“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
You are wondering what you should do when the man that you’d like to be in a steady relationship with says he’s not ready for such a commitment.
He says that he does “like” you , whatever that means. Quite a spectrum of possibilities there.
Assuming you’ve told him that you feel a deep attraction toward him and that he’s given you the “I like you, but…” treatment, I believe your options are fairly limited.
I present these below, along with some things I hope you don’t do.
- You can step away and give him the space and time to figure out his feelings for you. You could say, for example, “I want to be with you, but I can see that you’re not ready. So let’s take a break. If and when you are ready, let me know and we can talk about it.”
- Alternatively, you can engage in a purely platonic relationship with him (if you’re both agreeable to that) – meaning “friends only” with no maneuvering or manipulation on your part to change his mind or change the basis of the relationship.
- Don’t try to change his mind by demonstrating what a catch you are. If you do this, you are selling yourself short. If someone is telling you they don’t want what you want in terms of a relationship, then why continue to chase the wind? He’s telling you he’s not available for love. Believe him.
- Don’t put your life on hold hoping you’ll change his mind. Why waste your time on something that isn’t going to happen? There’s a big wide, virtual world out there. There are adventures to be had, people to meet, lots of opportunities for love and relationship just waiting for you – even during Covid times.
Mary Rizk, Transformative Coach – www.maryrizk.com
Crushes are fun! When you finally meet someone new that you jive with and that likes you back, it can feel like the stars have aligned and you are getting something good out of the hard work you have put in to dating. Until… he tells you he just is not ready for a relationship.
First, respect his honesty.
He did not have to be straight up with you, but instead he chose to be open and tell the truth. Even if it is painful to hear, he gets props for that.
Second, decide for yourself if you are okay with not dating him.
Can you be friends with this guy, or is he going to continue leaving you with wanting something more? If you are okay without being in a relationship with him, then it sounds like you have a pretty good deal!
However, if the potential of him dating someone else while you two are busy “liking” each other tears you apart, or if the idea of the two of you not being official soon eats at you constantly, give yourself permission to leave.
He is not going to change his mind, and you are setting yourself up to strive to be someone you are not.
He has essentially told you he likes you, but he does not like you enough to date you. In other words, the two of you do not fit together.
A “break up” can still hurt even when there was not an official relationship to begin with.
Treat yourself like you would at the end of any other relationship- take time to reflect, focus on self-care, and put yourself back out there when you are ready. You deserve to find someone who likes you AND wants to date you.
Samantha Ricard, MS, MFTC – www.ricardcounseling.com
Beginning relationships are fun. It’s fun to fall in love and to be in love. You might meet someone who makes you feel great about yourself when the attention is on you. You both like each other and have fun together; however he confides that, although he likes spending time with you, he doesn’t want to be in a relationship.
I encourage you to respect his honesty. He has set a boundary that he likes to be with you, but is not in a place to commit to being with you. It’s not your job to fix him or figure out why. I doubt he is trying to purposely hurt you.
You have two choices:
1. Stay the course.
You enjoy the time you have together and respect that you are not committed to one another. You aren’t even sure you want to be in a relationship right now either. You are able to live in the present and just want to focus on the time you have together.
2. Accept that this guy is not the one for you and move on, particularly if you are constantly questioning his feelings and wondering where he stands.
Respect where he is coming from and move toward acceptance. If you find yourself unhappy, unsure, and insecure he might just not be the right person for you.
If You Choose To Move On:
Identify How You Feel
Allow yourself to process through your feelings. You were having a great time and developing feelings for someone and now it’s over. Treat yourself with patience and kindness.
Your authentic self is a truth upon itself, independent from outside judgement.
The way you feel about yourself is what matters. You will find someone worthy of what you have to offer. It’s not worth your time to be with someone who doesn’t enhance your self worth.
Accept That It Was Not Meant To Be
As you move toward acceptance you can begin to shift your focus on engaging in activities that help you to be your best self. What do you love doing? What do you look forward to?
By creating a full and diversified life you will put yourself in a positive place where you can attract someone who is looking for the same thing.
