So, you’ve started seeing someone new. You’re into it. You’re looking to lock this thing down. They… are not. Everyone has their own dating timeline, and even if someone likes spending time with you, they may not be ready for labels just yet. I once dated a guy who was OK posting pics of us together on his Insta Story, but not on his actual Instagram, because that was “too real.” Did I wait around for him to change his mind? You betcha. But if it’s pretty clear that the person you’re dating doesn’t want a relationship, should you wait? In my experience, probably not.
It’s easy to think, “If I wait long enough, this person will eventually see how cool and fun I am and won’t be able to imagine dating anyone else.” Unfortunately, a person who doesn’t want to commit right now may not ever be willing to commit — at least not to you. (Sorry, but — as the great Lizzo once said — truth hurts.) How can you tell the different between a person who doesn’t want a relationship now and a person who simply doesn’t want you? Here’s how to get to the truth, and then eventually get over it.
Figure Out Whether They Can’t Commit Now Or Can’t Commit Ever
There are plenty of reasons why a person may not want to be a relationship for the moment. They could have just had a bad breakup and need to spend some time casually dating. They could have trust issues. They could be overwhelmed with work or school or family drama and simply can’t take on another responsibility right now.
If the person you’re dating says they can’t begin a relationship now but may be able to begin a relationship down the road, they could be worth waiting for. But if the person you’re seeing gives you the impression that they won’t be ready to DTR anytime soon, or maybe ever, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
“Listen to their language to determine if they ever will commit,” Anita Chlipala, dating and relationships expert, previously told Elite Daily. “If they say things like, ‘Looking for the X factor,’ or, ‘I know there’s a right person out there,’ or, ‘I am looking for a unicorn,’ or, ‘I’ll know it when I feel it,’ they might be emotionally unavailable.” If someone suggests that you’re not the one, it may be time to cut that one loose.
Find Out Whether They’re Willing To Set A Timeline Together
Just because you feel the right time to DTR is after six dates doesn’t mean that person you’re seeing is on the same page. It’s as unfair to rush someone into a relationship as it is to keep someone wondering whether you’ll ever commit. Conversation is key to determining what both your needs are, and you can’t know what the person you’re dating wants (or doesn’t want) unless you’re totally open and honest with them yourself.
If someone resists the relationship conversation, try explaining to them why you desire commitment. Once your needs are made clear, they might be more willing to explain their hesitation and perhaps even set a time to revisit the conversation.
“People have different timelines, so your date might not want to commit at the same time that you want to,” Chlipala pointed out, and that’s understandable. But the most important thing is knowing what you want, and if you’re dating a person who refuses to open up or keep an open mind, don’t feel obligated to compromise just to stay with them.
Suggest The Idea Of Seeing Other People
As much as you’d like to, you can’t force an unwilling person into a relationship. That will only create resentment and, eventually, end in disappointment. Perhaps the only thing worse than dating a person who won’t commit is being with a person who half-heartedly agrees to commit and then regrets it.
If the person you’re seeing doesn’t want a relationship, and they can’t see themselves changing their mind anytime soon, it might be time to suggest dating around. A person resistant to commit may just like the idea of seeing other people but, in reality, would rather be exclusive than see you on a date with someone else.
“If they’re dating other people, you should be, too,” said Chlipala. “It can help prevent being hyper-focused on one person and analyzing what they’re doing.” By giving that person space, they may realize what they’ll lose if they refuse to DTR: you. If not, then hopefully you’ll meet someone new who’s deserving of your time and company.
Waiting for a person to commit can be a real risk, especially if the person you’re pursuing is a lost cause. “People who are ‘avoidant-attached’ avoid closeness,” Chlipala explained, “and depending on their level of avoidance, end up jumping from one person to another without a real relationship.” If you want to avoid being breadcrumbed, it’s important to know what kind of chance you actually have changing this person’s mind and — more importantly — when it’s time to give up the chase and move on.
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