Today we’re going to be talking about, what your ex means when he says he doesn’t want a relationship.

There’s a lot to dive into, but the first step you should always take if you are sitting there and determining whether or not you should be trying to get back with your ex, or trying to move on with your ex, is by stopping everything you’re doing and taking our ex recovery chances quiz.

It’s a special two minute quiz designed to tell you what chance you have of getting your ex back, so you can make a smart decision going forward and not sacrifice or waste your time.

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What Does It Mean When He Says He Doesn’t Want A Relationship?

So, today we’re going to be taking a question from a woman who wants to remain anonymous. But when I heard her question I became inspired to talk about something that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about before.

But before I get into that, I think it’s probably best if I just play her question.

Last week, my boyfriend of three months broke up with me. He said that his main reason was that he realized he didn’t want to be in a relationship, and he wants someone to hang out with, but he doesn’t want the commitment. He knows that’s not what I’m looking for. And he also knows that people our age really are not looking for that kind of relationship. I’m 37 and he’s 44. Prior to breaking up though, we had a conversation about sex, because in our three months together we had never been sexually intimate. And I had even spent the night with him a couple of times and nothing ever happened.

So, I wanted to ask him about it because I just was wondering. And he revealed to me that he has erectile dysfunction. And while he is interested in sex and he is attracted to me, he was worried that if we tried to have sex or fool around or anything, that he didn’t know what the outcome would be. So, I think that was a little worrisome for him, and embarrassing for him for us to even attempt that. So we never did attempt anything physically like that. But I was supportive, I didn’t want to break up with him over that. I wanted to be as encouraging as I could and help him. And I was willing to stick with him and work through this together. So, I’m wondering if you think which reason is the primary reason he wanted to end our relationship?

The Exception Mentality

So this is a situation that is becoming more and more common.

You’re with someone, things seem to be going okay, and then he drops this bombshell.

I don’t want a relationship.

People our age aren’t doing that, whether that’s being young or old. And a lot of women come to me and they ask me, “Well, does he mean it?”

Because what’s interesting is when women hear this, sometimes I feel like they take this the wrong way.

They think that they’re the exception.

This is a problem, because you’re not the exception. When a man sits there and tells you he doesn’t want a relationship with you, does he mean it? He absolutely means it in the moment. Now things can change. Who knows what the future holds. But women sometimes take this to mean that, yeah, he means it right now, but I’ll change his mind.

And oftentimes their efforts lead them astray and they fail.

And I want to explore this concept of thinking that you’re the exception.

Because you may well be the exception, but you probably don’t have the mentality it takes to see the results of that.

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, it’s interesting the longer I’ve been doing this, the more important I realize mentality is over anything else.

You give me two people. You can give me someone in the worst situation you can imagine, their ex says they hate them, they block them. They have no way of getting in touch with them. And then you can give me someone who has an ideal situation. But the only difference is the mentality. One person, the person with the worst situation has the right mentality. And the person with the easiest situation has the wrong mentality. And I will take the person with the right mentality every single time.

The Pedestal Mentality

And that’s because, women I’ve noticed have this tendency to place men on pedestals. And that’s a problem. Because men are human beings just like you are a human being. And human beings are not perfect.

In fact, we’re often defined by our imperfect nature. Putting your ex on a pedestal gives them power over you. It gives them leverage. One of my favorite TV shows is this British TV show called, Peaky Blinders. It’s basically this like period piece set right after World War I. It’s set in Britain and it just follows this leader of this gang.

I’m not really one for gang type stuff, but this show is awesome.

And I remember the moment that I was sold on the show.

The main character basically says, “Never parlay when you’re on the back foot.”

Basically, don’t deal with someone until you have leverage. This is something that I’ve tried to teach women countless times over the years.

If you have no leverage, you are not going to get your ex back.

That’s as simple as it gets.

And what you do by placing your ex on a pedestal, by looking at him like he’s this perfect being and that your life is over without him, you give him that leverage. Now, I’m not saying that’s what the caller did here.

No, she is the victim of a symptom of society.

So yeah, she may be placing her ex on a pedestal, most women do. Until I can explain to them why they shouldn’t be doing that. But even when you sometimes explain to a woman why she shouldn’t put a man on a pedestal, they have to experience the pain and heartbreak first for them to realize, Oh, that’s why I don’t do that. But, what do I mean by a symptom?

The Peter Pan Syndrome

Well, a man who sits there and says to you, he doesn’t want a relationship, oftentimes they suffer from something I like to call, the Peter Pan Syndrome. Now, I’m a weird person I’m not going to lie to you.

At night one of my favorite things to do is just surf YouTube and try to find inspirational videos or philosophical videos that get my mind thinking. And last night I stumbled across something, and I’ll actually post the video in the show notes of this episode on our website.

