Have you seen the movie, He’s Just Not That Into You?
If you have, it’s pretty frustrating to watch Ginnifer Goodwin’s character spend almost 2 hours chasing after men who clearly show her zero interest. If you haven’t seen it, I envy you and I’m about to save you 2 hours of your life.
Either way, whether you see it in a sub-par rom com or your best friend spending the whole night on the edge of her barstool and then dashes to the door with the excitement of Cinderella heading to the ball once she receives a text from Kyle at 1:52am, it’s far easier to know when something isn’t moving towards a fairy tale ending if you’re on the outside looking in.
From the inside though, it isn’t that simple.
We all want to feel special, to feel wanted, to feel loved. That is a basic human need, and that need can be so strong that it results in us projecting our idea of what we want onto a person who doesn’t want the same thing.
Do you want to know the clear-cut signs he doesn’t want a relationship with you?
I’m going to give you the 15 BIG ones to look out for.
Even if you see one or more of these signs in your man, all is not lost. I’m then going to give you 8 things to do about it (because you can definitely turn the situation around).
Let’s get started!
15 Signs He Doesn’t Want a Relationship
1. You haven’t met his close friends or family members
It’s normal for it to take some time before you decide to take that next step and introduce each other to those you’re closest to in your lives, and it’s important to feel confident in the foundation of the relationship before either of you meet the parents for the first time.
It’s also normal to want to get the opinion of your friends and family members if you’re considering entering a serious relationship with someone. Not only do you want the validation that this person gets along with those you love, but it’s also a clear sign that the relationship is moving in the right direction if you feel excited to show them off.
If you haven’t met any of his friends or family, and he changes the subject or makes excuses when you bring it up, that is a sign he is not ready or willing to move things forward with you.
2. He is unwilling to make long term plans
When you meet someone you could see a future with, it makes you excited for the future. With that excitement comes the desire to fill that future with adventures, romance and fun. If you don’t see a future with someone, you don’t want to plan for it.
It’s as simple as that.
If he’s resistant to plan a trip together or to agree to be your date for a future event, it’s probably because he’s feeling uncertain about whether or not you’ll still be in each other’s lives. He may give noncommittal answers, or suggest waiting until the date is a bit closer before you set anything in stone.
3. He’s not acting like your hero
A sure-fire sign that a guy wants a relationship with you is when he wants to step up to the plate for you. He protects you from the big and little things in life, provides you emotional support, and acts like your rock.
In other words, he acts like your hero.
I don’t mean an action hero like Thor, but an everyday hero who provides you something no other man can.
Unfortunately, when he isn’t doing any of that, it’s a pretty clear sign that he doesn’t want a relationship with you right now.
There’s actually a new theory in relationship psychology that goes to the heart of why men want to step up for some women but not others.
It’s called the hero instinct.
According to the hero instinct, men have a biological drive to live a life full of meaning, to provide for those he cares about, and the desire to earn respect from those around him.
And this drive is amplified in their romantic relationships.
James Bauer is the relationship expert who first coined the term. Click here to watch his excellent video about the hero instinct.
The interesting thing is that you can actually trigger the hero instinct in your guy.
There are words you can say, phrases you can use, and little requests you can make to trigger this very natural instinct in him.
I don’t often buy into popular new concepts in psychology or recommend videos. But if you want your guy to throw himself into your relationship, I think learning about the hero instinct can make all the difference.
4. He’s emotionally unavailable
Getting him to open up to you is like pulling teeth. Your conversations feel one-sided and his contributions shallow, like you’re wading in the depths and he’s refusing to jump in.
You may have been spending time together for months, but you still feel like you haven’t gotten to know him or connect with him on a deeper level.
It seems like he’s not willing to take down his walls, even when it’s just the two of you together. And no, that time he teared up during Brady’s last Patriots game doesn’t count.
