6 Signs Your Partner Sees You As A Fling & Nothing More, According To Experts
Want to know one of my least favorite things about dating? The stall out. In some ways, it’s more frustrating and mystifying than being ghosted. Because, on the one hand, things with the person you're dating seem great. You talk regularly, you see each other often, you have fun together, and yet the momentum in the relationship is... well, there is no momentum. That's what I call the stall out. And usually, it's a situation where, if you really take a closer look at your dynamic, you'll start noticing the telltale signs your partner sees you as a fling all over the place. Then suddenly, the reason your relationship seems to be going nowhere begins to make a lot more sense.
While you can't force a relationship to evolve, you don't need to feel powerless in the situation, either. Knowledge is power, because it puts you back in control of your destiny. Maybe what you learn isn't what you want to hear, but you get to decide how to proceed; whether to just relax and enjoy things while they last, or move on and seek out someone who is on the same page as you. Either way, it becomes your choice. But the first step is to know what to look out for here. Here's how someone who sees you as a fling will behave, according to experts.
1They never talk about the future with you.
One of the clearest signs that someone is serious about you is how enthusiastic they are to talk about their imagined future with you. Yes, that can mean the big stuff, but also just little things, like vacations they’d like to take with you or things they'd like to experience with you (outside of the bedroom, that is). So as Brittaney Young, a relationship expert and online life coach at Blush explains, if they aren't talking about the future with you, they aren't taking you seriously.
“Now we're not talking about a relationship that's only three days in,” says Young. “I mean one that's established and has been going strong for a while. If you guys are a year in and he/she doesn't openly discuss their dreams, goals, or game plans with you, it's time to start assessing why that is.”
2They haven't introduced you to friends of family.
Another clear indication of how invested they are in your relationship is how much they have tried to integrate you into their lives. As matchmaking and dating expert Stef Safran warns, "if there is always an excuse about meeting people in their life and it's just the two of you, [sic: while] that doesn't sound like they want you to get connected to the people they are.”
Young agrees. She says if you're in an established relationship but they still aren’t introducing you to their loved ones, then “something is off.” Again, she says that timing is an important factor here because “some folks won't introduce a significant other to their family until they know things are serious, but most people tend to be more lax when it comes to introducing a partner to their friends.” So, she adds, “if there's been no mention of them to you or vice versa after some months in, this probably isn't a good sign.”
3They don't make plans with you very far in advance.
In the same way that someone not wanting to discuss the future with you is a warning sign, a tendency to avoiding making any plans far in advance is a sign that they suspect they won’t be in your life for the long run. So, Young says that if their answer to invitations for future events are along of the lines of, "we'll see," they may not be taking you very seriously. “They may be hesitating to commit to future plans because they don't anticipate the relationship going very far,” she explains.
Also, Safran says if they habitually only make plans with you last minute, it’s a red flag. “Last minute plans show a lack of desire and more of an impulse desire to see you," she cautions, adding, "If you can't get them to commit to anything in advance, it may be because they want to see their other options first.”
4Your dates are all some variation on Netflix and Chill.
Listen, I get it, we all love the occasional Netflix and chill night. But if that's basically all that you do together, especially early on in the relationship, Young says that’s a problem. As she explains, “movie watching is one of few times when we're expected to not converse, and talking is one of the easiest ways to get to know about a person." She adds, “So if this particular hang out method is the only or main form of interaction you both have, it'll be tougher to develop a stronger intimacy between you.”
5Your connection is mostly physical.
That brings us to the “chill” portion of Netflix and Chill. Ask yourself if you have a connection outside of the physical chemistry. If the answer is no, then there's a good chance that this is just a temporary fling. As Young explains, that means there’s “not a ton of connecting on a mental, emotional, or spiritual level.”
And while physical touch can bring you closer to someone, “alone [it’s] not enough to create the kind of bond that we find in more serious relationships," says Young. She adds, "After a while, it gets old, and like my mom used to say, ‘the physical stuff may grab their attention, but it's not enough to make 'em stay.’"
6They avoid talking about the relationship.
If you're still not sure how your partner feels about the relationship, the best way to find out is just to be direct and ask them. If they are open and willing to talk about it, you're heading towards a better place. However, if they avoid the topic at all costs, then it’s probably a sign that they think you won't want to hear what they have to say.
While that's not ideal, I agree with Young when she says, “I like a straight shooter. I don't have the time or energy to guess about anyone's interests or intentions.” And the fact is that if someone is serious with you, they are going to be willing to talk about it, even in if it's not their normal M.O.
“I've found that when most individuals meet someone they can potentially see themselves going the distance with, it creates a desire in them to get ready,” says Young. “Part of this includes having those discussions and figuring out the details so that they can snatch you up before someone else does.”
What to do if they only think of you as a fling.
Recognizing that your partner may not be as invested in the relationship is just the first step. Now it's time to reclaim some control and figure out what you want to do about that. Safran says that if you’re still in the dating phase with this person, remember that, “dating is just that, ‘dating.’ It does not mean that you are in it for the long haul. You need to not assume that everyone you start dating will turn into a commitment or something long-term.” And she says that if that’s the case, “Continue to date other people. Don't stop looking to meet people just because you met someone you like. Be fair and have a conversation with the person that you are dating that ‘I really like you but I want to date other people until we decide if this is going to become more serious.’”
However, if the relationship has progressed past the initial dating phase but has stalled out, Young says it’s time to set some boundaries. “Start by outlining what you want and need. Remember, if you don't have a plan for you, you'll wind up waiting around for someone else to fit you into theirs. So it's better you do some self discovery now which will later help you discern whether or not the person you're involved with fits into your plans.”
Once you’ve set your own boundaries and expectations, Young says to be prepare for how you will handle things if your partner isn't willing to cooperate or compromise. “You get to choose how you will handle such outcomes beforehand, and therein lies your power,” explains Young. She adds “This isn't being controlling or bossy. Establishing the way you desire to be treated is a form of self-love.”
Finally (and this part is really important), Young says to give yourself a deadline. “The reason for setting a deadline is for accountability. If we don't set a time frame, we may find ourselves sitting around for years... and years ... and years on end waiting on results.” Again, this will help you reclaim the power in a situation where it can be easy to feel totally powerless. Because, ultimately, the only thing you truly have control over is yourself and your behavior.
So, while you can't make someone enter into a serious relationship, you can and should take yourself, your needs, your desires, and your happiness very seriously. Because, like RuPaul says, “If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Amen.
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