The indecisive man – the psychology of the problem

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During sessions I often hear the words: my boyfriend is indecisive. Women who come to me for help expect me to show them a magic way to get clear declarations from him. In doing so, they forget that everyone makes their own choices. If we don’t want to give someone a binding answer to a question, we will always find an excuse or ‘water down’ our position. When he or she is indecisive, we can usually focus solely on our own actions. We bear responsibility for our own choices. At the same time, we harbour a tremendous sense of agency, which is worth using to look after our own well-being. An indecisive man has difficulty making decisions for a variety of reasons. He often lacks emotional maturity. He is afraid to make choices because each choice involves responsibility. Some prefer to remain in a state of limbo, hoping that things will somehow resolve themselves. They do not want to promise us anything. They avoid clear declarations, so that we often don’t know whether they are taking us seriously. When he is indecisive, we want to believe that he reciprocates our affection after all. However, it is worth looking at the problem a little more realistically. Men often avoid declarations because they are not ready for a relationship. They enjoy spending time with us. Casual sex makes them happy, as does our interest in their problems. They need attention, but are unable to give us what we expect of them. Sometimes an indecisive man just doesn’t feel the chemistry. He likes us, finds us attractive, but he lacks that ‘something’. He is waiting for a woman to fall in love with. He tries to have a nice time by going on casual dates with us. He deliberately avoids declarations, balancing on the fine line between attraction and repulsion, so that he can always say: I didn’t promise you anything. There are other reasons for his indecisiveness, which are de facto expressions of his lack of readiness for a relationship. I will discuss these later in the post.

Why do some men find it difficult to make decisions?

The boyfriend’s indecisiveness probably stems from his shyness. Maybe I am sending him unclear signals and he doesn’t know that I care about him. These are the words I often hear from women who are waiting for clear declarations. We often delude ourselves that he reciprocates our affection, he just can’t show it. We try to justify it somehow, so we refer to his shyness and lack of self-confidence. We think we can somehow encourage him and breathe a little more courage into him. Unfortunately, a man’s indecisiveness usually stems from a lack of commitment and interest in a close relationship. He keeps us in the dark because, on the one hand, he needs us (for sex, spending time together, talking, etc.). On the other hand, he is not ready for a relationship.

Reasons for indecision in a man

When he is indecisive, we try to use magic tricks to fan the flame of love in him. It’s worth looking at what’s usually behind the lack of commitment. The fear of intimacy is carried by many people who did not experience love, warmth and care in childhood. Such people subconsciously believe that they do not deserve our affection. They assume that if their parents did not love them, why could someone else. At the same time, they do not know love, care and emotional closeness, and what is foreign seems threatening. They try to protect themselves by keeping an emotional distance. Paradoxically, the more we want to embolden them by declaring our feelings, the more they distance themselves from us. I described this in a little more detail in an article in which I showed the different attachment styles. When we try to establish a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man, we often perform a dance that involves cyclically moving closer and further away. Our love triggers defence mechanisms in him, causing him to push us away and reject us. We then gain emotional distance. After a while, he returns, starts to show us interest, but usually does so with a lot of caution. We believe that he has rethought his position and changed his mind. We give him another chance, we stay close for a while, then he starts to ‘choke’ again and does something that results in emotional distancing. The cycle described above repeats itself many times unless we break it, looking out for our own well-being and happiness. When a man is indecisive, it is worth paying attention to whether emotional immaturity is behind it. Some people are brought up under a lampshade and as a result do not develop a healthy autonomy. Sometimes parents suppress every sign of independence, thus disrupting the natural process of separation. They receive the message: I cannot manage on my own. Sometimes caregivers remove all obstacles from under the child’s feet. They do not allow him or her to confront the responsibility of making decisions. Sometimes parents instil in the young person the conviction that others are there to cater to his or her needs. They do not teach him that he can also give support and care to someone else. A relationship with an emotionally immature man often resembles a mother-child relationship. He expects interest, care and concern. He himself is unable to offer these to his partner. For years, he delays the decision to marry and does not want to state his position regarding children. He does not openly say that he is not interested in legalising the relationship or starting a family. He uses evasive strategies and no binding declarations come from his mouth. The modern world encourages indecision. It often suggests to us that the purpose of life is to maximise pleasure. We wonder if the person we have met on our path meets all our expectations. We avoid declarations because we believe there is someone better waiting for us somewhere. We don’t want to deprive ourselves of choice when he appears on our horizon. At the same time, we fear loneliness, thus keeping a potential mate/potential partner in reserve. An indecisive man may be driven by this way of thinking, which is why no clear declarations come from his mouth and we live in uncertainty.

The effects of being an indecisive man

An indecisive man rarely harms himself. He is often stuck in a relationship that for some reason is profitable for him. By dating us, he gains fun, sex and a substitute for intimacy. At the same time, he keeps us at a distance so that he does not get too involved in the relationship. We pay the price for this acquaintance ourselves. One day we discover that we have wasted a lot of time being with someone who has offered us nothing. He did not provide us with emotional security, support and interest. The pain of confronting reality sometimes leads to depression.

How does indecision affect relationships and interpersonal relationships?