Because it struck me so much and I not only agreed with it, but it’s something that I’ve seen happen time and time again. There’s this, he’s called the professor, but I view him more as a philosopher. His name is Jordan Peterson. He’s very controversial.

He has very controversial views, but I don’t think anyone can doubt his intelligence.

And what’s interesting is he did this talk about men or women in general who reject this concept of growing up, Peter Pan Syndrome. And I feel that most men who sit there and say, I don’t want a relationship. I can’t commit to you. Especially in anonymous’ situation here where she’s 37 and he’s 44 or something. I actually don’t remember his age. But I know he’s in his 40’s. People our age aren’t getting married. No. That’s BS. People your age are married.

That’s the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever heard. Excuse my language. It gets me angry because what we have here is a classic case of the Peter Pan Syndrome.

How The Peter Pan Syndrome Works

No, I don’t want to claim that I came up with this concept by myself because I didn’t. I was inspired and made some tweaks to it.

So, like I said, I’ll post the video on the show notes. So you can watch the video as a whole and see for yourself. But this is Jordan Peterson, and he talks about this concept of Peter Pan and how Peter Pan is this children’s book, right?

And when we’re children we’re nothing but potential, we can be anything. And Peter Pan is a magical boy, but he never wants to grow up. Plus he could fly, which is pretty cool. But he never wants to grow up because he never wants to give away that potential. Peter Pan, he just doesn’t want to give it up.

So, he wants to have that potential be there forever. And he’s surrounded by children who adopt the same mentality in this make-believe place called Neverland. Now that’s not to say he isn’t surrounded by adults, he is.

The main adult in Peter Pan’s life is Captain Hook. Which is an evil man with a hook, who is constantly chased by a crocodile with a clock in its stomach. What’s interesting is Peterson makes this distinction that, the crocodile with a clock in its stomach is time.

So, you have this crocodile with a clock in its stomach constantly chasing Captain Hook. A man who’s constantly running from time. So, Peter Pan sees this main adult, this crazy, ugly, mean old man with a hook, running from time, looks at him and says, “I don’t want to do that. I’m not sacrificing my childhood for that.”

But what’s interesting is that being a child does have its sacrifices. See, one of the biggest benefits of growing up is establishing a relationship. A loving relationship with someone that you can rely on and trust in, someone that will be there for you when times are good and when times are bad. And as a child, that’s something that you sacrifice. And Peter Pan does have to sacrifice that. As a child he can’t ever have a real relationship with a woman. The woman in his life, of course being Wendy. A girl, she’s not a woman technically yet, but she’s accepted her maturity. She’s accepted the fact that at some point she will have to grow up. She wants to grow up, she wants to have kids, she wants to have a life. And perhaps the moral of the story is that growing up does require you to sacrifice your childhood.

And here we’re going to talk about your ex a little bit, anonymous. Some men resist this notion. Some men are Peter Pan. And what we have is often… When we’re growing up, we can do things when we’re 20, mid 20’s and we’re still looked at as, that person has potential. But if a person never changes, if they never grasp their potential, they’ll wake up when they’re 30 or 40 being the same child with no difference. And what I think happens often to men who say they don’t want a relationship and they’re old, is they literally reject the notion of growing up. They’re literally spitting on their potential. Because potential cannot be achieved without sacrificing your childhood.

Yes, you have potential as a child, you can be anything you want to be. But having potential, and fulfilling potential, are two completely different concepts. And perhaps the most ironic part about all of this, is that growing up will happen to us whether we do it or not. So, we’re ultimately faced with these two choices.

You choose your skill, fulfill your potential, and sacrifice your time. Time is currency in this instance. Something that we can spend and never get back. So, what are we doing when we spend our time? If we’re not doing anything to fulfill our potential, we’re wasting our time. Or the second result or choice that people have, and this is what I find often happens with men who say they don’t want a relationship, they don’t want to commit, they resist, they resist growing up. They become Peter Pan, but the bill comes due no matter what you do.

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10 thoughts on “What He Means When He Says He Doesn’t Want A Relationship”

