You just met a really, really nice guy – and it’s about time, right? Unlike the last guy, this one probably won’t steal money from your wallet or use your t-shirt as a napkin. Still, there’s something a little… strange about this new guy. For one, he seems to mention his ex-girlfriend a lot. You know, that one who joined the Peace Corps and broke up with him to spare his feelings. It suddenly dawns on you that he might just be lonely. Are you his backup, in case she never comes back? It sure seems like it!
You’ve never met his family.
You’ve heard loose stories about them, but it seems like your significant other keeps you pretty separated from this other part of his life. Sure, some couples don’t meet the family for awhile – and in the case of a few bad romantic comedies, they don’t meet until the day after a proposal, for some creepy reason. But if you feel like you’re being shafted, there’s probably a great reason — he doesn’t want his parents to meet and fall in love with someone he’ll probably never fall in love with himself.
You’re not Facebook official.
He doesn’t seem to like relationship terms at all. Whenever you ask if he’s your boyfriend, he tends to respond with something like “Why rush things?” Guys who are completely into you will make it pretty clear right off the bat. They want to make sure you’re off the market and properly labeled as their girlfriend. The fact that he doesn’t want everyone on his feed to see any type of relationship change should be a huge red flag. You might just be friends with benefits in his eyes.
He cancels on you all the time.
Everyone is guilty of cancelling plans every once in a while, but making a habit of it can really start to hurt some feelings. Similarly, if you ask him to a movie and he “has to think about it” or gets back to you hours later, you’re definitely his backup. Chances are, he has a few other texts going out to other ladies to see if there’s something a little bit sexier than a screening of Paddington happening that night.
You remind him of his sister.
You think it’s a veiled compliment since, based on stalking her Facebook page, she likes Chipotle and Arcade Fire. Both of those things are pretty cool, right? However, this is pretty much the way your guy is saying “I like hanging out with you, but please don’t expect anything more to come out of this.” He won’t change his mind. Being friend-zoned is one large hole to climb out of, but it’s still possible. Being sister-zoned is like rocketing out into space, far far away from romance.
He makes you leave sex.
Take off your blinders and ditch this guy before he has the chance to make you feel even worse about yourself. People are their natural selves in the morning – they’re gross, they’re disheveled, and they’re decaffeinated. When you love someone, or even severely like someone, this peak into their lives is adorable. But if he wants to hit it and quit it, you’re obviously just there to pass the time. If he can’t even get breakfast with you, he’s not interested in anything long term.
He doesn’t call you during the holidays.
Obviously you’re spending them apart, since – well, you just met the guy a month or so ago. However, if he makes no acknowledgment of your presence whatsoever during these times, he’ probably not feeling it. In this day and age, communication is ridiculously easy. If he can’t take two seconds to text you with “How’s your holiday going?” while he’s in the bathroom, that means he’s probably too busy getting the scoop on what his high school sweetheart is up to during her college break.
You’re there for more bad times than good.
He uses you as a sounding board every time something goes wrong. When he didn’t get that promotion at work, he went right to you for emotional support. When his neighbor left that passive aggressive note on his windshield, you supplied the hugs and made him a really nice comfortable dinner. But when you want to go out to celebrate that new apartment you found, it’s like pulling teeth to get him to respond. He might also ask you for the guest list while considering whether or not to show his presence.
He doesn’t care about your life.
After mastering guitar, you’d love to start a band. Maybe just something local, with some friends you know. When you tell this to your new guy, he thinks you’re being a little ridiculous. Why? Well, it limits the time that you’d be available to him if he needs you and frankly, he’s just not interested. The right guy is invested in your dreams and won’t try to mock them before they even come into fruition. The guy who treats you as a backup doesn’t have too much interest in things that don’t directly involve him, nor will he be willing to try and understand the things he doesn’t already know.
He shudders at the idea of commitment.
Getting engaged means throwing your lifestyle away for someone else, according to this guy. Why not be free? The right guy will want to move forward with you at a healthy pace, while the guy who sees you as a backup will likely freak out at the idea of any type of commitment with you. Marriage might not be for everyone, but when someone truly loves you, the conversation eventually comes up. It doesn’t even need to be marriage – it could be co-signing a lease, getting a dog, or even sharing a Netflix subscription.
You can never tell if he’s mad at you.
Even the best of couples get into fights – it’s natural. However, this guy seems to be kind of neutral all the time. Did you do something to piss him off? Was he scrolling through your phone, and saw something that might have bugged him? While you communicate all the time, it’s tough to talk about real stuff. He’s cagey since he seriously has no idea how much his attitude is affecting you, and chances are, that’s the last thing on his mind anyway. Real couples explore even the tough topics from time to time, and while it might get a bit heated, it usually improves the relationship in the long run.
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