Knowing When It Is Time To Break Up


You know those “sponsored posts” that sometimes show up on your Facebook feed? I just got one, for a book that calls itself “the ultimate guide to dating emotionally unavailable men.”

What? Why would anybody, man OR woman, date somebody who is emotionally unavailable?

Apparently the idea is to reach out to women who are willing to part with $29.99 for an e-book, and who are dating men who say they love them, but that they aren’t “ready” for a relationship. I happen to believe that women who fit either description are perhaps not fully utilizing the brains God gave them. Apparently the promise of learning the “one key that unlocks the secret to a man’s heart” is just irresistible to women with money to burn. (Notice how nobody writes books about “the one key that unlocks the secret to a woman’s heart.” Call me crazy, but I think it’s because men as a rule don’t get sucked in to drivel like this.)

To me, this is just one more example of a clever entrepreneur looking to profit from the perpetual female “I’ll change him” fantasy. And, at this point, I believe that any woman who falls for it deserves what she gets. Which, in the best-case scenario is nothing, and in the worst-case scenario is a man whose commitment issues didn’t magically disappear in the face of the key that supposedly unlocked his heart.

But here’s what concerned me most: in the particular post that appeared on my wall, a reader was asking the author about how to handle her commitment-phobic boyfriend. One of her questions was whether she should insist on “sexual exclusivity.” Yes, you read it right. She’s dating a guy who openly says he isn’t “ready” for a relationship. She’s having sex with him — and he’s having sex with other women as well.

So, to me, the advice here would be simple: “What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks are you thinking here, woman? You’ve got a guy who has basically announced he’s not interested in being there for you, you’re giving him EVERYTHING and sharing with him the most intimate act possible between two human beings, and you’re wondering if you’re within your rights to ask him not to do the same thing with random other women? Salute the big red flag, Sister. Hop the next train to OuttaHereVille and find a grown up who respects you and — here’s a concept — actually wants to be with you without having to be manipulated by the “One Secret to a Man’s Heart.”

But no, our expert instead advised her to remove all expectations, and above all continue to date other men, because that’s the key to her sanity. (Personally, I think she dropped the key to her sanity down a sewer grate when she started turning to this particular guru for advice.) What did she advise about sexual exclusivity? Go ahead and bring it up only if it’s a deal-breaker.

What on earth has happened to us? How did we get to a place where women are afraid to demand sexual faithfulness from their men? Where entire books are written for women to help them convince men, who don’t want to be with them, that they really DO want to be with them?

So what do you do when you’re pursuing a relationship with someone who says (or behaves in a way that suggests) that he or she doesn’t want a relationship? Here’s what you don’t do — you don’t stay with them, reading books and researching “tricks” that will make them fall in love with you. And you certainly don’t sleep with them, while keeping your fingers crossed that he or she isn’t doing the same with who-knows-how-many-others.

No. Instead, you smile and say “Thanks for letting me know. Let me know when and if you ever are ready, and if I’m still available, we’ll talk. Until then, goodbye.” And you leave.

Good advice, if I do say so myself. And it didn’t even cost you $29.99.



  1. Theresa-1304591 March 17, 2016 Reply

    The old saying “You truly never know a person”, that is so true. You like everything about someone then as time goes on he falls in love and you are on the fence post. Why? His addictions are coming out. Foodaholic, has gained 30 pounds eats and watches tv. The once feeling like a queen now you feel like an over draft banker. He has a gambling problem. Paid on Monday broke on Thursday has 11 days to go before next check. All relationships are different and so are people. Nope we women cannot fix, change, help them…They bring us down!!!

  2. Rosa-849462 October 31, 2014 Reply

    I agree with Cara, that women are attracted to men who radiate confidence, are decisive, and stand up for what they believe in and that unfortunately there are lots of men that are that way for the wrong reasons. It takes a woman with those same qualities for the right reasons to not fall for men who have those qualities for the wrong reason.

  3. Katharinele-1079549 May 12, 2014 Reply

    believe it or not i fall prey to that crap when i just broken up with my ex and i think my brain went south altogether with the rest of of my dignity. Somewhere between the lines, i manage to convince myself to go for it – part with my money and give it an ear and see what this expert has to say. I was truly truly wrong, and i regretted my actions soon as i receive the ebook that explains dos and donts. That’s when i realised that i have been duped and i wasn’t using my smartness.
    When you are in a heart broken state, i admit i was broken by it that everything goes. I even quit my job, move town, isolate myself from any connections or people from work.
    Now, 1 year later, i am still not sure how i end up where i end up and why? but i realize how important it is to have faith in God and keep moving forward.. It is a change that i needed at that time. I thank God for having carried me and guiding me all the way through these ordeal. I do pray for the broken heart and sending positive light towards your way. That God brings you salvation.

  4. Jacqueline-890784 June 19, 2013 Reply

    I want someone who is decent.

  5. Jennifer-893253 March 28, 2013 Reply

    That being said, most of everything else you said is good advice and yes, you should absolutely just walk away from men like this, and have some self respect. I think a good portion of women do just that. Not many intelligent women hang around for too long with men like this.

  6. Jennifer-893253 March 28, 2013 Reply

    Conduct ….

  7. Jennifer-893253 March 28, 2013 Reply

    “…Notice how nobody writes books about “the one key that unlocks the secret to a woman’s heart.” Call me crazy, but I think it’s because men as a rule don’t get sucked in to drivel like this.)…”
    Um, yes…I will have to call you crazy, then. Men have been sucked into drivel like this in so many different areas, for so many years….Viagra (and all the other medications to enhance, enlarge, elongate, etc), cars, bodybuilding, hairclubs, etc. All aimed at how to “capture” a woman’s “heart”. Perhaps if there were more infomercials on “How to be a good man and get past your mommy issues and treat a woman right”, there wouldnt be a need for women to investigate the option to have to spend money on a book like this. Please cunduct more research before writing something like this next time.