Focus On Your Best Self
It’s important to look for a partner that is on the same page as you. You deserve a relationship with someone who feels the same. It’s more enjoyable being in a reciprocal relationship with someone who respects and cares for you.
The first step before beginning a healthy relationship is to ensure that you are healthy.
So much of my practice focuses on helping my clients develop more life balance and find joy in daily living. Do you engage in a variety of activities that bring fulfillment?
A relationship enhances a person’s life, but it is not the only thing there is.
A key to finding fulfilling love is to love yourself first. Fill your life with things that you enjoy and you will naturally put yourself in situations where you will find someone with the similar interests and a similar lifestyle.
Jessica Colarco, LCSW, PLLC – www.jessicacolarcolcsw.com
Human beings are indeed relational creatures who thrive on connection. However, each person is enveloped in different seasons and phases of life.
When connecting with another person relationally, it is important to understand that each person has a different level and need within a timeframe and season.
As a therapist, one of the more recurrent relationship obstacles I notice is a difference in wants. In dating and relationships, a woman may spend time with a man who is not ready for a committed, monogamous relationship, but communicates his enjoyment of her company. However, a woman may be ready for a committed relationship and signal a readiness for more commitment.
The obstacle comes when two people who enjoy each other’s company are not on the same page or even in the same book. She wants a commitment. He likes her but does not want a commitment.
In the case in which two people have separate visions for a time together, the following are power tips for relational success:
1. Put all the relational cards on the table.
Be willing to be clear, concise, and assertive with your feelings. People do not know what they do not know, and operating on assumptions is reckless. Have the conversation in a neutral location and be receptive to proposed possibilities.
If the outcome is to simply be friends, make the decision on whether the relationship will best suit you.
Reminder: Negative thought patterns unleash negative outcomes. Fill yourself with positive affirmations and uplifting self-talk prior to the conversation.
2. Enjoy the fruit of the fun, flirty friendship, and accept the things you cannot change.
Healthy friendships are welcome as long as strong boundaries are in place. One of the healthiest boundaries you can set is a time boundary. Manage your time with romantic interests well and managing emotions in like and love becomes easier.
If a commitment is off the table, open your mind to possibilities of other relationships or enjoying a single season.
While he may like you, his lack of readiness can not be changed by you. Allow yourself to have fun without expectation of anything more.
3. Simply walk away.
Walk away from potential and into purpose. If you want commitment, it may require walking away from potential and dating men who are aligned with your desires for a purpose partner.
Resentment and discontentment can fester when two people are not on the same page. The power of choice is always available especially when feelings run deep.
Know that you are not stuck or stranded under a mound of feelings.
Utilize the tips in this blog to assist you or a friend in making strong relationship decisions when there is a lack of clarity.
Joy McNeil, PhD, LPC, TFCBT – www.thewellingplace.com
When you find yourself in a situation where you really like a guy and he likes you but is not ready for a relationship, I offer you this advice.
First, continue liking him and being his friend, or going to social events with groups of people where he is included, but don’t hold your breath waiting for him.
I would never tell someone to wait around in hopes that something is going to happen.
If the guy is not ready, he is not ready. There isn’t much you can do about it but remain friends and continue on with your dating life. Meaning, if someone sets you up with another guy, go for it. If a guy asks you out, go out on that date.
Do not wait around for this guy that likes you but isn’t ready because you don’t know if he will ever be ready.
And, what if when he is ready he doesn’t choose you. You lose out on what could have been the right guy if you would have kept dating and not just waiting for this guy.
It doesn’t mean to blow this guy off, it just means you continue living your life and the right guy will show up….maybe it will be this guy, just don’t stop your life waiting to find out if he’s the one or not!
Nada Hogan L.Ac, Dipl.Om, M.Om – www.nadahogan.com
Dishonesty with ourselves about what we really need is one of the biggest mistakes we can make in our relationships. As human beings we are wired for connection. We have primary needs that must be met in our relationships- both romantic and otherwise. It might be a need for safety, love, support or trust. These are needs. They are non-negotiable.
If you have found yourself stuck in ‘non-relationship relationship’ limbo take time to do the following:
1. Identify what it is that you really need.
Make a list of 3-5 primary needs. Consider how important these are. If you are having a hard time identifying them for yourself maybe picture a loved one and identify what you would hope to provide for them.
