A lot of people must face the fact that the person they think is right for them may not return the feeling. No matter what stage your relationship is in up until this point, if you do not share the same view as your potential partner, you will hit an impasse.
Read on to figure out if this relationship is worth pursuing or if you should leave them to find someone else who is ready to commit to you.
Signs They Don't Want a Relationship
People will explicitly say, "I don't want a relationship," yet this clear statement often gets glossed over. Additionally, experts say that if you're always the one to initiate plans; or maybe they've met your friends and family but you haven't met theirs; or if you're constantly wondering where you stand in your partnership, you are probably in a one-sided situation. In other words, these are all common signs that he does not want a relationship (or maybe he does, but just not with you).
Perhaps most telling, however, is whether or not your partner is making an effort to spend time with you. In today's fast-paced, technologically-driven world, face time is a premium. "If your significant other isn't interested in spending time with you then they are probably not looking for a relationship," says relationship expert Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, M.S., L.C.P.C. "If they don't show that interest, even if they don't tell you explicitly, they probably aren't interested."
We're all busy, and if your significant other isn't willing to make time for you, their priorities may be elsewhere.
Why Don't They Want a Relationship?
They Want to Keep Their Options Open: Some people are just at a stage in their lives where they want to meet new people and casually date. Perhaps they're still getting over a breakup and are just dipping their toes into the dating pool. Or, they prefer to prioritize their career and other interests over a romantic relationship at the moment, which is understandable too—there are many aspects that make up a fulfilling life in addition to a committed relationship, like friends, family, and personal interests like travel and other pursuits that lead to self-discovery and fulfillment.
They're Emotionally Unavailable: Painful memories of failed relationships may cloud the judgment of someone in the present. They may also worry about causing disappointment or being unable to keep up with the type of relationship you are looking for. "Sometimes people aren't interested in relationships because they have had an insecure attachment in the past. Being in a relationship may not be safe. Commitment is too scary. So they may come close, but when push comes to shove, they don't take the plunge," says Slatkin. According to Slatkin, an individual needs the self-awareness to recognize when they are truly ready to be in a real relationship, which includes being willing to work through past hurts and insecurities.
They May Want a Relationship, Just Not With You: The truth is, your partner may be emotionally stable and open to a commitment, though just not with you. "Sometimes people are also so self-absorbed that the idea of giving to someone else is foreign and not on their radar," says Slatkin. Most mature, emotionally intelligent adults are capable of deciding what they are willing and not willing to do, and no amount of convincing from an outside party is going to change that.
How to Move Forward
If what you want is a committed relationship, you've communicated this to your partner and you two still aren't aligned, only you can decide whether your current arrangement works for you or not.
In an interview with Well+Good, Linda Carroll, LMFT, notes that continuing to participate might mean you have unresolved issues you need to work through. In this case, speaking with a licensed mental health professional may help. Other options include considering putting yourself in the other person's shoes: If you aren't willing to commit to another person fully, from this perspective, would this situation still be attractive to you? asks Carroll. And finally, this situation may instead be an opportunity to work on self-compassion. Explains Carroll, "Ask yourself, what am I doing to myself by being in this?” And ultimately, “Am I holding on to a fantasy?”