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 really aren’t in a place where you’re ready for a relationship, it probably won’t work out. That is, unless you decide this guy is worth the effort. Maybe then, despite the bad timing, you can end up happily ever after.
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, or you just don’t have a lot of time to devote to a new guy, let him know. Then he can decide on his own if you’re worth waiting for or not.
Don’t rush into committing. 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.
Consider why you aren’t ready for a relationship. Were you looking forward to being single for awhile after a particularly dramatic breakup, or have you just been single for so long that the thought of a relationship scares the crap out of you? If it’s the latter, you might want to think about the fact that unless you want to be alone forever, you’re going to have to give a relationship a real shot at some point. So why not now?
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.
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.
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 to get too attached before you’re sure, because that’ll only make it harder to break it off if things get too serious too fast.
Pay attention to how he makes you feel. If you have it in your head that you aren’t 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 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 your willing to give, keeping him on the hook will only hurt him, and it’s probably better if you just let him go.
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.
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