You’re at that stage in life where you finally have it together. You have the career of your dreams. Your friend circle is fortified and fabulous. But you want a partner in crime—not to complete you—but to add to the already-fulfilling life that you’ve spent years creating.
You’ve also done the casual dating circuit, and while it’s been fun, you’re through with playing the Carrie Bradshaw role. You don’t want to waste time on could-be’s or would-be’s—you want the real deal. You are ready to love, travel, and just be with the love of your life already.
If this is you, then allow us to arm you with ten warning signs that the person you’re dating is not relationship material so that you aren’t wasting more than a New York minute (we can’t help another Sex and the City reference) on someone who isn’t in it for the long haul.
1) He says as much
This one should be obvious but you’d be surprised how many women tend to hold on to the belief that a potential partner will come around to commitment. It doesn’t have to be marriage per se (although it certainly can be if that’s what you want), but also an exclusive relationship.
If he flat out tells you that he’s not wired for a relationship but that he loves spending time with you, then get a clue and cut him off. Better this way, then coming to this realization a year down the road when things will be a lot messier.
Listen—and we mean really listen—to what he is telling you—and believe him. The last thing you want to do is spin what he’s saying into something you think could have potential.
You will only be fooling yourself and wasting the time you promised yourself you wouldn’t do.
2) He doesn’t see reliability as a prerequisite
Don’t chalk this character flaw up to an “Oh, sometimes he just loses track of time,” or “He is a really busy person and does her best.”
He might always have a really good excuse. But it’s just that: it’s always something.
If he were truly serious about you, he would understand the importance of not coming off as someone who can’t be counted on.
We’re not saying that he has to be a perfectionist when it comes to punctuality, but routinely being 15 or 20 minutes late or canceling at the last minute shows that he doesn’t respect your time—and in essence—you.
Better to punch out of this relationship red flag and clock out for good.
3) The future is always out there somewhere
Maybe he’s saying all the right things. He wants to be in a relationship and he wants to be in a relationship with you.
But that’s as far as it goes.
He doesn’t make plans. It’s always you who’s initiating spending time together. He goes along with whatever you have in mind and the two of you have the best time, but the end of the date is usually left open-ended.
Maybe you’ve been dating for months and you know his sister is getting married in a few months. While he’s made mention of that fact, he isn’t talking about taking you and including you in the family celebrations.
In short, you have no real notion that the relationship is going forward and the feeling is getting more and more unsettling.
If this is the case, it sounds like it’s time for the talk to find out whether or not it’s time to to call it a day and move on.
4) Exclusivity is elusive
You’ve been dating for months and he’s made no mention of wanting to be exclusive with you. For your part, you aren’t seeing anyone else and you’re giving them all the “let it be me and you against the world” vibes.
You also see that he hasn’t deleted any of his dating apps and a bit of detective work on your end shows they’ve been active on it. So it’s not like they just haven’t gotten around to getting rid of it.
We hate to break it to you, but it seems like he’s nowhere as serious about a relationship as you are and he’s keeping their options open.
Time for the “Where is this going?” talk. If the answer isn’t concrete and sincere, then it’s time for you to maybe get back to being active on the app.
5) He’s rehashing because he’s on the rebound
He’s proven that they’re relationship material—but to the person that came before you.
If he just got out of a long-term relationship or marriage and you can sense that he’s not fully over it, this could mean that he’s not ready.
You might expect him to mention their ex here and there (it’s natural), but if it turns into whole conversations with him venting and you listening, well then you may have delegated the role of his therapist.
So, unless you’re charging them by the hour, we say it’s time to get out of denial and to ditch the pro bono services for good.
6) He doesn’t have a sense of direction
We’re not talking about the driving kind. It’s that he doesn’t have any real direction—or ambition for that matter—in his life.
You’re not saying that you have to be something of a power couple, per se (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting that). But he has to have goals that he’s going for and it seems that he’s not living up to his potential.
As attracted as you are to him, you may well be on different paths and it might be time to keep going down your own route. You need to be with someone who is more aligned to the kind of life you have in mind.
Love is a heart thing sure, but there has to be a meeting of the minds there, too.
7) It’s all about him…and then about him some more
Are the conversations one-sided for the most part? Is he pretty selfish in bed?
A person who doesn’t seem to understand—or be interested in—the art of the give and take in a relationship, is not relationship material.
While he may have seemed enthralled by you in the beginning and seemed to hang on your every word, once the novelty wore off, one subject started coming up again and again: them.
The good thing about this sign is that it tends to crop up relatively early and it will be the easiest to spot before you get too invested.
8) It can also go the other way
Maybe you have the opposite problem. He could be someone who second guesses themselves—a lot.
If he’s of the wishy-washy variety or finds it difficult to stick to decisions, then this most likely isn’t the kind of person you want to be with for the long haul.
This could come in the form of his saying he’s ready to meet your friends, but then goes on it. It’s not that he’s unreliable: he’s actually really nervous. You can even see the beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
A healthy amount of confidence is essential (not to mention sexy) in a relationship. You deserve to have someone who can step up for you.
9) He’s more into his phone than he is into you
We’ve all been guilty of glancing at our smartphones on a date against our better judgment.
But it’s certainly not something we would make a habit of doing, especially with someone we want to develop a lasting bond with.
If he’s constantly (or even consistently) checking his phone especially as you’re both trying to get to know each other, this is a red flag.
If he’s taking calls (unless they’re extremely important and he has no choice because it’s an emergency or something) and having conversations with people right in front of you—well what can we say except run far away because this one is far from a keeper.
If he’s already doing this now, it’s pretty likely that him being distracted or not invested in the relationship is going to be the main attraction.
10) He doesn’t carry on the conversation
Whether you’re texting or talking on the phone, it always starts off great.
You’re telling him about your day, the argument you had with your mom, the funny thing your dog did. He’s appropriately sympathetic and laughs on cue…but then there’s a lag.
He doesn’t hold up his end of the conversation.
So you fill in the gaps with the great time you had with your girlfriend the other night. But after a bit, it’s the same thing.
The point is he has to be able to put in the effort for the communication to be effective. In the beginning you can dismiss the awkward silences as shyness, but there has to come a point when he’s comfortable enough to keep it going.
Otherwise the conversation—and the relationship—will dry up before it has a chance of going somewhere.
If you see these signs…
Don’t lose hope. In the wise words of Monica Gellar: “Dating is hard!”
Recognizing the signs will equip you with a radar to pick up on any red flags so that you aren’t wasting your time on the wrong “relationship.”
The right one will step up. And he might even be a world-class conversationalist.