5 Signs Someone Wants a Relationship but Is Scared

There might be hope.

Updated 11/16/19
Westend61 / Getty Images  

Trying to figure out if someone wants to be in a relationship with you can have its challenges. You may try to dissect their every word and spend time interpreting their every move in order to understand how they actually feel about you and if they want to commit to you. Fortunately, there are five key signs that can help to clue you in that someone wants a relationship with you but is scared to take that leap.

1. They Have Deep Conversations With You But Then Pull Away 

A classic sign that someone is into you but is too afraid to admit it is that they open up to you only to pull away soon after. For instance, if you have deep conversations about your pasts, your families, and your hopes and dreams for the future, they're showing you that they're able to be vulnerable around you and that they want to confide in you. However, when someone is scared of being in a relationship, they’ll often try to offset these moments of emotional intimacy by pulling away and acting more distant and aloof soon after—only to come back to you and start the process all over again. If your potential partner tends to emotionally invest in you and your connection only to seemingly retreat soon after, it’s clear that this person wants something more with you but is too scared to admit it.

2. They've Mentioned They Have Been Hurt in the Past

Is your potential partner just getting out of a serious relationship? Have they told you that they were blindsided, hurt, or betrayed by an ex? In many instances, someone may want to be in a relationship with you but is too scared or worried to pursue anyone new because of a negative experience from the past. Breakups can be emotional roller coasters, and it can be hard to move on from an ex and risk ending up brokenhearted once again. And while this person may be truly interested in having something more with you and starting a real relationship, they may be scared and scarred by what they went through with a previous partner. They may see you as a potential partner at some point in the future, but in this moment they are not ready for anything new or serious and they are frightened to take that major step.

date in the city
 Getty Images/Rafael Graf/EyeEm

3. They Hang Out With You on Non-Dates

When someone wants a relationship with you but is too scared, they’ll look to spend time with you in ways that don’t seem like actual dates. For instance, instead of taking the lead and asking you out to dinner and drinks, they may hint that they’ll be in your neighborhood and were thinking of checking out a spot in your area if you happen to be around that night. Rather than deliberately and definitively asking you out, they’ll find roundabout ways to try to spend more time with you without having to put him or herself out there and go on an official date. That way, they don’t have to risk rejection or ridicule and can still spend time with you, which is what they’d like to ultimately do. People who are scared will often resort to these types of non-date tactics in order to hang out with you without any additional pressure.

4. They Take Things Slowly

Relationships can develop at different paces, but if you notice that your potential partner is taking things very slowly, this can sometimes be an indicator that they're scared to jump into a relationship with you. For example, while you may be used to having the exclusivity talk after two or three months of dating, you may have already spent six months with this person and still not know exactly where you stand with them and where your growing connection is going. If things are moving at a glacial pace, this is a common approach of people who are hesitant about getting serious too soon, and they'll keep going on dates with you without giving you any clear indicator that they want something more. If your relationship is currently on the slow track, it’s up to you to decide if you want to stick things out with them or move on to someone else.

5. They're Vague About the Future 

When someone is scared of being in a relationship, they’ll often choose to dodge or deflect questions about a future with you and remain more detached. For instance, while you may want to plan a weekend getaway with them for a few months down the road, they’ll give you hints that they’re interested in this idea but won’t settle on a specific date. When someone shows interest in a future with you but won’t take that next step, it’s clear that he or she is too scared to be in a relationship and make that kind of major commitment to you at this point.

Related Stories