt a dog
  • He loves to brag about you to his friends and tell them all about his “girlfriend” – you’re a status symbol for him

12. He needs a backup option while on the field

Some people simply do not want to commit to one relationship. They prefer to keep their options open by playing the field. He might have added you to his backup list in case other potential partners don’t work out. He’s not technically doing anything wrong if he’s been honest and the relationship between you two is non-committal. But if he knows you want a relationship and you know he doesn’t, you’re both blind to the disaster you’re causing for yourselves.

Or this could be a case of a situationship. Some types of situationships may develop into full-fledged relationships, but many don’t end well. You can’t force him to want a relationship, and you don’t have to accept being a backup option. While you cannot control him, you can choose how to handle the situation. Will you stay knowing you’re getting less than you deserve? Or are you going to leave despite having feelings?

13. He is insecure and requires an ego boost

Even the most attractive and successful people can be insecure if you look for the signs. He keeps you around because it feeds his ego. You make him feel wanted, cared for, and appreciated. You may even overlook his flaws because you adore him, which he appreciates. It’s natural for him to want to feel good, but is it making you feel bad about your relationship and yourself?

These are the things a guy could be insecure about:

  • He is comfortable showing you his flaws and fears, but not to any other person as he fears being mocked for them
  • He is comfortable doing something messy in front of you, but he is insecure about showing it to someone else
  • He doesn’t think he’s lovable and thinks no other person could love him the way you do, so he keeps you in his life

Related Reading: 9 Things That Happen When A Man Is Vulnerable With A Woman

14. He is using your relationship to heal from his recent breakup

This is a difficult pill to swallow. Is he still talking about his ex? Is he still emotional when he talks about this person? Even if he acts like he despises her, this is just a sign that he isn’t over her. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to rekindle the flame. In some cases, he simply needs to heal so that he is not sad or angry about the relationship or how it ended. But that also counts as not having moved on from his ex.

On the other hand, you may have noticed the tone in his voice when he says he would gladly run back to her if given the chance. Perhaps she was “the one” for him and he can’t seem to get over it. Do you want to be second fiddle to the person he loves? He may keep you around because he likes you and believes that one day he’ll be ready to commit to you, but for the time being, he’s still focused on the ex. Are you prepared to wait in the hopes that his feelings will change?

15. He does not believe you are “it” for him

This one stings. He might genuinely enjoy being with you. He might think you’d make an excellent relationship partner. He simply does not believe you are meant for ‘him’, though. This does not imply that something is wrong with you. Something about the relationship just does not appear to be a good fit.

If you want to get to the bottom of it, know that lack of compatibility is not always a feeling that can be defined. You can tell when something is right for you, just like you can tell when something is slightly off for you. It’s never fun to be the person they don’t want, for reasons you don’t understand, but we’ve all been there. Try to remember that it’s not about you, you both are just incompatible. After all, isn’t it true that the heart wants what the heart wants?

16. It’s simply too early

It’s possible that it’s too early in the relationship for him to change his mind. According to research, it takes about six months for people to know if the person they’re with is marriage material. Even if you have no plans to marry, this information suggests that it may take him a few months to determine whether the relationship is serious.

If you’ve only been dating for a month or two, you should temper your expectations. The person you’re dating may not want to be Facebook-official until they’re certain the relationship will last. After all, no one wants to have to change their relationship status from single to ‘in a relationship’ more than once.

17. He keeps you around because you’re not going anywhere

One of the reasons he keeps you around is that he simply can. After all, you continue to make yourself available to him. You always go and see him even when you say you’re busy. He knows he can count on you to be there for him even though he doesn’t show up for you at all. He does it because he can — according to a study, it’s human nature to accept what is freely given.

What actions are you taking in this regard? Waiting for him to change his mind is a passive action, but it is still a decision you make. Can you really be mad at him for keeping you around when you’re doing everything in your power to be there for him?

Key Pointers

  • A guy could be keeping you around without committing to you, because he likes to control your life and the decisions you take
  • He needs you as his backup option, or his free therapist, or his source for money and social status
  • He might be keeping you in his life as he’s afraid to lose you as a friend or of hurting you, or he may just be trying to skip the drama of the breakup
  • If you’re ready for a relationship, you deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you for who you are and who wants to commit to you
  • Respecting your own needs is a sign of self-respect. You should concentrate your efforts on finding someone who shares your desire for romantic love and consistency

You must never waste time on someone to make up their mind about you; you deserve to be treated well. If he doesn’t seem to be putting in much effort with you and if he’s not being honest about his intentions, he’s probably not that interested and is just trying to keep you around for one or two of the reasons listed above. If you’re ready for the next, more formal stage of emotional connection, tell him that you want more. Allow him to choose, and don’t feel guilty about saying goodbye if he isn’t giving you what you need in this relationship.


1. Can a man love you but not want a relationship with you?

When it comes to commitment, men are exceptionally forthright. So yes, people can be in love but not want a commitment. Some indicators that a guy is not ready for a serious commitment include: 
– He is unable to define your relationship
– He doesn’t think it’s important for you to meet his close friends and family
– He doesn’t make any future plans with you

2. How do you know if he likes you but doesn’t want a relationship with you?

When a guy doesn’t have romantic intentions for a relationship, he’ll appreciate you and tell you how great you are, but will go in and out of your life as per his convenience, always rely on you to initiate plans, and will not want to spend quality time with you.

3. How do you get over a guy who doesn’t want a relationship?

When you’re finally ready to move on from a crush, you might be wondering what to do next. You might know what to expect after a breakup or divorce, but how do you get over a relationship that never happened? What can you tell your friends about how you act around him? How do you deal with the sickening feeling of rejection, even if you know intellectually that you are deserving of love? You’ve already taken the first step: you’ve decided to move on. Taking some time for yourself and shaking it off will help you on your way.

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