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Men who were commitment-o-phobes in their 20’s and are now in their 30’s/40’s, what ended up happening in your life? What’s your advice?

I’m in my mid 20’s and every relationship has come with a feeling of ‘but there’s still so much of life to explore…’ Has led to a hesitancy towards commitment. Before, this felt natural and obvious to me (my parents always encouraged me to explore and enjoy my 20s, and actively warned me against serious relationships early in life), but I’m now reaching the age where some friends are starting to actually lockdown marriages and move to suburbs.

I’m not concerned or worried about my reluctance at the moment (no rush yet!), just curious to hear from older community members who’ve been through it. Did you eventually just lose interest in partying, travelling, meeting new people, etc and have a greater desire to settle down and start a family? Did you meet someone who just totally blew your socks off and made you feel a desire to commit that you’d never felt before? Did the pressure become unbearable and you have settled down but maybe regret it? Maybe none of the above and you’re the eternal bachelor!

What’s your advice to younger men? ‘Don’t let that great relationship go because you’re young and impatient’…’Maximize time to have fun and explore, you’ll know when you’re ready’…something else entirely?

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  1. Find someone that has the same ideals as you, and you can continue as you are basically, and do those things with your partner.

    Making a commitment does not mean giving up the things you love, only that you now have someone to share the experience with. Everything after that should come naturally.

  2. Well, what is the exploring building toward? I did a lot of meaningless exploring through my 20s that really only amounted to entertainment, and now I’m 31 and my desire to settle down has increased actually, but I’m not ready for it. My life is a stupid fucking situation lol, and I’m fully aware that it’s my own fault and I’m not super depressed, just focused on not wasting more time and getting my sh*t together before I get into dating again. I’ve been single for a while and was sad about it for the first year or so but my adult motivation drive kicked in and the past three or so years I haven’t worried about being lonely because I’m trying to get into high gear and compose my life in a better way. Exploring is good if it is building you up to the state of preparedness you want when you’re ready to settle down. It’s very hard to have that foresight though and it’s also easy to lock yourself into a plan that is unrealistic, so I think it’s good to have some balance where you have the motivation to grow toward being skilled, smart, and set up financially and career-wise in the ways you want when you settle down. It’s just hard to commit to something if you don’t really know what you are bringing into that commitment, what you’re offering. Probably a specific kind of life situation but maybe it helps some people to read my thoughts ¯_(ツ)_/¯ edited to add more at the end

  3. For me, I realized that stability was necessary for my survival as I began dealing with mountains of responsibility accumulated since college.

    Remember, 30’s/40’s is when your parents and friends start getting old and dying and when you start feeling that specter as well. Even if your life is successful and you’re able to buy a house, make investments, etc…those successes increase the complexity of your life and tax your most important resource, time. I realized that I needed a partner and started dating towards that goal, looking for someone with convergent goals and shared values. It was easy to commit when the time came, it’s been a great relief.

  4. If you want to be on your own for a while then just do that.

    If you’ve recently come out of a long term relationship I would leave it a while before starting another one. Two years or so at least.

    And just do whatever you want to do. Maybe you can meet someone really cool and not make it so serious and still have fun? If you’re worried you’re missing out when you’re with someone, then they are not the right person for you!

  5. It’s good to explore and have fun and all that, but in your 30’s you start looking at the gardens all your friends have grown and start feeling ashamed that your plot of land is barren because you didn’t plant those seeds in your 20’s.

    At that point you mostly have regrets and ‘what ifs’ and probably a “one who got away”, at least if you’ve been doing a lot of living. My advice is that when something feels right don’t throw it away in the hope that something better will come along. It’s possible nothing else will come along at all.

    Relationship-wise, men like us want to run away at the first sign that a relationship has become difficult, but the thing we don’t usually learn in our 20’s is that EVERY relationship will be difficult, because every relationship takes work. Loving someone is a decision, not something that just happens out of nowhere and works out without input or effort from you. And it’s fucking difficult. If you want to avoid difficulties, then you’re just as well avoiding true intimacy.

  6. The less time you have left to live, the less time you have to explore new options and to exploit the ones you have already discovered. Eventually the balance tips in favor of exploiting over exploring.

  7. Was a commitmentphobe until I met a girl in my early 30s. she was great, things moved fast – moved in, engaged, married, pretty quickly. But it all felt right. She cheated on me a year into the marriage and we got divorced.

    back to being a commitmentphobe

  8. As a man, why would you be committing in your 20’s? You literally are not even at the cusp of your prime yet. Don’t let the fact that the women you knew and grew up with are having a blast, disillusion you from what your peak is. I didn’t commit in my 20’s and had enough fun, I’m just in the early stage of my 30’s and I’m laying the ground work for having children by 35, and I’m spoiled for choice with women. Hell, when I first got back to online dating a few weeks ago I went on a date with a different girl every day for 2 weeks! Burned me out a little but it’s awesome! Plus you really don’t know what it feels like being a young woman and having that level of attention, as a man, until you’re mid 30’s.

  9. I did, but I found that I was utterly uninterested in women my own age. I started dating early-20s and that has worked really well for my friends and I. Even my parents and sister encouraged me to do so.

    It has worked out okay, and I’m in a good relationship. I really did try dating women who were in their 30s and found there was zero spark with any of them, and had much better luck dating below my age bracket.

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