I'm pretty sure every woman in her 20s has, at one point or another, dated a person who was clearly unprepared for love. Despite all of the red flags they don't love you popping up left and right, you tell yourself that things can change. That things can improve. That they might not love you now, but they can — and will — in the future. Right?
TBH, I largely hold Gilmore Girls responsible for this problem. Throughout Lorelai and Rory's relationships, we watched various characters (be they teenage boys, grown men, or the Gilmore girls themselves) who were definitely not ready for love somehow transform into perfect partners, almost magically. And if the good people of Stars Hollow could find love in bad boys, FWBs, and non-committal coffee shop owners, why couldn't we?
Unfortunately, most real-life love stories play out a little differently. The bad boys never clean up their acts and the friends with benefits don't develop real feelings. So which red flags should you be looking for that suggest a person really isn't in love with you (and never, ever will be)? I turned to dating and relationship coach Monica Parikh of School of Love NYC to find out. Here are six major signs that you're dating a person who won't ever love you back, so you can move onto finding a partner who will...
1. They Say They're Not Ready For A Relationship
"The biggest red flag is always in what people will tell you about themselves," Parikh tells Elite Daily. "As women, we tend not to believe what people tell us about themselves because we think we can change them. But a lot of people will say, 'I'm not looking for a relationship, I'm looking for a situation-ship or a friend with benefits.'"
So true! I'm not sure why, but so many of us (myself included) are obsessed with the idea of changing or "rescuing" other people — I like to call it A Walk to Remember syndrome. But if someone's telling you point-blank that they are not ready for love or looking for a relationship, nine times out of 10, they're really not.
"When people tell you about themselves, you have to listen," advises Parikh.
2. They Don't Love Themselves
I firmly believe that you have to build a relationship with yourself before you can dive into a serious relationship with another person, and a key component of that is learning to love yourself. After all, if you can't practice self-love, how on earth are you going to be able to love a whole other human being? And, on the flip side, how are you going to be able to give and receive love from a person who clearly doesn't love himself or herself? The answer is simple: You can't.
"You have to assess how much a person loves themselves," says Parikh. "Because until a person loves themselves, they can't love you."
3. They Don't Take Care Of Themselves
I once had a friend who refused to date a guy if he'd never had a pet, a plant, or a younger sibling. She claimed that there was no way he could be a reliable boyfriend if he'd never had to care for another living being in some way, shape, or form — which, while mildly bonkers, actually makes a bit of sense.
Beyond the way your could-be SO treats a cactus, though, you have to look at how well they treat themselves. In addition to practicing self-love, a person has to practice self-care before they're able to become a loving partner and care for someone else. If they're unable to take care of themselves, they're likely not ready take on the responsibility of a relationship.
"It's all tied together," Parikh explains. "What [your partner] can be for you is only a reflection of what they can be for themselves... And if someone is shlepping it on their couch all of the time, his [or her] stamina in the sack isn't going to be too hot, either."
4. Your Sex Life Is Subpar
"Don't forget about sex — sex is so, so important," says Parikh.
Physical intimacy is a huge component of a loving relationship, and if you're not having fulfilling sex with a person (or not having enough sex in general), it warrants a conversation, as it's a sign that something might be wrong elsewhere.
"No woman should have to settle for nonexistent or non-orgasmic sex," Parikh elaborates.
5. They Lack Longstanding Relationships In Other Areas Of Their Life
Another definite red flag? You've noticed that this person doesn't seem to have any well-established relationships in other areas of his or her life — with their family, college roommates, co-workers, whomever.
"If a person doesn't have any longstanding relationships, it could mean they don't have the skills for intimacy," says Parikh.
6. They Don't Make An Effort To Understand What You Need
All of that said, it's important to remember that people do have the ability to change. And even if a person lacked the qualities of a reliable and loving partner in the past, it doesn't mean that they can't mature and develop those traits in the future.
Parikh says there are three major indicators that a person can, and will, turn things around. "One: They're willing to engage in a conversation [about what needs to change]," she says. "Two: [They exhibit] a desire to hear your feelings and understand what you need as a woman... And three: [They have] a desire to roll up their sleeves and actually do the work."
If they don't make an effort to understand your wants and needs, or they don't show a willingness to address your past relationship issues (through therapy, religious counseling, etc.), it's time to move on. As all of your friends are surely telling you, you deserve more.
For more tips on what to look out for in a partner (including a 25-point checklist!), check out the School of Love NYC.
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