7 subtle signs a man loves you but doesn’t see you as the one, according to psychology

You know that deep down he loves you, but is it enough?

That’s often the question on our minds when we’re busy trying to decipher a man’s true feelings.

The reality is that if you question whether you’re “the one”, chances are something about the way he behaves is leaving you feeling insecure.

It could just be a gut feeling that something isn’t right.

Sometimes, a guy can still have love for you but may not see you as someone he wants to spend his life with.

So let’s look at the subtle signs to watch out for.

1) He is not commitment-ready

I talk a lot about this in relationship articles, and for good reason.

Research has clearly shown that having a higher degree of readiness is associated with a higher commitment to a relationship.

In the words of the studies author, Professor Kenneth Tan, “We see from the research that timing is important in that it has an influence on boosting — or undermining — relationship commitment.”

Think of it this way:

If you’re out shopping for something in particular, you’re far more likely to make a purchase than if you’re just browsing.

A man who is relationship-ready is willing to buy.

A guy who isn’t ready for commitment is that picky customer who just wants to try on 1001 things first.

Some key signs that a man isn’t ready to settle down include:

  • He tells you he isn’t looking for anything serious
  • He has a long history of casual flings
  • His lifestyle is still centered around being free and single (e.g. partying non-stop or always prioritizing hanging with his friends)
  • He can blow hot and cold with you

2) He has future plans that clearly don’t involve you

Aka, your goals and life paths are not heading in the same direction.

Let’s say he’s always talked about solo interrailing around Europe or moving to the other side of the country to pursue his career.

Even after you fall in love, he still makes no mention of how he’s going to accommodate you into these plans.

Seeing a future together means discussing hypothetical parts of that future together. If he doesn’t then it sounds as though he isn’t anticipating the relationship will last.

Life coach Kali Rogers says it could suggest you are a stop-gap.

 “If you have been together for at least … a year and a half and have not talked about future plans for progressing the relationship, that’s not a good sign. If your partner is not discussing future endeavors with you, chances are they aren’t completely invested for the long haul.”

When you bring up long-term plans, he may even change the subject or seem uncomfortable.

When a man completely avoids discussing the future with you it shows he is not thinking too far ahead.

3) He still prioritizes himself

He can still love you and be quite selfish.

But it shows you that he isn’t in a place where he is willing to put you or the relationship first.

It’s more than okay to consider our own needs in a relationship. Love certainly shouldn’t turn us into martyrs.

But the problem arises when he consistently prioritizes his needs over yours. That suggests he isn’t giving your relationship the value and status it deserves.

He may not consider your feelings or make decisions without consulting you.

Perhaps he suits himself, and if you don’t like it, it’s tough luck. You rarely feel special or like you come top of his list.

4) You haven’t met any of his inner circle

You’re yet to meet any of his family. He doesn’t introduce you to his closest friends.

They call it pocketing.

As psychologist and life coach Ana Jovanovic explains:

“Pocketing is a situation where a person you’re dating avoids or hesitates to introduce you to their friends, family or other people they know, in-person or on social media, even though you’ve been going out for a while. Your relationship seems non-existent to the public eye.”

Depending on how long you’ve been together, it’s a red flag, and here’s why:

If you are in love, you would expect that your lives should start to merge eventually.

When you envisage a future together, you start to incorporate the other person into all aspects of your life:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work and colleagues
  • Hobbies and interests

When a man wants to keep you separate, you might start to wonder why. It could signal that he sees you as temporary.

5) He doesn’t do “relationship drama”

warning signs of a toxic relationship you might be missing 7 subtle signs a man loves you but doesn't see you as the one, according to psychology

Let’s face it, none of us want drama in our relationship. Well, unless you’re a bit toxic, but that’s a whole other topic.

What I’m referring to here are those perfectly natural disagreements or challenges that couples will inevitably face at some point.

They are bound to happen whenever we form intimate connections and are vulnerable enough to open up to one another.

In fact, studies have suggested conflict can be healthy for relationships, as explained by researcher and professor, Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, in Psychology Today:

“Conflict provides an opportunity for making change — if both partners are up for it. Conflict gives you a chance to work on the problems in your relationship…Conflict is a great example of how our thoughts, and then our communication, are influenced by our emotions. When you search for the deeper reasons for conflict, you can address core issues in your relationship, rather than focusing on surface issues.”

It’s important that couples feel safe enough to share their honest thoughts and feelings without fear they will be cast aside.

Sometimes guys will label perfectly legitimate questions or concerns as “drama”.

What they really mean is that they don’t want any hassle whatsoever. As long as you never rock the boat, all is okay.

If you want to know where things are going, that’s not “drama”. If you have some concerns about certain behavior patterns in the relationship, that’s not “drama”.

Healthy conflict resolution is essential to a relationship going the distance.

If he doesn’t want to deal with the bad and only sticks around for the good, his commitment is shaky.

He may love you, but it’s fair-weather love that can’t survive more stormy seas.

6) You have fun together but he struggles to truly open up

People tend to only make themselves truly emotionally available when they are open to a relationship.

When it comes to emotionally unavailable guys, sometimes it can be unconscious and they don’t realize they are shutting themselves off.

But often it’s also a strategy to stop themselves from getting too close because ultimately they don’t want to.

You may have a great time together, and you may even discuss deep topics, but is he emotionally opening up?

If you feel like he has his guard up, don’t ignore it.

Because if he keeps his distance emotionally, then he may not be fully investing in the relationship.

7) He hates labels

True story:

When we first met, my husband told me he wasn’t sure if he “believed in monogamy”.

He had just left a relationship because he was uncomfortable about how serious things were getting and he didn’t feel ready. He wasn’t sure if he ever would be.

I made it clear to him that, although I don’t judge anyone else’s lifestyle choices, polyamory would never work for me.

We were just friends for quite a while before he flipped his entire viewpoint.

In the end, it was him who started chasing me for commitment. Now we’re happily married in a monogamous marriage.

My point is:

Not being invested in a relationship can often manifest as avoidance of commitment and putting any labels on things.

Because you often find that when someone truly wants in, labels don’t matter so much to them.

But even when they have reservations, they aren’t necessarily about you. They are often about the stage that he is at in his own life.

I don’t believe that I was “the one” and his previous girlfriend wasn’t. It was realistically more practical than that.

I maintained clear boundaries about my needs and he conveniently grew up in the meantime.

I think a lot of it had to do with timing.

The problem isn’t that you’re not “the one”

Here’s the thing:

If he loves you, he loves you. Often the real issue isn’t that he doesn’t love you enough.

The problem is our unrealistic expectations of what love alone might guarantee.

We like to believe that if love is strong enough it can conquer all, but sadly that’s not the case.

Love doesn’t always equate to a successful relationship. That demands far more elements, which, sadly, aren’t always there.

As frustrating as it can be, if emotional maturity, relationship readiness, shared goals and values, and healthy communication are missing — all the love in the world still won’t be enough.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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