10 Clear Signs He’s Not Ready For A Relationship

He says he likes you. He says he wants to be friends. But despite the innuendos and flirting he stops just short of making any real commitment. What’s going on here?

couple not ready for a relationship

#1 Hot And Cold Behavior

His hot and cold behavior is the manifestation of the internal back and forth of his feelings.

Sure, it could be a manipulative effort to keep you hooked while he explores all his options, but no matter which way you cut it, it is still a sign he’s on the fence and not ready for a relationship.

Hot and cold behavior can also be a sign of insecurity rather than a juggling act. This is where your personal history and knowledge of your ex comes into play.

If he has a tendency to get overwhelmed with doubt and fear, then being direct might be too much for him to handle. Consequently, hot and cold behavior might be a result of the balancing he feels he has to achieve in order to look neither desperate or indifferent.

#2 Words Over Actions

skype conversation

An ex who wants something more than what they currently have access to will attempt to push the narrative forward. Mile by mile or inch by inch.

This can be subtle depending on how smooth he is.

Examples of this include escalating contact from impersonal (text/email) to more personal media (phone/meeting), or attempting to erect a mutual routine.

The reverse is also true. If he’s not ready for a relationship he will push back against any attempt to add structure to your connection. While he may light up at the prospect of spending time with you, the moment he feels the walls of responsibility start to close in he will retreat and occasionally vanish.

Actions speak far louder than words, and this is doubly true in a breakup scenario. Bear in mind that even if he doesn’t want a relationship, there’s a chance he probably doesn’t want to see you move on either. This can lead to a situation where you risk being led on if you judge him solely by what he says and not what he actually does.

And what he does, if he doesn’t want a relationship, usually amounts to nothing much.

#3 He Avoids Negotiation

negotiating wants

So long as your connection requires no negotiation and personal sacrifice things tend to go just great. But the minute you attempt to negotiate any aspect of your routine or connection he pulls a disappearing act.

We’re not talking personal needs here either. We’re talking wants, something way further down on the priority list.

Long term relationship health revolves around negotiating wants and preserving needs. If he has no intention of finding a comfortable middle ground with you on any aspect of your communal routine, then what he is showing you is how half-hearted his willingness to make things work really is.

If you want to know how committed he is to the idea of a relationship, ask yourself how willing he is to finding a middle ground.

#4 He Shows No Initiative

Be wary of any situation where things only ever get done because you make sure they do.

Most men who have a relationship in mind won’t leave things to chance. Depending on how secure they are as individuals they may or may not display confidence, but regardless of this they will nevertheless want to be present. They will want to be there and help shape events.

A guy who shows initiative is also showing that he is invested in building something out of your connection and that he has an expectation.

Don’t confuse the initiative of a man who only initiates under certain circumstances, such as a Saturday-night fling. This isn’t initiative in a relationship sense, but opportunism.

By initiative I’m talking about taking charge of the small things; the nitty-gritty details of everyday life. It is his way of saying “let’s make this work–together”.

#5 Communication Is Lacking Or Unpredictable

man communicating with computer

It is true that character plays a part when it comes to communication. But generally speaking, a man who is looking for a relationship will be quick to respond to any contact, and will take time out of his day to do so. You are a priority, and he will make sure that you know you are.

Also, by communication I’m not just talkin about how often and how quickly he replies, but in what manner.

Does his interest level seem to waver back and forth?

Does his tone change on an daily basis?

Is your gut instinct leaving you with the dreadful but potentially unfounded sensation that something was off?

Don’t discount your mind’s ability to decode red flags in his communication and body language (if applicable) that your conscious mind doesn’t pick up, because most of what is communicated is nonverbal.

#6 There’s No Conflict

conflict in relationships

Relationship conflict is the necessary side-effect of caring enough to try and confront issues and grow in the same direction.

Ironically, lack of conflict can be a symptom of a budding relationship that is unable to find a way to grow rather than a sign of a perfect match.

I have no real intention of adding more insecurity and doubt into what is probably already a confusing situation, but a counter-intuitive sign he is not ready for a relationship might be that there are no overt signs of friction.

Lack of friction usually just means one or both partners are swallowing their resentment, hurt or anger to make things work. But sooner or later that pile of resentment will topple over and take the relationship down with it if it is not confronted.

#7 It’s What He Doesn’t Say

There is a dance to the buildup and demise of relationships that can make decoding intent difficult.

In order to mask our intentions and protect ourselves from rejection, we tend to communicate indirectly. This can lead to confusion and situations where we essentially lead ourselves on.

A hint is not a promise, and words are just words. Only action is a reliable way of tracking a budding relationship. If he hasn’t made any reference to a future together, that might be because he has no vision of one.

#8 Your Gut instinct Tells You So

false faces man

Hunches are more than just hunches. They are your subconscious brain screaming warnings at you.

If you have a feeling that he is not being honest with you about his long term intentions, I would urge you to investigate where this feeling is coming from. There is almost always a root cause that sparks from your interpretation of his body language or tone.

#9 He Finds Ways To Waste Time

If he isn’t ready to commit he will constantly find ways to delay making any sort of long term decision that involves both of you. And believe me when I say that there’s always a believable reason. He will have plenty of those lined up like dominos.

I’m not saying that a man in love is necessarily a man in a hurry to commit (this is often a red flag), but that there will be an inescapable sense of progression.

If he is interested you can expect him to be comfortable with increased trust, co-responsibility and complicitness, regardless of your status as a couple.

#10 He Has Many Secret Gardens

relationship red flag

If a man hides aspects of his life, or seems hellbent on separating you from important slices of them, chances are he has something to hide.

Is he loathe to get you to meet his friends? Does he object to heading out in public with you (where you are likely to bump into people he knows)? Does he get nervous when you suggest getting together with mutual acquaintances?

Sometimes the truth is right in front of you, and the most obvious answer is the right one. Either he doesn’t want you to see what he’s up to behind your back, or he doesn’t want what is behind your back to see you. Yikes.

You could put it down to jealousy, possessiveness or insecurity rather than playing games, but is this really something acceptable to you in the long term?

About the author

James Nelmondo

James "the Unknown" Nelmondo is a self-styled relationship enthusiast, former infant, part-time dumper and full-time dumpee.

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