  8. Naomi-825244 March 26, 2013 Reply

    Things like this just make me more appreciative of the wonderful faith that we have…that apparently we see more than everyone else. For most of us, it would seem, we would see this and say “oh heck no techno” and be on our merry way whilst praying for the playah. I think many women want someone to take care of, someone who needs them, and by picking someone who is so emotionally far-gone they hope to save him from himself, open his eyes, and thereby win his undying love and gratitude. Thanks, chic flicks, for all those twisted fairy tales.

  9. Vanessa-503762 March 26, 2013 Reply

    There should always be love and respect in every relationship; without it, it can’t be called such. Just great to hear someone voice this out!

  10. Nigel-873023 March 25, 2013 Reply

    First of all, if he is not committed to you, you should not be sleeping with him in the first place. And, by committed, I’m talking married. Secondly, if he’s sleeping around, that’s a sign that he needs to be dumped ASAP. This is not someone you want guiding you in your faith and fathering your children. End of story.

    • I totally agree with you. If love is not mutual ( mutual respect and compromise) it doesn´t work. Why waste time with a person who doesnt want any kind of commitment?

  11. Gary-936836 March 24, 2013 Reply

    What draws women to men like that? Or, what is so attractive that those issues just don’t matter?

    I’ve been blinded to a woman’s faults before and ignored red flags, so this isn’t a judgmental question. I’m just genuinely curious.

    • Cara-868560 March 25, 2013 Reply

      Not 100% positive. But I think part of it might be that a lot of women are especially attracted to men who radiate confidence, are decisive, take action and stand up for what they believe in. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of the men who have those qualities are also the ones who aren’t necessarily believing in/fighting for the right things. Yet, it seems hard to find the men who believe in the right things, possessing all of those qualities. Therefore, many women seem to pick the prior option of men.

      • John-324285 March 25, 2013 Reply

        I think part of what you bring up is because men who do fight for the right things get smeared, because the right things according to Gods laws runs so counter cultural to what we have all been ingrained in and are exposed to on a continuous basis. Many women today are not open to traditional gender roles and men who fight for those are labeled many horrible things. That is part of the reason women go for these “other” men who show the same conviction only toward things of this world as it does not offend their desire to be in all ways equal to men, which is not how God created either gender!

    • Maria-930320 March 26, 2013 Reply

      Good question…I think it is that we ignore our intuition, our gut feelings and force convincing thoughts to direct us. I try to ask Our Lord to govern our lives, direct, correct, perfect and protect and then relinquish my grip and allow his promptings. Easier said than done!

  12. Suzanne-818266 March 24, 2013 Reply

    Actually, I had to do just that with a guy here on Catholic Match. After sending the occasional text message just to say “hi, how are you doing” but not getting anything back, I decided I was too mature and self-confident to chase a guy who clearly wasn’t interested like I used to do in the past. I wished him well, told him to contact me if he liked, and if I was still available we’d take it from there. Really empowering!!

    • Kim-922832 March 25, 2013 Reply

      Amen! I am finding that about MOST of the men here, and am realizing God wants me to trust Him and let Him do His job! Blessings!

  13. Shannon-537443 March 24, 2013 Reply


  14. Jaime-556629 March 24, 2013 Reply

    I agree with most but it aint always the Man my friends that’s it and no one is perfect no Marriage I beleive is perfect my parents and grandparents been married since the day My Dad and Grandpa walked her down the Church aisle an then I hear they were different back then yes they were as well as Women were too man so much finger pointing and no advice on how to stay together please everything aint all bad

  15. Kassandra-944631 March 24, 2013 Reply

    Loved this article! It’s true, there are a lot of women out there in the world who don’t have a backbone to simply say “no”. And it is really sad because nobody wins—everyone’s the victim. Hopefully more women will find that they are worth more than their dependency, and confused men can learn to have the qualities of some REAL men (i.e. St. Joseph). God bless! 🙂

  16. Maria-921891 March 24, 2013 Reply

    Great advice. If someone is really interested he will find the time to spend quality time with you. If he is not interested in you, he will make excuses. No one is that busy that he cannot find the time for a text, email or quick hi. Usually when a man says he doesn’t know, he is not interested. If there is no communication there is no relationship. Even the Pope uses Twitter. 🙂

  17. Esther-532964 March 24, 2013 Reply

    Great article! Sometimes women are looking for love in all the wrong places. I will keep looking , staying true to my up bringing, and God. I haven’t fallen , or do I intend too. Women be smart& strong. It’s hard work, but we know it’s the right way to be!

    • Bob-59786 March 25, 2013 Reply

      John Paul II had a quote something like it requires both a Chaste Man and a Chaste Woman to find True Love. I’d say the described scenario reveals a man NOT worth pursuing.

  18. Sam-427739 March 24, 2013 Reply

    Healthy people show more respect for themselves and others than to treat each other this way.

    • Teresita T. October 1, 2013 Reply

      yes, healthy people show more respect not only for themselves but for another people to be treat its everyone.

  19. Alice-788574 March 24, 2013 Reply

    I think you’ve offered some wonderful advice here, Mary Beth. The heart, soul, mind, and body that we posess are gifts from God, and we must be very careful stewards. I feel so badly for people who throw around their sexuality – suffering in this life and the next are really only a few very bad decisions away from every one of us. So we pray – Kyrie eleison!

Post a comment