Do Women Really Want Commitment?

I've got lots of friends who have given it a shot, tried to tell a woman that they're into her, only to scare her away.

two inter-linked gold wedding rings
(Image credit: Alex Shebanov/istock)

I'm getting tired of women complaining that men don't commit. I've got many friends who tried to commit, only to scare the woman away. I'm wondering if women really do want commitment. There are a few factors at play:

My friend Jake was hanging out with my friend Sarah for a few months. Because I was in the middle of it, I knew Jake was getting way too into it, because Sarah was just out to have a good time, and had a boyfriend.

Jake took Sarah to a café and told her that he had feelings for her. What really got to her was that he reached across the table and clasped her hands in his, making her feel (as she would tell me later) trapped, freaked-out, and in too deep.

The next few weeks were agonizing as he continued to try to see her and she (in his eyes) did a 180, avoiding "dates" with him. She went back to only hanging out with him in groups. And all she could say was: "I mean, he  clasped my hands on the table!"

Another friend recently told me that things were going along well with a guy until he told her he had feelings for her (coincidentally, she complained that he pulled her face all close to his when he did it, similar to the hand clasp). Her feelings changed after this, and she broke up with him a few weeks later.

Still another friend (Carrie) went on about five dates with a guy she described as "very nice." His only downfall was that he texted her too often. Not bad in the scheme of things, so she figured she'd get past that.

But there's another guy in her life who is still in love with his ex-girlfriend but shows some interest in Carrie. One night when they were all out, Carrie pursued the ex-girlfriend-obsessed guy who, by the way, pretty much screws with her head. All the while, the nice guy looked on, and eventually decided to email her and tell her he had feelings for her, and wanted to date exclusively.

At this point she must have been spooked because the nice guy became public enemy #1 (not the jerk, who will only commit to his ex, but the guy who revealed his feelings for her), and now she avoids him like the plague.

Now, I know many women who tell me a guy is no longer attractive once he says he wants to commit to her. In fact, I know just as many women who complain that guys won't commit.

I think many guys get in trouble because they assume it's "in the bag" that a woman wants commitment, so they assume their "commitment talk" will go over just dandy when they do it — and they're surprised when it doesn't work out.

Perhaps it's yet another occasion where guys get in trouble by stereotyping commitment as something "most women want..." It's hard, but guys should assume that "maybe some" women want commitment, and approach each "commitment talk" on an individual level instead of thinking that "most women" think the same. It's beginning to look like "women want commitment" is a dangerous rule to live by, but you tell me...

Is this belief that men won't commit and women want commitment an urban legend? Or is there some point in a woman's life where she goes from wanting what she can't have to wanting commitment? Do the factors I've bulleted out above have a lot to do with it? Do more women really want commitment, or do the numbers seem more even? Are guys I know doing it in the wrong way, with the wrong women?

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