  1. Avatar


    March 28, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Hi, what a great episode!
    I have a question in this topic. I started dating a guy in January, you know, early stages, getting to know each other, but overall – a great connection, we were talking for hours etc. Really similar interests, always having good time together. We had a discussion to take things slow, because we met recently, but we both agreed on spending time together, having lunches (we share work enivronment), hanging out, doing sleepovers, kissing, holding hands. I want to mention that he initiated it – he started asking me out, texting etc. One day he came to my place to tell me that he’s not in a good place in his life, it’s really stressful etc (he also moved to my country at the beginning of the year, so I understand the stress and confusion, I’ve been there myself). And that he’s totally into me, but he needs to take time to put his s*it together. So I respected it. We stopped hanging out in privacy, we didn’t text (we exchange some messages, but casual). We were seeing each other everyday because of work. And I got some mixed signals – he was always waiting for me when I was leaving the room, talking, asking if he should come for my presentation the other day… It was confusing. And I guess that was my mistake, because I’m a really bubbly and smily person and generally – I’m always nice to people. So I was always chatting with him, acting normally, asking how he’s doing. And one day, while walking to our building, out of the blue he asked to stop flirting with him. I was shocked. He started mumbling about how this is awkward etc. I got confused even more. He couldn’t fully articulate himself so I just told him that I was just being nice to him and that’s it and that I feel used a bit. Later that day, he send me a long text that he cares about me but he can’t be in relationship mostly because he’s not in a good place. But he wants to be friends and he likes me. And that was the day I started NC. I’m going strong for 3 weeks now, but I realised – I do want to reset the things between us, because I want to be friends and be normal – but I also want for it to evolve into something more. He didn’t contact me directly (no texts for this 3 weeks), just in work environment making tiny comments sometimes like “Marie, come on, you know it!” or “Marie probably knows better”. I know it’s a short time and we don’t know each other for long, but I want to fix it… And taking into consideration current situation (quarantine, being separated) – is it ok to reach out after 3 weeks or suck it up a bit more? Please help. I really like him and I just want to try again…

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 31, 2020 at 12:57 am

      Hey Marie, so you need to complete the NC and stick to the program, you are allowed to speak about c19 when you are in the texting phase but you need to avoid breaking nc to check on them. Look into the type of texts that chris suggests doing for your first contact after NC

  2. Avatar


    March 27, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Some of the things mentioned here don’t seem to apply to me as I had a relationship that was mostly long distance. We were ‘seeing’ each other for 6 months, and then he asked me to meet him overseas. I went there, we seemed to hit it off within a day and we got intimate the second night .. we were a couple for roughly a month, things seemed perfect – he was literally amazing with saying he loved me and talking to me everyday.. For a month.. until suddenly.. within a few (2-3) days he stopped saying it – I noticed And commented after the third or fourth time.. then he asked for space .. went completely MiA for nearly two weeks no explanation .. n then broke up with me over a long text.. in which he said three main thingS.. that he thought he wasn’t ready, that lately he hadn’t felt the same energy and spark for me , that he thought it was unfair I loved him.. while he didn’t to same extent.. the rest was how he’d always respect me and care and be around if I wanted him to. (But essentially, we can maybe be friends but I don’t think so & good luck with ur life is how I read it.)

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 29, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Meryam, it is quite common for a LDR to lose its “spark” after a while as it is difficult when you do not get to see each other often. I would suggest that you follow the program as this going to be giving you a great chance of getting him back, the more you can get him to invest in talking to you and then possibly phone calls, skype and eventually meeting up again. But I would suggest that you get him to come to you going forward as he is then investing into you this way. I would also consider the future of this relationship, would it last long term, was there a possibility of one of you moving to the other country?

  3. Avatar


    March 27, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Recently my boyfriend of 6 months said he doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. He wants us to take a break and just be friends. He said he doesn’t want to give me false hope but maybe one day eventually we can try it again but for right now he doesn’t want any sort of relationship with anybody, he thinks he wasn’t ready for a new relationship.
    I currently live with him so the no contact is a little difficult, but we do sleep in different rooms now. He constantly says he cares for me and if I move out he’s going to be sad and really miss me. It hurts a lot to know that he’s right there and I want to be closer to him and he’s giving mixed signals and being more attentive now then in the relationship.
    I want to try a relationship with him again especially because we are talking better about our feelings now than we did in the relationship
    Please help, I’m seriously heart broken right now

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 29, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      Hi B, he just needs some space right now so allow him to have that space. Let him miss you – do not be his friend. If you want a relationship with him then you can not be friends (unless he was to meet someone else in that time, then we implement the being there method). For now though work on your Holy Trinity and become Ungettable so that he regrets losing you from his life

  4. Avatar


    March 23, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Hey Guys – love your posts!! So got a text from my ex (he dumped me), we’ve been broken up for 3 months, I followed all your advice – becoming UG, NC ect and he finally messaged. We spoke normally for a bit then he brought up the break up, He said he ended things because he felt it was the best thing for us, but not because he didn’t want to be with me? – mind F. Is this another way of saying it’s not you it’s me?/he things grass is greener? I haven’t replied to his message and not sure what to do tbh, was doing really well in my recovery.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 23, 2020 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Pamela, you stayed in No Contact for three months? If you want your ex back then start the texting phase but ignore his comment about ending things because he thought it was best. Try to avoid emotional conversations

  5. Avatar


    March 22, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you Chris. that is very informative.
    I have a question,that’s been bothering me for a while.What does it mean when your ex tells you upon breakup that they do love you and have not lost interest,but they are not interested in a relationship with you at the moment. This is after having hurt them and him saying he is finding it difficult to forgive me.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 23, 2020 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Rachel, I am sorry to say it like this. He has basically said “It’s not you, its me”. Stick to the plan if you want to get them back