Getting to know someone new can be really fun and exciting. You get to learn all about them, including their likes, dislikes, goals, background, and the things you have in common. (Similar tastes in Netflix shows is key, people!) But nothing stings quite like catching feelings for someone, only to recognize the behaviors that mean someone’s not ready to date. I reached out to several dating experts to learn exactly what those behaviors look like, and how you can spot them.
“When you first meet someone, especially if you meet them on an app, you typically assume they’re ready to date, but that isn’t always the case,” Julie Spira, online dating expert, and CEO at Cyber-Dating Expert, tells us. “As a dating coach, I’ve seen singles tell me they’re ready and are even anxious to meet someone very soon. The problem is, sometimes they haven’t done the inner work, or aren’t over an ex, which makes them unavailable. If you find that someone talks a lot about past relationships, it’s a sign they might not be ready to start brand new.”
If the person you’re seeing continues to dwell on the past, that’s probably not a solid foundation on which to build a future together. Keep an eye out for the following behaviors. If you realize you might not be on the same page, it might be time to sit down and have a serious conversation about how to align your goals, and whether or not that’s something you even want.
1.They Seem Almost Too Eager To DTR.
This sign can be tricky to spot, because usually, when someone is enthusiastic about dating you, it’s because, well, they really want to date you. And that’s great! But someone who might not be ready to date might actually seem a little bit too anxious to put a label on it. If a person you’ve been on approximately two dates with already wants to label you their partner, they can’t stop texting you, or they claim they get anxious when they’re away from you, being in a relationship might be more about the anxiety of “filling a role” than about them actually wanting to make a connection.
“Most people want to fall in love and be happy, but if you’re coming from a place of neediness or desperation to fill the title of ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ with someone new, your anxiety can get the best of you, and prevent you from actually being ready for healthy love,” she explains. If someone is trying to rush things, that could mean they aren’t ready to date.
2. They’re Flakey AF.
Dating is all about having fun, getting to know each other, and seeing where things between you might go. But in order for that to happen, you both have to put in the same amount of effort. When someone isn’t ready to date, they’ll probably slack in this arena. “When you’re spending time together, he doesn’t seem to put in much effort,” Lori Salkin, SawYouatSinai.com Matchmaker, and Dating Coach tells us. “It’s the same date again and again, or you just end up hanging out at one of your places. He only asks you out ‘to hang out’ last minute. And whenever he asks you out or you think he’s asking you on a date, he only uses the language ‘hang out’ instead of ‘go out’ when making plans with you. And he doesn’t confirm a plan until super last minute.”
Sound familiar? If so, try to remember that the person dating you should know how lucky they are! If they don’t put in the effort to show you that they care by planning dates in advance or texting when they say they will, then you might be better off finding someone who will.
3. Things Are Still Complicated Between Them And Their Ex.
Every breakup is different. Some exes break up and still maintain a healthy friendship. Others are forced to hang out in social settings because they’re part of the same friend group. Nevertheless, if someone ended things with their partner and they still make plans with them on a regular basis, they might not be ready to commit to a new partner.
Even more of a red flag? When the person you’re going on dates with still lives with their ex. “I can’t stress enough how common this issue is and how it sabotages the chances of starting a great relationship,” Spira says. “Often a couple will break up, and for financial reasons, they’ll sometimes still live under the same roof, but not [sleep] in the same bed. Since the cost of housing has skyrocketed, it’s hard to date someone new [when you’re still] sharing keys to the house, but not the heart,” she says.
4. They Aren’t Completely Over Their Ex.
If you can tell that the person you’re seeing hasn’t completely moved on from their ex, they probably aren’t ready to date just yet, Spira says. This will look like regular conversations with you about their previous relationship, comparisons between you and their ex, or anecdotes about special things they did or moments they had with them that you just really don’t need to hear about.
“Often the guilt of a breakup, especially when one person isn’t taking it well or hasn’t moved on, takes center stage,” Spira says. “This creates an unhealthy love triangle, of you, your new partner, and the ex.”
5. They’re Insecure.
Now, almost everyone has insecurities, and having insecurities doesn’t mean you can’t be in a relationship. But, if someone is constantly putting themselves down or talking about how “out of their league” you are, they probably aren’t ready to date. There’s a reason people always say you’ve got to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else, and while cliches about love don’t often ring true, this one really can.
“If they say you’re ‘too good,’ it probably means they’re feeling insecure about where they are,” life coach Nina Rubin tells us.
If the person you’re seeing exhibits any of these behaviors and they make you feel uncomfortable, Rubin recommends taking action. “Don’t stick around waiting for them to be ready,” she explains. “Keep dating other people and know that timing is real. If you’re meant to get (back) together, you will. Trust the feelings you both have. Tell them that you’re developing feelings and you want them to be reciprocated. Ask: Would it be better to take some time apart and connect in a few months to see where you both are?”
Remember: You deserve to be with someone who can be just as invested in a relationship as you, so don’t settle for anything less.
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