Q: "I have been dating this guy for about 4 months now. At first we were just casually dating, but since November we have been dating more seriously. (We see each other just about every day, and when we don't see each other, we talk on the phone or text.) I am not seeing anyone else, and I am pretty positive that he is not dating other people either, but we are not officially exclusive. He seems to be afraid to commit to a serious relationship with me. I am planning on talking to him about it within the next few days. What can I say to him that won't scare him away? Or what are some things that I can do to make it easier for him to commit?"

A: There's an expression that Father Kinney, a priest at my high school, used to say that I've since stolen and repeated countless times: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.”

If the FOC-er (FOC = Fear of Commitment) truly doesn't want a relationship, there are few things you can do to make him commit to one. Naturally, if this is the case, you don't want to be with him either.

That being said, I know lots of cases where the guy didn't think he was ready, and then once he jumped in, he was happy that he did. These haven't always turned out with love, marriage and a carpool to the local magnet school, but they have progressed.

What can you say that won't scare him away? Nothing. It doesn't matter how you dress it up, you want to take things to the next level. More importantly than how you ask is when. You really have to trust your instincts: Is this something you think he's ready for? Are there any indications that he wants to keep things casual? If so, are there any indications that this could change? And most importantly, do you want to move forward with the relationship if his answer is "I like things the way they are.”

The problem with that last sentence (one I've delivered more than once) is that we tend to like to keep our options open. We sometimes think that around each corner, Ashley Greene or some other lovely starlet is waiting to fall in love with us. We are idiots. We are lucky that women will even be in the same room with us, never mind a relationship. Which brings me back to my first point: Sometimes we need a little push. The question you need to answer is: Is that time now?

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