There are a lot of times in life when dating just isn’t a priority, but that doesn’t mean you won’t meet someone who could be perfect for you when you aren’t even looking. Unfortunately, if you’re not ready for a relationship right now, it probably won’t work out. So what do you do when your own personal Mr. Right comes along at the worst possible time?
- Be honest with him. If he’s obviously interested, the best thing you can do is tell him the truth about your circumstances. Whether you just got out of a serious relationship and aren’t ready for a new one or you just don’t have a lot of time to devote to a guy, let him know. Then he can decide on his own if you’re worth waiting for or not.
- Foster a friendship. There’s no reason you have to be exclusive with this guy immediately. There’s nothing wrong with spending time together and getting to know each other on a friend level first. If that’s all you’re up for right now, that’s all you should do. If you’re honest with him about where you stand and he’s into hanging out platonically as well (and not just saying that hoping you’ll change your mind), then give it a go!
- Give him a chance. Maybe after going out on a few dates with him and getting to know him a little bit, you’ll be sure that you’ll regret it if you let him go. The timing might not be perfect, but that doesn’t always have to matter if you don’t let it. While you definitely shouldn’t convince yourself that you can make things work if you just push through, you also shouldn’t cut things off too quickly.
- Tell him you want to move slow. If he really likes you, he shouldn’t have a problem with taking things slow. He probably doesn’t want to scare you off by rushing you into a relationship, so as long as you communicate with each other, you should be able to get on the same page as far as your expectations go. Casual dating can be a lot of fun while also being low-pressure, which is exactly what you need when you’re not ready for a relationship just yet.
- Keep it casual. That means you probably shouldn’t spend entire weekends together, text each other all day, and meet each other’s friends just yet. You don’t want to get too attached before you’re sure it’s right because that’ll only make it harder to break it off if things get too serious too fast. Treating him like he’s your boyfriend and acting like his girlfriend when neither of those things are the case won’t do you any favors.
- Pay attention to how he makes you feel. If you have it in your head that you’re not ready for a relationship, you might miss all the amazing things about spending time with him. Falling in love tends to make everything else fade away, and maybe not thinking so much is exactly what you need.
- Don’t let him pressure you. Even if you do give in to what he wants at first, eventually you’ll end up resenting him for pushing you into something you weren’t ready for. Your relationship will be so much better if you both go into it 100% willing and able rather than feeling like you didn’t have a choice in the matter.
- Listen to what he wants. Obviously your top priority is your own happiness and sanity, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore his needs. If he wants more than you’re willing to give, keeping him on the hook will only hurt him and it’s probably better if you just let him go. Just because you’re not ready for a relationship doesn’t mean he should have to go without one.
- Don’t lead him on. It might be tempting to put him on the back burner just in case you suddenly are ready for a relationship, but giving him irrational hope isn’t really fair. If you don’t see yourself changing your mind any time soon, make sure he knows that, so he can make an informed decision.
Figuring out why you’re not ready for a relationship
You certainly don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you don’t want to be with them, but if you do eventually want to couple up, it would help to understand the reasons behind your need to stay single.
- You’re not over your ex. This is probably one of the most obvious reasons you’re not ready for a relationship — why would you be when you’re still holding out hope for a reunion with your previous partner? Whether or not there’s still unresolved business there, you’re making the right decision to avoid getting involved with someone new until any leftover feelings are processed and truly gone.
- You have a lot going on in your life right now. Maybe you have a sick family member, a really stressful situation at work, or are dealing with mental health issues. Whatever the reason, if your life is just a bit too hectic right now to deal with a relationship, there’s no shame in saying you’re not ready for one.
- You’re afraid of being hurt. If you’ve had your heart broken before — and let’s be honest, we all have — then it’s only natural that you’d be apprehensive about getting attached to someone new. What if they break your heart too? You don’t want to feel that way again, and who could blame you? However, as the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
- You’ve got dating FOMO. While it’s usually men that get hit with the commitmentphobe label, it fits some women too. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship (or several) and you’re finally getting to experience the single life for the first time, maybe you’re not ready for a relationship because you’re worried about what you’ll be missing when you’re coupled up. Why settle down with one person now when there are billions on the planet?
- You just love being single. Sometimes it really is this simple. It’s not that you’re not ready for a relationship in this case, it’s that you don’t want one right now. The single life is treating you well and you’re loving it. Relationships will always be there. What’s the hurry?