5. You’re the one putting in all the effort
If your text message conversations look more blue than the 2020 electoral map and you find yourself constantly being the one to initiate seeing each other, it’s probably because there’s an imbalance of interest levels.
There’s nothing wrong with making the first move or enjoying being the one to make the plans in a relationship, but there needs to be a give and take.
The amount of effort he puts in is a big indicator of the amount of interest he has for you.
If he wants to see you or talk to you, he would reach out.
6. Plans are often canceled
If he’s not willing to commit to Tuesday night drinks, he’s probably not willing to commit to you.
Even when plans are managed to be made, they’re far too often rescheduled or just cancelled all together. His excuses might be vague, like he’s “not feeling great” or “something came up at work”, and he doesn’t come up with any alternative solution or rain check.
The only time flakiness has a place in a solid relationship is if he’s bringing you a pastry with your morning coffee.
7. He’s hot and cold
One week things are feeling good. He’s been texting you, asking about your day and even sending a flirty snap or two.
Then the weekend comes and it’s radio silence. Your last question remains unanswered and you find yourself repeatedly checking your messages for that text bubble that never comes.
A couple of days or even a week go by with no contact and then one morning you wake up to a text from him and it’s right back to how it was before.
With no explanation beyond maybe a “things have been crazy” tossed out there, you’re left racking your brain trying to figure out if it was anything you did or said.
Typically when guys go MIA like this, it’s because you’re not their top priority. Whether he’s been pursuing other romantic options or simply spending time with his friends, it’s a strong indication that he’s focused on what he wants and when he wants it, and definitely not on a relationship with you.
8. He avoids discussing your relationship status, or shuts it down altogether
When the topic of relationships comes up, he gets visibly uncomfortable or tries to change the subject.
Or, he might express that he “doesn’t like labels,” bring up a bad experience in a past relationship, or simply tell you he isn’t ready to have that type of conversation yet.
In some cases, he may be completely straightforward and tell you he’s not looking for a relationship right now.
Of course, this is a very direct sign he’s not interested but hey, better to talk the talk when he won’t walk the walk.
9. Your physical relationship is stronger than your emotional one
Maybe you feel you have great chemistry. You feel connected to him and you’ve had intimate moments together that give you hope for a commitment., But think back to when those moments have occurred.
Were most, or maybe all, of those moments triggered by time spent together in the bedroom or a result of a kiss or physical touch?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have a strong physical connection as well as an emotional one. But, if the physical connection is all your relationship consists of, it’s because it’s all he’s able, or willing, to offer at this time.
10. You don’t go out on real dates
When you spend time with him, it’s usually late at night, when he happens to be in your neighborhood, or when you drag your friends across town to the bar he said he would end up at.
Maybe you rarely spend time together outside of one of your apartments, and the time spent inside of the apartments isn’t spent cooking together or having a game night.
Instead, it usually consists of being in the bedroom, having a drink on the couch, or watching TV together.
He doesn’t take you out to dinner or go out of his way to plan something for the two of you, and it feels like you only see him when it’s convenient for him, times when he doesn’t need to put in extra effort.
11. He doesn’t try to really get to know you
Sure, he could list your favorite TV shows (probably from those Netflix & Chill “dates” mentioned above), and knows what you do for work and how much you hate your boss.
Maybe he knows your coffee order and has met a couple of your friends, but when it comes to the more personal details of your life, he doesn’t ever really ask.
If you’re interested in dating someone, you’re interested in who they are. What makes them excited, what makes them scared. You want to know about their family, where they came from and where they want to go.
If he doesn’t seem intrigued in getting to know you beyond the surface details of your life it’s probably because he doesn’t care about deepening the connection you have.
12. He hasn’t deleted his dating profiles
If he was ready to commit and to move forward in a relationship, he wouldn’t be keeping his options open. If the apps are still downloaded on his phone, or your friends have been seeing his profile pop up during their Sunday-night swipes, that’s a clear sign he’s not ready for commitment.
