In order to keep my own self-esteem from plummeting during the course of writing this article, I will occasionally take refuge in humor — you’ve been warned (I may be male, but most of these signs cut both ways). Nobody likes the idea of being rejected or neglected, nevertheless it remains the ever-present peril of almost every romantic escapade. Take heart, dear reader, it get’s easier with time. I should know, it happens to me constantly. Ouch.
This article is the product of some research in the fields of neuro-linguistics and psychology, as well as a healthy dose of personal experience. As a word of warning, not all of these signs can always be interpreted as good-night and good-luck. But if the majority of these behaviors ring a bell, it might be time to just bite the bullet and try directness instead.
You’re currently dating
There’s a lot I’m presuming here, and the one thing I don’t suggest you do, is measure the amount of time he’s spending you in absolute terms. What we are looking for are patterns. A downward spiral of availability can be a sign that he is no longer prioritizing you as he once did. Bear in mind that this will also depend on the romantic scenario which unites you:
Dating: The spice of a new potential romantic flirt often catalyzes an abnormal level of initial interest that will naturally normalize itself over time. As the hunt draws to a close, so too generally do the peaks of insecurity and excitement that can spur a very high benchmark of shared time. This is — I daresay — a natural state of affairs. The negative flip-side is when:
- Communication becomes sporadic or stops entirely for periods of time.
- He stops talking about his feelings, even indirectly.
- He becomes abrupt and defensive.
- He may begin to postpone or cancel dates without giving you a reason why, or offering to reschedule (those distinctions are important, don’t assume that cancelling a date is a sign he isn’t interested, but if he cares he’ll usually attempt to make it up to you).
Dating and oscillating interest often go hand-in-hand, sometimes all it takes to dull interest is the conviction that the flirt will never bloom into love because you are both waiting for stronger signals, and neither of you are willing to take a leap of faith. Frankly, I’d rather take a direct hit than languish in my room hoping time answers the question for me.
You’re already in a relationship
Almost everyone I have spoken to admits that when it comes to feeling content in a relationship (in the long-term), two major criteria need to be met:
- The feeling that the relationship itself is secure.
- The ability to diffuse insecurity and co-dependence by also indulging in individuality (career, friends, hobbies e.t.c).
The result, especially in less established relationships can lead to bouts of push-and-pull. If we observe the attention of our significant other wane slightly, even if it is obvious why (time to focus on the job — for instance), we can begin to feel insecure. We then begin to push harder for attention, and we all know how that goes. In short, insecurity about the state of the relationship is a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle. If you are relatively confident (at least logically) that any lack of attention has a reason, try kicking back, doing your thing and balancing the equation.
If there has been a less than obvious reason for a progressive lack of attention, there may be a problem. Additional warning signs include:
- He reacts apathetically to disagreements (he no longer cares enough to try).
- He no longer seems to be self-conscious of they way you judge him (both physically and mentally).
- Lack of transparency, communication and generally a great deal of shoulder shrugging.
- Signs of depression.
Some of these traits are simply innate and are revealed in time (nobody is perfect), but if there is a definite progressive worsening trend, and many of these behaviors are worsening. Well, and take this with a grain of salt, he might just not be into you as he once was. This does not mean it’s over, however.
Time is the only real resource of value we have
Time is the only measurement that I personally feel is accurate when predicting and diagnosing matters of the heart — everything else is often manipulated and subjective. Giving our time is a non-refundable action, not an easily uttered word. It’s a switch, either it’s on or it’s off. The quantity of time given freely is important, but is fleeting and illusory because it is all to easy to fall into routine rather than love. Ultimately it is up to you to determine the value and quality of the time you are given. A man who is unwilling or seemingly incapable of giving you his time — frankly — is simply not head over heels for you, and that’s the essence of my cold, hard, subjective truth.