9 signs you’re in love with someone who isn’t ready for a relationship

by Isabel Cabrera | March 21, 2024, 10:35 pm

Love is a powerful emotion that’s known for its life-changing properties.

It can sometimes lead us to experiences that we aren’t ready for, let alone prepare for. In this case, finding yourself in love with someone who isn’t ready for a relationship.

It’s hard because it’s not always that the love is unrequited. In some cases, it’s the timing that is fragile.

Which then raises the question of, is it fair for yourself to wait for them to be ready?

Ideally, it’s a conversation worth having where your partner or crush tells you straight up about where their heart and minds are at.

But we can’t have it all, can we.

To help you navigate this complex emotional terrain, are 9 signs you’re in love with someone who isn’t ready for a relationship.

1) They self-sabotage

In their own life, but also in the relationship.

So look at their attitude towards themselves – do they constantly undermine their own successes?

Avoiding responsibilities or creating unnecessary conflicts? These are some examples of self-destructive behaviors that can extend into the relationship.

Remember that attraction isn’t enough to carry the relationship into still waters. They require work, consistency and emotional maturity.

Reflect on what attracted you to them in the first place. 

If it’s something that is rooted in superficial factors like looks or shared interests, it’s better to let time do its thing and let them go.

It becomes a little more complicated if you genuinely feel that you have a connection and the potential for a real friendship.

Which brings us to our next point:

2) They are reluctant to define the relationship

This is where you can tell if a person is just looking to get you caught up in their storm. Because not being ready for a relationship alone isn’t a crime.

I want to stress how beautiful and fulfilling platonic relationships can be between two individuals who are emotionally open to the people in their lives.

The difference will be in their willingness to define the relationship. I’m talking about the “situationship” havers.

Those kinds of people thrive on the lack of commitment. I would even go as far as to say that they aren’t ready to have genuine friendships, either.

Because that would require them to be sure about being in your life, and consistent in their communication.

3) They are inconsistent in their communication

To be ready for a serious commitment means you are willing to put in the effort.

That’s real time and energy out of your day to check in with your partner and speak up about your needs as needed.

It also requires a person to know themselves in order to speak consistently without placing unnecessary burdens on the other person.

So as much as this is about effort, it’s also about loyalty.

If your partner has the tendency to disappear without explanation, or are hot and cold in their affections, it’s a sign they aren’t fully invested.

The key here is to not wait for someone to be sure about you. Go where you are wanted and valued. 

Where your partner is sure about sharing a life with you and meeting you half-way.

4) They don’t meet you half-way

Mutual effort must be met with the same level of mutual compromise.

An emotionally available person who is ready for a commitment understands this and won’t leave you hanging.

As in, you won’t have to teach them how to do the bare minimum.

So that means if someone you’re seeing isn’t willing to share responsibilities, like coming up with dates and activities, you need to take their indifference as a clear sign to let them go.

Not a sign to try harder.

Same goes for resolving conflicts because compromise means viewing each other with open-minds. 

But it also means that you are willing to speak up instead of holding grudges and resentment, because that’s how you can move forward together.

5) They have a history of unresolved relationships

Past relationships can provide valuable insights into a partner’s heart space.

If your partner has a string of unresolved issues with their exes or other emotional investments, giving them time to figure out their emotional baggage is crucial.

You are not Scott Pilgrim, there is no need to fight seven evil exes.

Even if the both of you are genuinely interested in one another, there will be a thin veil of the past blocking their view, which isn’t fair for anyone.

So ask for space and give space if the person you’re seeing talks about their ex a lot, or seems like they are still figuring out how to be independent.

It will serve as a good foundation for a healthy dynamic if you choose to be friends instead. as well, because there will be a sense of mutual respect.

6) They are learning how to value their independence

This can mean a couple of things.

First, the obvious one being that if a person is hyper-independent, they might value their freedom to a point where they don’t have room in their life for a partner.

This is someone who might want to explore their options in love as well, and have mixed feelings of ambivalence that they want to figure out.

On the other hand, it’s important to mention that being independent doesn’t always have to do with exploring other romantic options.

Especially for women, independence can mean working on their careers or sense of selves!

If your loved one is in a phase of self-discovery that prioritizes their personal growth, it can create a barrier as they invest in themselves.

I know plenty of women (and people in general) who are able to do this while they still have meaningful friendships that enrich their lives.

So again, giving space and exploring your own emotions to figure out where you can meet each other in the middle is key.

7) They don’t want to meet your friends or family

In a relationship where both parties are on the same page, meeting each other’s friends and family doesn’t feel like a “huge” step.

It happens naturally and if there are any preceding conversations, it is welcomed.

However, when someone isn’t ready for a relationship, they might hesitate or outright refuse to meet your friends and family.

There are some instances where someone might refuse because they have a hard time connecting with their own families.

And it’s not abnormal to feel nervous about how different social groups might not vibe well. 

I personally have felt uncomfortable in the past because I don’t like people getting involved in my relationships because I’ve been the victim of gossip and nosy people.

But I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s important you listen to your partner and get to the bottom of their aversions.

If you want to spend your future together, how you approach conflicts needs to overshadow the conflicts themselves.

8) They aren’t prepared to plan the future

Just as meeting you half-way to plan dates should be a necessity, the same applies to larger plans for the future.

So if you find yourself being the only person who wants to dream about married life or having children, it’s worth having a conversation about it.

Future planning also requires a level of maturity where a person knows what they want from life so observe how they respond to these discussions.

Make sure your values and goals lineup with theirs and that these discussions are met with hopefulness and positivity.

The love that happens when two people are on the same page is incomparable to people who are hanging on by a thread of attraction and blind faith.

So even if you have to compromise in order to find a common ground – even in friendship – don’t sell yourself short.

9) They tend to keep their relationships a secret

Now, some people are more private than others.

And this can be tricky because you can’t expect everyone to act the same when they’re in love.

But if you feel like they’re going to make you sign an NDA, that might be indicative of an underlying fear of commitment.

That they aren’t ready for the social and emotional implications of being in a committed partnership. For example, fear of judgment, or loss of identity and singlehood.

Not to mention, you should really consider being with someone who has a compatible love language as you.

Context definitely matters as well, because realizing that your partner resembles this entire article is different than them having maybe 1-3 of these signs.

Final thoughts

So with all of that being said, we must remember that love is not definable in a singular way.

Especially if you consider that there are people who are asexual, aromantic or polamorous, there is no formula for how you can be in love.

Consider that love is an ever-evolving journey, and embracing the uncertainty might open new doors for you that allow for more compassion and shared commitments.

In the end, the most crucial aspect is ensuring that you’re on the same page and that your emotional needs can be met.

Sometimes, even if it doesn’t happen the way you expected it to, it’s worth seeing how it unfolds.

Even if it’s just within yourself.

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