Ask Evie: What Does A Guy Really Mean When He Ends Things To “Focus On His Career”?

Welcome to Ask Evie, our advice column. Readers can submit their questions, and our editors will dish out their best advice!

By Evie3 min read
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READER’S QUESTION: Dear Evie, I've been seeing this guy for two months, but he just ended things to “focus on his career.” Everything was going great – we had so much in common, both important (religion, values, and beliefs) but also small hobbies/interests (like music, reading, love for the outdoors). We had amazing chemistry, physical attraction, laughed constantly, and could talk about anything. So, needless to say, I was completely dumbfounded when he called me last week to call things off.

He said that he needed to focus on his career and wasn't "ready" for a relationship. He recently started his own business, so of course, that's incredibly important to him, but considering he initiated this "relationship" with me, I feel like he should've thought through this before ever asking me out and getting my feelings involved. This whole time we've been going on dates (we weren't intimate with each other btw), I thought we were working towards being in an exclusive relationship. I mean, why else would he be asking me out and getting to know me to that level if he didn't want a relationship with me? I was sure he was going to make things official soon.

During our conversation, I told him that I want to be supportive of his career (I think it's really attractive that he started his own business!) and would be willing to be there for him in whatever way he would need from me in order for this to work, but it didn't make a difference to him. I don't expect a man to have his career completely put together in order for me to date him, but it seems like that's how he feels himself. For reference, we're both in our late 20s.

I don't know, I'm just feeling really hurt, confused, and blindsided about the whole thing. I swear I'm not crazy, I KNOW we really did have a great connection and were truly compatible with each other, so I'm just at a loss as to why he would throw that away for... work? Any thoughts?

EVIE’S ADVICE: As frustrating as this is, it sounds like a work variation of “it's not you, it's me.” It’s possible that he started dating you without actually intending to pursue a real relationship, and you just happened to really hit it off. Or he could have a fear of commitment, or he feels insecure, like he's not good enough for you. In any case, he doesn't seem open to compromise or willing to fight for you. If a man wants a relationship, he will pursue it. Period.

He may think he’s letting you down easy by putting the blame on himself instead of telling you he doesn’t see a future with you or isn’t ready to get serious. But, when it comes down to it, that’s really all it is: an excuse.

His ending things was likely more about him not being ready for a relationship than it had to do with something you did wrong or were missing.

Plenty of men start businesses, run successful businesses, or climb the corporate ladder with a woman by their side. Maybe deep down, he truly believes that he needs to focus one hundred percent of his time and energy into building a business in order for it to be successful and he doesn’t want anything getting in the way of that. In that case, it’s possible that he really will swear off dating entirely, spending time with his family or friends, or any other activity that may take away his time from work. However, the truth remains that for the right person, a mature, masculine man wouldn’t be willing to just walk away and lose her – no matter what his professional dreams are. He would at least be willing to give it a shot while letting you know that he simply needs to shift his priorities for a bit while he gets his business off the ground (i.e. no more late nights talking on the phone or he has to cut back on expensive date nights to save for business expenses, etc.).

More likely, the case is that he has a fear of commitment, and when he saw that you were getting serious so quickly, he promptly cut things off. Either that, or you were one of several women he was talking to or getting to know before making things exclusive, and he decided to pursue someone else but didn’t want to clue you into that for fear of hurting you or getting berated. Men tend to know very quickly whether they want to pursue a woman as a wife or not. You may have hit things off and felt every box was being “checked” by your perspective, but it’s possible that he felt differently and was scared to have those honest conversations about where you two were misaligned in his mind.

As confused and as hurt as you may be feeling, we wouldn’t recommend trying to convince him to date you or waiting around until he feels “successful enough” to be in a relationship. Some men will use the excuse of focusing on their careers for their entire life to avoid making a commitment or “settling down.” Instead, realize that his ending things was likely more about him not being ready for a relationship than it had to do with something you did wrong or were missing. Be thankful that he only wasted a couple of months of your time before he made his decision, and focus on moving on and finding a man who will be more than thrilled to build a life alongside you.

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