He may blow off your questions about it by saying he forgot it was still up or that he never bothers to check it, but the bottom line is, if he’s unwilling to completely remove the apps, he’s unwilling to completely remove himself from the dating pool.
13. He treats you differently in public and social settings
When it’s just the two of you in bed together or hanging out in one of your apartments, does he sometimes feel like a different person?
He might be affectionate when it’s just the two of you, kissing your forehead or cuddling you, but if you find yourselves at the same party or around mutual friends, you can sense a shift.
While there can be understandable reasons that your partner would act differently in public than in private, if it feels like he is actively trying to create distance from you or doesn’t want people to know the extent of what’s been going on with you, that’s a red flag.
14. He breadcrumbs you
Let Hansel and Gretel be a lesson for you, trying to follow breadcrumbs is going to lead to disaster.
Breadcrumbing is when someone communicates with a scattering of messages or social media interactions, “crumbs”, designed to maintain just enough connection and interest to keep them as an option.
If he feels you may be getting ready to move on, he’ll send a flirtatious text to draw you back in, without having to exert too much effort. He isn’t pursuing a romantic connection with you, but wants to ensure you don’t break contact completely.
15. He doesn’t make an effort to be involved with your life and interests
Just like it’s a red flag if he doesn’t want to involve you in his life, it’s a red flag if he doesn’t make the effort to be involved in yours.
If it’s always you being the one to head over to his neighborhood or to meet up at the bar where he and his friends are hanging out. If you’re showing an unrequited interest in his hobbies, life and passions, it is because he doesn’t care to have a spot in your life, and isn’t curious about finding how he could fit inside it.
When you’re feeling excited about a future with someone, recognizing that they aren’t experiencing that same optimism and excitement is a tough pill to swallow.
Swallow it anyway. Wash it down with a glass of Pinot Grigio.
As heartbreaking as it can be to accept that you haven’t been treated the way you thought they would treat you if they’re catching feelings, or that you’ve been putting in more than you’re getting out, it will be far more painful down the line if you continue to try to convince yourself things could magically change and allow your feelings to deepen.
With acceptance comes power.
It’s natural to feel helpless if you find yourself falling for someone who doesn’t want the same things as you but, while we can’t change how someone feels or what type of relationship they’re ready for, it is important to focus on what you do have control over.
You have control over your communication. Over your boundaries. You have control over how you present yourself.
There is no magic spell for commitment (if there was, do you really think Leonardo DiCaprio would be dating his 26th twenty-something-year-old model?), but continue reading for actionable advice on what you can do with this newfound knowledge.
He doesn’t want a relationship with you? 8 things you can do about it
1. Trigger his hero instinct
Men and women are different and we want different things from a relationship.
What do you think drives him as a man? What does he want from a relationship with you?
You may think that men are all about money, sex, food, sports, and power.
Sure, those things all come into play at times. But I think there is a deeper truth that few women are aware of.
Men are actually driven less by those external things above and more by how you make them feel about themselves.
Above all else men want to feel essential to the woman in his life.
This doesn’t mean you have to act clingy and overload him with attention. What it does mean is that you need to make him feel that he is providing you something that no other man can.
In other words, he needs to feel like your hero.
I mentioned the hero instinct above. It’s a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology that’s generating a lot of buzz at the moment.
The simple truth is men want to be your hero. And if you want your relationship to succeed, you need to let him be one.
How do you trigger the hero instinct in your guy?
The best thing you can do is watch this excellent free video by relationship psychologist James Bauer.
He outlines the things you can say or do to make him feel like he’s your hero.
Some ideas are game changes. When it comes to relationships, I think this is one of them.
Click here to watch James’ video about the hero instinct. It’s 100% free and there are no strings attached.
2. Be direct with him
Be honest with him about what you’re looking for.
This doesn’t mean you need to give him an ultimatum, or force a timeline on him. Simply be open with him about where you are in your life and what you want out of a relationship at this time.
