It’s a dating quandary many single people can relate to. You’ve found someone great and you’re hoping they’ll stick around for the long run.
But you’ve been dating for a few months now and you’re still not sure how they feel about you.
While you’re ready to delete your dating apps, book a bunch of cute weekend staycations and start your wedding inspiration board on Pinterest, they seem to go mysteriously silent on WhatsApp when you try to pin down their intentions.
While there’s nothing wrong with a casual arrangement, things can get messy if you and the person you’re dating aren’t on the same page about commitment.
Pay attention and look for the signs though, as you’ll often be able to tell when someone isn’t ready for a relationship.
1. They don’t talk about a future with you
A sign of a healthy relationship is making plans together for the future, or at the very least, dating someone who factors you into their life decisions.
“Not talking about a future with you is a big sign that someone will never commit,” stresses relationship expert Margaret Bankole. “They might dance around the subject, they might give breadcrumbs when you ask, but they will never raise it. Watch out too for people who give false hope about a future, but never go in to specifics. ”
Basically, if the person you’re falling for is always talking about solo travel or moving to another city without you, it could be a key sign that you aren’t a major priority in their life.
2. You haven’t met their friends or family
It’s normal to wait a beat before introducing a potential partner to your inner circle, but if it’s been several months and you still haven’t met anyone else in their life, it might not be a good a sign.
As Bankole explains: “When someone wants you in their lives on a long-term basis, they will happily introduce you to their family and friends, and they will be proud to do so. Taking this step also shows that they have nothing to hide.
“If you’ve been dating someone for a year, and they have not done basic introductions, this is a clear sign that they will never commit, and they are stringing you along and keeping you a secret.”
3. They cancel on you all the time
Do they constantly bail on you last-minute, because they’re hungover, or something better came along? Someone who is committed to a future relationship will make time to see you, even when it’s not totally convenient for them.
“Cancelling on you all the time means that you are an option until something comes along, and if they are cancelling frequently, you are probably one of a few options” warns Bankole.
4. They only seem interested in sex
You had a tough day at work and needed a shoulder to cry on, but they didn’t pick up the phone. You needed someone to help you move furniture, but they were already busy. Yet, when you text a string of suggestive emojis, they reply right away.
Bankole says this behaviour is a “no-brainer” when it comes to spotting a commitment-phobe. “Many get so caught up in the sex, they fail to examine what the relationship is based on. If there is little conversation, or the conversation is always sexually driven, it’s safe to say it’s purely physical.”
5. They avoid the relationship conversation
Whenever you try to bring up the excruciating “so where is this going?” chat, they expertly redirect the conversation in another direction.
Or, they palm you off with a vague declaration of their affections (“You know I think you’re great”) that doesn’t give you any specific information about where you stand.
“If you have to instigate the relationship conversation, or if you feel like you are dragging it along, you probably are,” Bankole points out. “When a person wants to be in a relationship with you, they have no qualms in saying it, or in becoming exclusive.”
6. They’re still lurking on dating apps
If your current fling is still chatting with potential matches on Hinge, Bumble or Tinder, while they know you’re interested in a relationship with them, it’s a pretty major red flag.
“Lurking on dating apps is basically keeping your options open,” says Bankole. “If the person you’re seeing is keeping their options open, they likely don’t want to commit to you.”
She believes that “when something is right, it feels right both ways” – and that if you’re ready to commit, you will be “so into the person, that the last thing you want to do is keep looking.”
If you’ve been nodding your head along with these points, Bankole says it’s probably a sign that your romance is destined to burn out. But try not to spiral into a negative hole of self-doubt if that’s the case, as there are plenty more commitment-friendly fish in the sea.