Beware the Transitional Man: 3 Signs He’s Not Relationship Ready

Road Signs: Detour, Road Closed, Do Not Enter

“When the transitional man comes a knockin’, don’t open the door, or your heart for that matter.” – Mitch Stecker


Spring is here, in full bloom.

Well, unless you’re in the Midwest, where we go from 50 degrees to snow in one foggy day.  Regardless. With Easter and Passover coming together, not to mention the Blood Moon and the lunar eclipse, April is nothing but a month of big changes.

As romances spring into season, thought this would be a good time to address the transitional man. He’s everywhere, and we as women must know the signs – and stay away. A man in change? While he may be on strong footing, he is looking to upgrade his life.

He is operating from a place of lack, but that won’t stop him from pursuing you.

Part of the attraction? He sees a woman with a full life and he wants that for himself. It doesn’t, however, mean that he wants a life with you. Because first, post whatever crisis he’s experienced, he must rebuild his own. And that takes time.

These transitional men, they are not assholes. Often, they are genuinely kind. And sweet. And supportive. They may think the world of you. They are fun on dates. They are great conversationalists. They are good with your friends. They may even want to meet your family.

But they won’t reciprocate the openness.  We women give them carte blanche into our worlds. All the while, they build gates around theirs.

Whether dealing with unresolved personal issues, confused as to what their role is or uncertain of how you fit into their lives, the transitional man is not a man who is ready for a healthy relationship.

 So, what are the signs?

  • He’s Unemployed – Let me be clear here: There’s no judgment of a man who is currently without paycheck. However, there is an accountability required in the effort and passion needed to secure employment. Yes, times are tough and we’ve never truly recovered from the market crash of 2008, but the desire and actions needed toward getting a job and continuing cash flow to pay his own bills should be his number one priority.  If it isn’t, well, girlfriend, he’s looking to you to pay them. He’s allowed to sulk over the loss of a job. But he’s not allowed to bum around and expect you to foot the bills. He has an integrity to uphold. If he doesn’t, then run. Like the wind.
  • He’s Homeless – To redefine: This doesn’t mean he lives on the streets or in a shelter. Rather, it means that his name is not on a lease or mortgage. Whether he’s sharing his bed with another woman, back by curfew in his childhood bedroom or on his friend’s couch, if he’s not in a position to invite a woman over, he’s not in a position to take care of you.
  • He’s Married – It seems so obvious: If he’s married, we clearly aren’t thinking “dating material!” But what I’m focusing on is (air quote) technically (end air quote). Perhaps he’s separated. Perhaps he’s on his way to a divorce. As long as there’s a legal binding contract between him and her or as long as he’s not truly over his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, emotionally, he’s not in the clear. And he’s absolutely not ready for you.

Step away. Give him the time he needs. Just don’t plan your well-being on his watch. Get on with your own matters.

As women, we must take the responsibility for our personal lives. One way is to recognize the signs and avoid getting romantically involved with men when their lives are unstable. Another is to avoid getting involved with men while we are going through our own transitions. If either party is in flux, dating will feel like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall: You’ll be left with a big sticky mess to clean up, and a hole to fill.

The truth is, it’s not a man’s job to rescue us. And it’s not our job to rescue a man.

Healthy relationships are developed when two whole people come together, want to be with each other, open their lives and inner circles to one another and can embrace a life and future that warrants a mutual commitment.

Till then, rescue yourself: ensure your own happiness, pay your own bills and enjoy your own company. Instead of codependence, choose independence.

That is the best transition of all.


Photo: A. Sukhoy

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