When a man is not ready for a relationship, he usually avoids making clear declarations. This is an important alarm signal that informs us that we may suffer in the future. It is worth treating yourself, your time and your interest as precious gifts. Let us not share them with men who do not reciprocate our affection. A healthy relationship is not based on drama and uncertainty, but is based on a sense of emotional security. This does not mean that it is boring, but that it supports us in difficult times.
A relationship with an indecisive man does not allow us to experience full happiness. Each of us deserves to be loved and respected by someone. A boyfriend who is incapable of making choices will sooner or later let us know that he has never given us love. When we become heavily involved in this acquaintance, there will be great emotional pain. Sometimes, when we realise the problem, we regret the lost time. Indecision causes relationships to lack the closeness that is their glue.
A boyfriend who avoids commitment to a relationship condemns himself to a kind of loneliness in the relationship. He deprives himself of the chance to experience true love. He often does not realise what he is losing because he has never experienced supportive intimacy. He therefore incurs a disproportionately smaller cost than we do by deluding ourselves into thinking that he, deep down, loves us but is unable to show it.

Is it worth getting into a relationship with an undecided man?

When a man is undecided, we often wonder what to do. We look for help among friends and on the Internet. Discussion forums are full of threads with the title: “indecisive guy – how to get him to declare?” or “is it worth waiting for an indecisive guy”. We mistakenly assume that we have influence over the other person’s choices. We can light the flame of love in her and make her start a family one day. Magical thinking often leads us astray and generates suffering. An indecisive man more or less consciously uses irregular reinforcements. One day he shows us a substitute for affection, hugs and compliments us. The other, he doesn’t reply to a text message. This causes our brain to get lost in a jumble of contradictory information. A relationship with an indecisive man is full of strong emotions. The drama that comes with this relationship makes us dependent on a partner who avoids clear declarations. He treats us to an emotional rollercoaster. We begin to find his unpredictability attractive. We become addicted to it, making us unable to end a toxic relationship. A healthy relationship doesn’t seem as interesting and often feels boring. Many of us believe that strong emotions equate to true love. We tell ourselves that we are like an Italian couple, which is why we argue all the time. We don’t see that by being stuck in a toxic relationship that resembles an emotional rollercoaster, we are losing energy and joy in life. We are missing out on something important.

An indecisive man is not attractive to every woman. Many of us reject

him right from the start. It’s not that we all love a macho man who doesn’t allow us to have our own opinion. Those of us who are uncomfortable with an indecisive boyfriend are usually aware that they won’t build a satisfying relationship with someone like that. They expect the relationship to provide them with support and emotional security.

Can I help an indecisive boyfriend?

I often hear the question: what can I do when a boyfriend is indecisive? Is there any way I can influence him? Here I would like to emphasise that the only person you can change is yourself. His attitude depends only on him. If he doesn’t want to enter into a permanent relationship, he won’t do it. You won’t get him to do that with any magic tricks. What you can do is take care of yourself.

How do you deal with an indecisive man?

Wondering what to do when a boy is unsure of himself? Focus on yourself and your own motivation. Think about why you are attracted to an indecisive man? What does his attraction stem from? Taking a journey into ourselves can be painful, but also extremely liberating. It shows us the hidden mechanisms that drive our choices. An indecisive man is usually attractive to those of us who experienced erratic reinforcement in childhood. If we watched our parents argue and then reconcile, we take the aforementioned pattern as universally valid. Caregivers have unconsciously instilled in us the belief that true love is a swing of strong emotions. Relationships that lack drama have nothing to do with it. We subconsciously reject men who represent a secure attachment style and declare their readiness to enter into a close relationship. They seem unexciting and boring to us. We are tempted by emotionally unavailable men. If we didn’t experience love, care and concern from our parents as little girls, we often don’t believe we deserve it. We welcome any man who pays attention to us at all. We lack good and supportive role models. The relationship with an emotionally unavailable man is very well explained by Young’s schema theory. It shows that as children we learn how to function in the world by assimilating different patterns. Some are adaptive and therefore support us in everyday life. Others turn out to be dysfunctional and harmful. Patterns remain deeply ingrained in us, usually dating back to early childhood years that we do not remember. They function outside our consciousness. We usually choose what we know well, even though it is not always good for us. If we have experienced a lack of love, emotionally unavailable men will remain attractive to us. A relationship with an emotionally immature man often says a lot about us. It reveals our fear of intimacy, which often remains unconscious. We opt for this type of relationship when we represent an insecure attachment style. It is formed in early childhood and its matrix is the relationship with the most important attachment figure, usually the mother. If the caregiver does not meet our emotional needs, it teaches us that we are not important to others. The child protects himself as much as he can. He or she may tune into the parent for support, which is how an anxiety-ambivalent attachment style is formed. Some young people cut themselves off from others and proximity by adopting an avoidant strategy. In adulthood, if we represent an insecure attachment style, we may struggle to build healthy romantic relationships. A relationship with an indecisive man then turns out to be a good solution. It gives a substitute for closeness, while leaving an emotional distance that makes us feel safe. We do not step out of our comfort zone and reveal our ‘soft underbelly’, exposing ourselves to potential rejection.

Bottom line – how to treat an indecisive man?

When a man is not ready for a relationship, it is worth considering why he remains so attractive to us. Usually his emotional unavailability attracts us for a reason. Low self-esteem, an insecure attachment style, fear of intimacy, damaging childhood patterns and erratic reinforcements cause us to enter toxic relationships. Although they bring us more suffering than joy, it is not uncommon for us to be stuck in them for long periods of time. We are often unaware of other patterns of romantic relationships. We unconsciously recreate familiar roles, condemning ourselves to emotional pain.

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