Sometimes it's hard to gauge text messages. A lot of stuff gets lost over SMS text airwaves — tone, sarcasm, body language — and these things are all vital components of conversation. For instance, when a guy calls you babe over text, does that mean he wants to be your boyfriend? When your crush sends you a winking emoji, does that mean they’re only looking for sex? It’s not always easy to tell whether someone wants to date you or just sleep with you, and while texts can tell you a lot, they can’t tell you everything.
According to author and self-love activist Susan Ball, a person who’s not interested in dating you (but is def interested in sleeping with you) will constantly make references to sex, both through texts and in person. As Ball previously explained to Elite Daily, "If they are not talking to you about anything other than sex or making advances on you that are not playful, but outright sexual, they are only interested in one thing.” Having a friend with benefits can be pretty awesome, but if you’re looking to do more than hook up, then here are some signs the person you’re talking to probably isn’t on the same page.
They’re Intense From The Start
While it may seem like a good sign when someone tries to get your relationship to progress quickly, it’s also possible that person has ulterior motives. If someone is calling you babe, wanting to introduce you to their parents, and talking about the future before you’ve even been on a third date, then chances are they’re more interested in getting you into the bedroom than actually bringing you over to their parents’ house. As Ball said, if you hear things like, "I've never met anyone like you, baby. We are going to be together forever. I love you," too soon after you start seeing someone, then it is definitely "time to bounce."
Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, agreed, adding that someone who’s looking for a relationship is likely more willing to take things slow. “When someone is not just interested in sex, they will go at the pace that you feel comfortable with, especially if it's slower than their own when it comes to anything physical,” she told Elite Daily. But if your date only has sex on the brain, then they’re likely going to be intense with you from the get-go.
They Always Want To Stay In
A person who’s looking for a partner will want to go out on dates, but if someone only ever texts you to hang out at your place or theirs, then they’re probs more interested in getting intimate than impressing you. As Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, previously told Elite Daily, "One indicator is that they text you and only want to hang at their place or your place. Typically, they never send a text that says, 'Would you like to go out for dinner?'"
Even if your date is on a budget and unable to afford expensive dinners, Dorell said someone who wants to date you will make an effort to do something that doesn’t involve close proximity to a bed. “They will usually take you places away from your home because they are looking to get to know you and put some effort in,” she said. “If all your dates are more like ‘hang out at my house’ invitations, that indicates someone who is comfortable putting in minimal effort to get to know you and making things as convenient for them as possible, usually to get you into bed!”
They Send Late-Night Texts
Even more telling that what someone texts you is when (and how often) they text you. According to Kali Rogers, dating expert and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, “Casual flings are repeatedly marked by little to no communication throughout the week, last-minute plans, group hangs, and not intermingling with close friends or family members.” If someone ghosts you all week only to hit you up on the weekends, then you can probably figure out where you land on their list of priorities.
The timestamp of the text can also give you a hint about what they really want. "One hint is they text you at odd hours of the day or night and say 'Hey, you wanna hang out?' or something similar," Dr. Brown previously explained. "Not exactly romantic, and it is likely they just want sex."
They Only Have Surface-Level Convos
If someone is interested in more than sex, then they’ll make sure you know they’re interested in you. When a date is reluctant to have anything beyond superficial conversations, then it’s usually a sign they’re only looking for a superficial relationship. As Dorell previously said, “[If] they are half-listening to what you say and may try to interrupt you by touching you or changing the subject, especially if the conversation veers into more emotionally vulnerable territory,” then they’re likely not interested in anything beyond sleeping with you.
Claudia Cox, relationship coach and founder of Text Weapon, agreed with Dorell, adding that convos will likely revolve around a few key topics if someone only wants to hook up. "Are they only interested in superficial conversations that revolve around your looks, your next hookup, or your sexual preferences? If it feels like they are only telling you what you want to hear, and not showing their true selves, then proceed with care,” she previously told Elite Daily.
They Bring Up Sex Early & Often
As Ball said, someone who’s only looking to get down and dirty won’t be shy when it comes to the topic of sex. While someone who’s seeking a relationship might be hesitant to mention intimacy right away — not wanting to scare you off or make you uncomfortable — a person who only wants to hook up will dive right into the subject. As founder of Rapport Relationships Jennifer Rhodes previously told Elite Daily, “Anyone who brings up sex in the first two seconds of dating is not serious.”
Even if a date isn’t specifically talking about having sex with you, a person who’s quick to tell you about their sexual past and preferences is usually trying to send a sign. As Andrea Amour, founder and dating coach at UpDate Coaching, told Elite Daily, “[Telling you about their] 'sexcapades' or a crazy orgy stories don't scream future husband or wife material, so if someone is storytelling about kinky stuff, it's probably a good sign they don't see you as ‘future’ material.”
They Can’t Keep Their Hands Off Of You
It may be flattering when the person you’re seeing is all about PDA, but getting handsy can also be a sign they don’t want to get serious. According to Rogers, if "you're out together, and they constantly wants to kiss you, rub you, grope you, and tell you they can't wait to get all naked," then they’re likely just counting down the seconds until you get it on. And when that’s all they can think about, then they’re missing out on actually getting to know you.
Physical body language is a great way to tell someone you’re interested in them, such as sitting next to someone, touching their arm or hand, or holding eye contact. But if someone is doing too much of this too soon — or never not touching you — then you can usually conclude their interest is 100% physical. “When someone's doing a lot of these, plus touching more intimate body parts like your legs or your face, it suggests your date is looking for something more sooner rather than later,” Amour previously explained.
They Say They’re Not Looking For Anything Serious
Believe it or not, people who aren’t interested in getting into a relationship will usually tell you from the start — and while you may think you can change their mind, you usually can’t. “Most people are really clear about their expectations getting into something new,” Rogers said. “It's not uncommon for someone to say, 'I'm not looking for anything serious,' on a first date.” If you are looking for something serious (or at least something more than sex), then you likely want to get out before you get hurt.
There’s nothing wrong with having a relationship based on sex if that’s what you’re into right now. But if you’re hoping for something more, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for these very telling signs.
Susan Ball, author and self-love activist
Dr. Gary Brown, couples therapist
Claudia Cox, relationship coach and founder of Text Weapon
Jennifer Rhodes, founder of Rapport Relationships
Andrea Amour, founder and dating coach at UpDate Coaching
Kali Rogers, dating expert and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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