2. Consider what it would look like for your needs to be met.
If you have a need for safety, are there specific things that would help you feel safe? What would this look like? Identify how you would know you were in a relationship that met your needs. This might include feelings of peace or assurance that you matter.
3. Set boundaries around these needs.
List out what is okay or not okay for you within your relationships. Be honest with yourself here. When your boundaries are violated consider what action steps you plan on taking.
4. Identify the stories you might be telling yourself around why your needs aren’t being met.
These might be things like: He just needs more time to heal from past relationships. I just need to be more patient. It doesn’t really matter to me that he hasn’t committed because I’m not really the commitment type anyway. I know he cares about me and that has to be enough for now.
What story are you telling yourself that is preventing you from getting those deeper needs met? Take time to reflect on these. It might be helpful to recruit a safe loved one or therapist who can help you identify and process through your stories.
5. If he is unwilling to meet your needs, consider what steps you will take to create safety for yourself.
This might be literally telling him “Even though I care about you, I matter too much to myself to wait for someone who is unwilling or unable to give me what I need (or to commit).” Or “I understand you may need time to heal from past relationships. I wish you the best in that process, but I won’t be able to be a part of it.” Know your worth. Know what you deserve. Be willing to walk away.
6. Ask yourself if your emotional boundaries are in line with your physical boundaries?
If he is not emotionally committed I’m likely doing unnecessary harm if I’m physically committing to him. Again, check in with your stories. It may be easy to tell yourself a story that you ‘really don’t care’ or that being physical with him/her isn’t doing you any harm. It’s easy to fall into this trap. Stay mindful.
Boundaries create clarity.
Knowing your worth and your needs allow you to take action. You matter. Healthy potential partners will respect your needs and your boundaries. They will show up or they will recognize that they cannot give you what you need. If you are in a ‘non-relationship relationship’ and need further support, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist who can help you navigate through the process.
Jenae Lindsey, MS – www.jenaelindsey.com
Finding out guy you like, likes you too – wow… it’s lovely when the romantic interest is mutual! Then he says, I’m not ready for a relationship. That can kinda feel like emotional whiplash!
So what do you do?
First, start with yourself.
Ask what you want for yourself right now.
- Are you looking for a full on relationship yourself?
- Are you interested in dating in a more casual way?
- How important is it to you to have an exclusive relationship with someone at all? With this someone in particular?
- What benefit do you imagine you will gain from having a relationship as opposed to a friend with a mutual crush?
When we have romantic feelings about someone, it often feels like we Must Do Something About It.
And usually that means jumping into a Real Relationship. I encourage you to take time and step back. Reconsider if that’s what you really need and want right now.
Because here’s the thing, if he says he’s not ready for a relationship, the best thing you can do is take him at his word.
There are many possible reasons he may not be ready for one.
He’s recently broken up with someone, he might know he’s preoccupied with other projects, he’s has a history of relationships going poorly, he doesn’t like the expectation of exclusivity, he’s exploring moving for a job, etc.
The reasons why he’s not ready for a relationship really don’t matter.
At best, he’s an emotionally intelligent person who has good reasons to say this to you. At worst, he has some serious emotional issues and avoiding relationships is his M.O.
Either way, trying to convince him to start a relationship when he’s saying he’s not ready is a recipe for heart ache. You’re better off finding a way to enjoy his company and maintain the friendship for now.
If that advice seems too much and you still want to try, then you need to have a real conversation with him about it.
Approach him with curiosity and an open mind. Your goal is to develop a shared understanding of why he’s not ready – not convince him that he is.
Ask him about his past experiences with relationships. Ask him about what he liked and what he didn’t like. Ask him if there’s any middle ground between “friend” and “relationship” he might be ready for.
Perhaps, between your own self-reflection and an open conversation with him, you might find a way to be romantically connected that works for both of you.
And if you can’t, move on. Date someone else. Remain friends. At some point, if it’s truly meant to be, he will decide he’s ready for a relationship and maybe even one with you.
Kathy G Slaughter, LCSW – www.soaringheartcounseling.com
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