They’re Not Ready for a Relationship. Now What?

Learn what to do when you're dating someone who's not ready for a relationship and how to handle their lack of commitment gracefully.

A lot goes into finding a good match. Aside from getting the timing right and finding someone compatible with you, it’s important to determine if they’re ready to commit to the relationship. After all, there’s no sense in dating someone who just wants a casual fling when you’re itching to walk down the aisle together.

Unfortunately, commitment issues are all too common in the dating scene. So, what do you do if you think you’re dating someone who is not ready for a relationship? Well, it depends. Sometimes, you can stick it out and wait for them to come around, but other times, it’s best to move on.

Check out our advice below to help you navigate dating someone who might not be ready for a relationship.

Look for Signs They’re Not Ready to Commit

If you suspect you might be dating someone with commitment issues, ask yourself some of the following questions about them and your situation:

  • Do they shy away from making long-term plans with you?
  • Do they avoid having conversations about settling down together or committing to a monogamous relationship with you? 
  • Do they seem hung up on an ex or past relationship?
  • Do they wish to achieve long-term personal goals before getting serious in a relationship?
  • Do they prefer to keep things casual with you?
  • Are they sending mixed signals about their dating intentions? 
  • Are there things that are standing between them and taking your relationship to the next level?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then there’s a good chance you’re with someone who might not be ready for a relationship with you right now. If that’s the case, consider some of the following advice to determine if continuing this relationship is worth your time and energy.

Be Straightforward and Clear

Communicating in a new relationship is key, especially if someone is ambiguous about commitment. This involves being straightforward and direct about your wants, needs, expectations, and goals from this relationship. And if you’re dating with intention, then you should have a clear understanding of what your ideal kind of partnership looks like.

People often avoid speaking from their heart due to fear, but if you and the other person in the relationship are not on the same page, relationship goals will remain out of sync, leading to misunderstanding and possible heartbreak. If the other person is wishy-washy or unclear about their own intentions, it might be a sign that they’re not ready to take their relationship to the next level. 

Give Them Time

Sometimes, people simply are not ready to commit—yet. In some cases, they may take more time to warm up to the idea of starting a relationship; in other cases, they might require some space to heal from a past relationship.

In these scenarios, we recommend communicating your wants and needs and deciding if sticking it out a little while will help them overcome their commitment issues. Being patient and not pressuring them into something more serious may show them that you’re willing to wait for them. And as they begin to recognize your willingness to commit, they may feel more secure moving in that direction.

That said, they need to meet you halfway—if they’re unwilling to work toward building a future together, then you might wind up wasting your time.

Understand Their Reasons

Ensuring that someone is ready for a relationship is not about assigning blame; it is about evaluating the current suitability of the other person as a long-term partner. Instead of partner critique or indulging in self-blame, try to understand the circumstances. There are many reasons why someone may not be interested in or be ready for a committed relationship. After all, relationships are not just about compatibility but about timing. It is possible the other person faces personal or financial issues that need to be resolved first. A lot of times, the things that hold them back are situations that they have to overcome on their own—not something you can solve for them or force them to do against their will.

Discuss The Likelihood of Them Changing Their Mind

Maybe they’re not ready for a relationship at this very moment, but is there a chance they’ll change their mind in the near future?

There’s a difference between not being ready now and not being ready ever. For instance, if they’re just getting over a breakup or still looking for closure from a past relationship, they might come around. They might simply need some breathing room while they work things out and prepare themselves for a new relationship. However, if you’re dating someone with commitment issues or someone who is firm in their anti-commitment stance, then you might be facing an uphill battle that may not be worth the fight.

Don’t Force It

Sometimes, the timing just isn’t right. Other times, that person just might not have any interest in ever committing to a relationship. And in those situations, it’s often best to let it go. Don’t force the relationship or try to change the other person. Instead, try to see the person for who they truly are and decide whether you’re comfortable continuing your relationship as it is.

Remember, just because this person isn’t a good fit for you, doesn’t mean the next person you date will be the same. Try to avoid wasting your time dating someone with commitment issues who isn’t ready to change, and instead focus on dating those who are open to going at it for the long haul. 

Be Honest With Yourself

If you’re serious about starting a future together, is it really fair to be with someone who is dating but not ready for a relationship? Sure, it might not be their fault that they’re not ready to commit, but you deserve to be with someone who is on the same page as you. 

Do some soul searching around whether you’re willing to continue seeing this person if their relationship goals aren’t aligned with yours—and may never be. Be honest with yourself. Do you think you could be happy? Or are you just selling yourself short?

Some commitment issues are temporary, while others require a lot of time, energy, and maybe even professional help to overcome. Assess your current situation and decide if it’s worth moving forward. And if it’s not, don’t get discouraged; there are plenty of other opportunities for finding love!

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