One day, the guy you’re getting to know is telling you that he likes you, and then the next three weeks pass and he hasn’t made any effort to see you. Or maybe your partner says she wants space, but continues to text you daily to make small talk. Although mixed signals come in different forms, they all come down to the same issue — someone telling you one thing and treating you the complete opposite.
In the world of dating, we’re always told to listen when someone tells us something. But what happens when what they’re saying doesn’t match with what they’re doing? Feelings are already confusing enough, and the addition of someone we (still) like treating us sweetly one day and coldly the next is enough to leave our minds spinning with confusion.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming yourself when his or her actions toward you are anything but steady. Before you know it, the toxic thoughts began to consume you (but none of them are true). The way your partner is treating you has no correlation to who you are as a person and how great you are as a significant other. Read further to see what his or her mixed signals could mean and how none of the reasons have to do with you.
They are confused.
Whether your partner’s excuse for his or her sporadic behavior is because of work or because of a trip, the truth is that someone who is truly invested in getting to know you will make time to. Inconsistent behavior could be due to an inability to decide on how they feel — this isn’t your fault, as that indecisiveness stems from within your partner and most likely the fear that comes with the word “commitment.” In order to figure things out, your significant other may resort to putting space between themselves and what confuses them (in this case — the relationship). And even though accepting this is difficult, your greatest action for this is to simply let the person you’re seeing do this.
What to consider
It’s understandable to have doubts in a relationship. The majority of people in the dating world aren’t jumping into relationships with no acknowledgment of the hurt that could be waiting on the other side. However, there’s a thin line between giving someone space to calm their mind versus waiting for them to (hopefully) decide to stick around. If you feel like it’s the latter, there’s a reason for that gut feeling, and you should recognize that you deserve more than someone who makes you wait around for them.
They are seeing other people.
This could be the explanation for why he or she seems to show interest only at certain times — because it’s hard to completely focus on one person when you’re seeing more than one. One of the hardest parts of getting to know someone is that we’ve become a part of a dating culture where going on dates with someone is a different level than “exclusively” going on dates with someone. Oh — and we can’t forget the invisible guidelines to follow in order to have the “are we exclusive” talk without being deemed as clingy. Realizing that the person you’re getting to know may be seeing other people could sting, but it’s also a factor that could be the reason for his or her inattention.
What to consider
Assuming he or she is seeing other people, your partner most likely doesn’t feel the need to explain himself or herself — this could be because you two barely know each other or because they are under the impression that you’re seeing people as well. Communication is key in any relationship (whether it’s an exclusive one or not), so before you strike up any form of conversation about this, reassess what you’re looking for in a relationship and consider where the relationship is between you two currently.
They are selfish.
This reason is one that’s obvious but overlooked. Your partner is making plans to see you when HE wants to, she is texting you to be nice when SHE wants to, or he or she is treating you this way because HE OR SHE wants to. Translation: it’s all about your partner. It doesn’t matter who you are or how wonderful your personality is; your partner will base his or her actions and feelings on what is convenient for him or her. Unfortunately, relationships are founded on trust and compromise, so you can see why the personality trait of selfishness impacts any relationship.
What to consider
Although this isn’t the end of the world, you should recognize that personality traits aren’t meant to be changed. You’re the only person who knows what you can handle, and if you’re someone who prides herself on her thoughtfulness towards others, it could be time to take a step back and re-evaluate.
They aren’t interested (enough).
Of course, the reason the person you’re seeing may be giving mixed signals may be what you most likely dreaded in the first place. In a perfect world, people would be straightforward about their intentions and feelings, but we all know nothing is perfect. Although their purpose may not be to lead you on, they could be comfortable with the way the relationship has developed and have no intention to cut it off (until their interest moves to someone else). Your partner could also enjoy your company and find you interesting, but for some reason not want to commit. Again, this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. If your partner continues to do the bare minimum to keep the relationship alive, it may be time to consider if he or she is taking things slowly or if your partner is simply taking advantage of the situation.
What to consider
If someone is interested in you, but not interested in giving you the commitment you want, it’s up to you to decide what to do about it. Sure, there are people out there who will tell you they aren’t looking for a relationship and mean it, but others will not. If you’re seeing someone who becomes complacent with you with no means of progression in the future, allow yourself to accept this and make your decision.