You know what really sucks? When someone you're dating leads you on. One day, they're totally into you and it seems as though you are well on your way to making it Facebook official. Then suddenly — poof — they're gone for a couple of days. Just when you think “OK, it's over,” they reappear like nothing happened. Hot and cold. Back and forth. It's enough to make anyone's head spin. If this sounds familiar, it's time to stop thinking with your heart and start looking long and hard at the signs he's stringing you along.
To help us decode this bipolar behavior, we called in dating and relationships expert Alessandra Conti, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City.
This is a very common problem in new relationships, but one that can be dealt with quickly if not totally avoided — if you're willing to acknowledge the clues. According to Conti, there are some common behaviors to keep an eye out for in your relationship if you're suspicious they may still be trying to keep their options open while still dating you.
Here are four major signs that your (not-so) significant other is actually hunting for greener pastures.
1. They Don't Make Plans In Advance
Who doesn't enjoy a bit of spontaneity in their relationship? However, if everything in your relationship is spontaneous, including when or if you will see them, that's not such a great sign. Planning in advance to spend time together is one of the biggest indications that your SO is serious about you. They're actively prioritizing and making time for you in their life, rather than waiting to see if it's convenient or staying available for anything better to come along first.
Conti warns that if the person you're dating is always opting for the last-minute hang, it's a major red flag: "This is most likely a man who doesn't value your time, and, ultimately, who only sees your presence in his life at the moment," she says.
2. They Frequently Break Plans At The Last Minute
We've all had to cancel on a date last minute; life happens, and it usually has bad timing. So if your SO has to cancel 15 minutes before they were supposed to be at your door, don't panic. But if their flakiness becomes a pattern, it's time to worry.
What this says is that while they are happy to plan time together, they are just as happy to break those plans if something better comes along. In many ways, this is worse than the last-minute texter, because this fool made you get out of bed and put on pants. Who needs that? Boy, bye.
3. If They Nope Out Anytime You Try To Define The Relationship
If the person you are dating tells you they aren't “looking for anything serious,” believe them. There may be the temptation to hope that it's just them playing it cool or that they will change their mind, but in reality what they are saying is, “You aren't Miss Right, you're Miss Right Now.”
Conti explains that people who are stringing you along love to use this phrase: "It allows them to have their cake and eat it, too; it's general enough so that you won't take it personally, yet it gets them off the hook for actually having to step up their behavior in the relationship.”
The natural progression of a relationship is that within a few months, they should communicate to you they have stopped dating other people and want to be exclusive with you, with little or no pressure from you. So if you're finding that they refuse to DTR, it's time to GTFO, unless you're happy with a casual, temporary hookup.
4. They Are Consistently Inconsistent
Nothing is more frustrating than dating someone who is hot and cold. One minute they are affectionate and attentive, and the next, distant and unresponsive. It's such a mindf*ck.
Consistency is the most important element in a relationship, according to Conti, and a lack of it is a sure sign that they're “keeping you warm until they find someone they like better.” So, while you may tell yourself they are sending you mixed signals, deep down you know what they are saying: They're stringing you along. It's up to you cut that cord.
Come on, girl. You know you deserve better.
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