There was a time in history when the word “dating” meant “courtship.” It was the formal process by which one proved their merit for a committed partnership. Today, the word “dating” is the polite term for “sleeping with a person.” It doesn’t imply a future partnership, nor sexual exclusivity.
Many relationship-minded singles are finding themselves in the grey area of modern dating. To end the confusion, here are 8 signs you’re “Going Nowhere.”
1. He/she doesn’t make plans to secure your time:
You don’t know when you’ll see them or speak to them next. You feel like you’re the one doing all the “work.” Not making plans means this person likes you and enjoys your company. They’re attracted to you, but they aren’t intent on driving the relationship forward. Developing a committed relationship takes time, energy and an underlying desire for greater connection.
Your partner may be dating others, or have no desire to focus on ‘one person.’ They may be fuzzy on what they want. No matter the reason, they don’t have sufficient impetus to make you a priority in their life. This is a red flag.
Why is this happening? It’s not about you… it’s about them. This behavior isn’t a reflection of your worth. It’s the action and behavior of a person who’s still sampling the buffet table of life, and/or not ready or able to be serious with anyone.
2. You’re seeing a person from time to time and they make some plans, but nothing that would require effort on their part:
They’re are making some effort to see you from time to time, but not enough to offer any tangible signs of your increasing importance in their life. Effort means planning ahead; a trip together, a weekend away or any other special event for the two of you. This shows “relationship intent.”
There are some people who date “at their convenience.” This is the type of person who’ll ask you to come to see them, but rarely share equal responsibility to see you. They may give you an option for getting together on a certain night that’s not good for you. If you don’t agree, they won’t adjust their schedule or offer you an alternative plan. They don’t see you at all.
Dating you is all about their comfort and needs. Again, you’re doing all the work to keep the relationship going. Someone who behaves in this manner is lazy and self-centered. They’re not relationship material. They don’t compromise or consider your feelings.
3. Seeing them is either all about sex, or there is no sex:
These two extremes are important signs that something’s wrong. If your date is only seeing you for the purpose of sex, you’re just a “booty call.” They’ve got you trapped in a “box” and there’s little you can do to shift from that position. This is their intent and nothing more.
If there’s no romance on their part, they may see you as a “friend.” When attraction is romantic, there’s some form of touching, kissing or other physical expression. This is the way we show a person they’re more than a friend to us. Physical contact is the prelude to sexual contact. Don’t get stuck in the “friend zone.”
4. One, or both of you act like you are “single” in public:
Your partner acts as though they’re “not with you” when in a public setting. Or, you instinctively feel it’s “wrong” to show that you are together. This is a sign that you’ve been harnessed into a silent connection. You’re not “allowed” to let others know you’re dating.
When a person you’re dating doesn’t honor you in public, it’s clear where you stand with them. A partner who’s “into” you will proudly show you off as his or her date. There’s no difference between their private and public life. They think you’re special. They’re proud to be with you.
If you’re dating someone who doesn’t do this, get out. It’s disrespectful. You’re worth more than that. Though they may not be the type of person to recognize your worth, you must.
5. One, or both of you don’t make the relationship a priority:
Where a person spends their time and effort shows what they value. This can cut both ways. It’s easy to get into a dating cycle where you just spin your wheels. You see a person (maybe there’s sex involved) but they’re way down the list of what’s important in your life.
When you’re dating someone who puts everything else before you; job, friends, family… that’s not a good sign. You’re not a priority and you know it. You can’t force someone’s affection. But you do need to ask why you’d be willing to make time for someone who’s not making time for you. This trait rarely changes.
When a person values you they want to see you, be with you and make you feel good. They “make an effort.” Don’t make excuses for them. See it for what it is. Conversely, if you’re not making time for ‘them’ you also need to see it for what it is.
6. You haven’t met each other’s family and/or friends:
Loving relationships are all-inclusive. We can’t wait to have our partner meet our friends and family. And, they are introduced to ours. That’s because we truly want them fused into our life. We’ve included them in our innermost circle and they are truly special.
When that’s not the case, there is good reason. To keep a person separate from those closest to us is to keep them at a distance in our life. We don’t want them in our “inner circle.” Meeting your date’s friends and family is a testimony of your importance in their life. When you’ve done that, you’re in. If that’s being withheld from you… why are you’re willing to stick around?
7. You know little of their personal life:
When your partner isn’t with you, you’re not really sure what they’re doing, who they’re with, or how they spend their time. Personal information about the day-to-day events of their life is minimal. You may get a few tidbits, but not enough concrete information about who they are and what’s important to them.
The sharing of one’s past and present provides a closeness that creates intimacy. There is trust and openness. Personal stories of one’s life, history, issues and daily events are the things that allow us to know a person and feel connected to them. Sharing personal information is a way of letting another into our world.
When little is known of another, we cannot fully feel connected. We aren’t let into their private world. We’re trapped in a relationship that won’t allow us to advance.
8. There’s an inherent “no talk” rule regarding the relationship:
Though it may not be spoken in words, you instinctively know not to ask. There are boundaries around the discussion of your ‘relationship.’ You feel as though you don’t have the right to ask, “Where’s this going?” In part because you fear their answer and know your partner doesn’t want to have this discussion. You feel as though you’re “walking on eggshells.” Keeping quiet keeps the balance in a “going nowhere” relationship.
Speaking one’s truth is the formula for entering true partnership. To know what you want and how you want it is the process by which you create connection and authenticity.
People want different things at different times in their lives. Sometimes casual dating is desirable, and other times casual dating is only a temporary “band aide” for a person who’s seeking a meaningful relationship. Knowing what you want is the only way to know if what you now have, is what you really want.
*Article based on my interview notes for journalist Aruna Rathod of the Mumbai Mirror entitled “Dead-End Love.”