Many people are fearful of having these types of conversations because they hold the limiting belief that being open about what you want will come off as needy or putting too much pressure on them, which doesn’t have to be the case.
Telling someone who you’ve been spending your time with that you’re in a place right now where you’re ready for a relationship is just being honest, and showing confidence and self-awareness.
By bringing this up, you’re also giving him the opportunity to be honest about where he’s at. Pro tip: if he completely shuts down and changes the subject after you say this, you now know where he’s at.
3. Respect what he wants
Just as you’d want him to respect your needs, extend that same respect to him. Meaning, if he says he doesn’t want a relationship, believe him.
Don’t try to change him. Or try to change yourself.
Don’t try to “fix” him. Don’t try to “break his walls down.”
Trying to convince him will only push him away and burn you out.
It is never your responsibility to make a man ready to commit.
4. Set boundaries and maintain them
Think about what would need to change in this relationship dynamic in order for it to feel more secure to you. What role do you play in that dynamic? What can you control to make it better?
Maybe you only see him late at night, you’re feeling like a booty call, and want him to put in effort to spend quality time with you. When his text rolls in at 12am, you can tell him:
“I want to spend time with you, but I’m not going to come over this late. We could do lunch or dinner another time though!”
Most importantly, maintain those boundaries (https://yourholisticpsychologist.com/boundaries-the-ultimate-life-hack/). Even if that text rolls in after a night out.
If we want others to respect our boundaries, we must respect them too.
5. Make yourself less available
Stop being the one to text him first, or the one to initiate plans. Not only will this help you feel less drained by the effort you’re putting in, but it will create the space for him to have the opportunity to start being the one to take initiative.
He might be used to you being the one to reach out first, or expect you’ll end up at his apartment at the end of the night, so he doesn’t need to do much.
Not only will this force him to reevaluate what he may have been taking for granted, it’ll also create an air of mystery around you. He’ll inevitably start to wonder what you’re doing instead of reaching out to him, and, more importantly, who you’re doing it with.
6. Keep your options open
Now that you have clarity on what your needs and expectations are, remind yourself that this man is not the only one who can offer you this.
If this person you’ve been spending your time with is keeping his options open, why shouldn’t you?
Download a dating app, go out for dinner with someone you’ve matched with. Yeah, you probably won’t meet the one for you on your first date, but it can serve as a necessary reminder that there are people out there who want the same things you do.
7. Express your expectations and give him time
If you know there are certain things that need to happen in order for you to continue spending time together, communicate that to him. Again, you can do this in a non-demanding or emotional way.
Simply let him know that you can’t be with someone who isn’t ready to move forward with you, that you respect that he isn’t ready for that right now, and you are going to take a step back so that you can give both of you the opportunity to have the type of relationships you want.
By not getting angry at him, or clingy, and handling this in a mature and confident way, he may start to reflect on what he could lose, and what he wants for the future as well.
8. Focus on yourself
All the energy that you’ve been putting into furthering this relationship can now be turned inwards. Focus on what makes you happy. Focus on living a life that is filled with interesting activities, hobbies and people.
This will not only open up many new experiences and possibilities for you, but it will also make you a more vibrant and interesting person, causing potential partners (or previous partners) to naturally be drawn towards you.
It takes two people to create a relationship and if a connection doesn’t evolve into one, no matter how special that connection may have seemed, it doesn’t mean it was your fault.
Remember, you can only control your own responses, your own feelings, your own efforts.
Take ownership over what you want, communicate those needs and set boundaries to ensure those needs are met.
Who knows, perhaps that will result in this guy stepping up to the plate. But if it doesn’t, I promise you that it is for good reason. Not only because you will be able to walk away with more clarity over what you need in a partner, but because it will be opening up space in your life for someone who would step up.
Making a relationship work is a choice, and there are people out there who are going to choose you.