Feb 102015

Casual Dating to Serious RelationshipHow exactly do you go from dating someone casually to having a serious relationship with them?

Is it some secret, LSD fuelled desert ritual?

Do you just… ask them?

Or maybe even *shudder* express your feelings?

Casual to Serious: Why Do You Commit?

Most of us have experienced a serious relationship by accident, usually when we really like the person we’re dating and it just naturally develops into something more. Other times you really like someone and it doesn’t work out, and you’ve probably wondered if there was anything you could’ve done differently.

To make yourself a better partner, think about your past relationships. What qualities made you want to get serious with your date? What things turned you off?

Being self-aware of how others perceive you is a huge advantage in dating and relationships. If you’re struggling with this, here’s a short list to help you go from a casual date to a serious mate (so lame, I know).

My Top 3 Casual Dating Tips

1) Be Independent

Some “experts” say you should act unavailable. It’s true that being overly available can seem desperate or unattractive, but the last thing you want to do is play dating games.

If you’re suffering from no-life syndrome, step back and ask yourself why you aren’t having fun on your own. Sure, acting unavailable might work at the casual dating stage, but what happens after that? How long before insecurities, neediness, and jealousy creep in?

Instead of acting unavailable, be independent. Hang out with your friends a couple times a week. Go to the gym. Play the sport you like or pursue one of your interests. Learn an instrument, a language, or take dancing lessons. Value yourself and your own time.

The main thing here is neediness is a killer. Insecure people push for serious relationships for the security it brings, and people can sense that.

2) Set Boundaries

Why would someone commit to you if they’re getting everything they want without the commitment?

If you’re struggling to find people willing to move beyond casual dating, there’s a good chance you’re giving too much. Why bend over backwards to make someone you barely know happy?

Let them earn it.

A prime example of this is a guy who brings a girl flowers on the first date. A nice gesture, but how do you know she deserves them? What if she ends up being a total bitch?

Some women might be wondering if having sex too soon is scaring guys away. Holding off to avoid judgement is ridiculous – how can two people have sex at the same time but only one of them does it too soon?

Any guy who loses interest in you for having casual sex “too soon” is not worth having around.

3) This Secret Psychology Brain Hack

Here’s a way to discover how you might be sabotaging yourself without knowing it.

When you go on a date, what do you think the purpose is?

Whatever your answer is, that’s the main cause of your behaviour. If your answer is something like “to find the one”, you’re gonna come across as needy. If it’s “to get to know someone”, you’ll probably seem interview-ish.

The best way to look at a date is a chance to have fun. This keeps things… well, fun. People like being around fun, low-pressure people with no expectations.

As things progress, that’s when you get to know each other. If you emotionally vomit on someone and spill your whole life story during the first three dates, where’s the fun in that?

It’s like telling someone what’s in the present they’re about to unwrap. Isn’t the funnest part the unwrapping? Focus on having fun, enjoy the mystery, and going from casual to serious will happen naturally.

Signs You’re Graduating From Dating to a Serious Relationship

Casual Dating to a Serious RelationshipIf all goes well, you won’t have to do “the talk” of whether or not you’re a serious couple. Watch for these milestones, and you’ll know if the casual dating phase is almost over.

The final milestone is when you know it’s official – whether you say it’s a serious relationship or not.

Unscheduled Time Together

When you start hanging out together without making plans in advance, you know things are getting serious.

Meeting Friends

Meeting each other’s social group is a big step. If you make it past the gauntlet of scrutiny from their friends, things are well on their way.

Sleepovers Without Sex

As long as you aren’t fighting, this is actually a good sign.

You Leave Some Stuff at Their House

If he’s leaving a pair of boxers at your place, it’s a sign. Likewise, if she’s got some clothes or 8,412 bottles of hair product in your shower, you’re in.

The Big One: Your First Fight

If you have a fight and you don’t break up, you’re basically saying this is something worth working on.

Troubleshooting: Dating for Months, but Not Serious?

Dating Tips and Q&A with Yours Truly

I wrote the first version of this article in 2012, and since then I’ve gotten hundreds of emails and comments asking about what to do in certain situations. Here are the most common questions and my answers to each.

If you have a question about moving from casual dating to a serious relationship that I didn’t answer, leave a comment below the article and I’ll get back to you within a couple days.

Q: I’ve been dating this person for months, and when I ask if we’re a serious couple or not, the subject gets changed or I get ignored altogether.

A: There are two explanations for this. One, they’re interested but not good at communicating or are feeling pressured and don’t like it. Two, they don’t want to get serious but want the other benefits of dating.

Let them know what you’re looking for and pull back a bit. If you drift apart, you know they were never going to commit and you saved yourself time, trouble, and heart ache.
Q: My date says it’s just casual, but acts like it’s serious? Texting a lot, we hook up often, they want to meet my friends. What’s the deal?

A: This scenario usually happens when someone wants to get serious but has a fear of commitment. They get around it by tricking themselves into thinking it’s not actually serious unless it’s labelled that way.

You have a choice to make – can you handle someone whose actions and words don’t align? Is it more important to you to have this person, or a person who’s ready and willing to commit?
Q: No one I date wants to get serious!! There’s always an excuse, why can’t I meet the right people?

A: You aren’t a helpless victim of the dating universe, so this isn’t really a question – you keep meeting the wrong people because you keep choosing to date similar people.

What feels right to you isn’t working. You need to try some wrong. Stop meeting people wherever you’re meeting them now. Date people who you don’t usually go for, and stop dating “your type”.



Written by Ryan Jakovljevic

Ryan Jakovljevic is an award-winning counsellor and relationship expert with more than three years of experience helping both individuals and couples. He does weekly videos on YouTube, posts daily on Facebook and twitter, and you can also find him on Google+.
 Posted by at 5:51 pm

  136 Responses to “How To Move From Casual Dating to Serious Relationship”

  1. hi does lots of your dating advice aply to 65 year olds-my aunt is on online dating-most of the guys say they only want a serious relationship-does that sound like if you don’t have all the qualities they are looking for -you should skip them right away-and not waste each others time-they seem very time sensitive-they can’t devote a few years hear ad there -to casual dating-what’s your take thnks

  2. hi your advice about dating the same type of guy who is a cad-is very good-try another type-brillant thanks so much

  3. Thanks Siron, glad it was helpful. In regards to 65 year olds casually dating or looking for a serious relationship, it makes sense that they’re more time sensitive. They want someone to settle down with into a serious relationship right away, if you take your time and date casually you could be looking for a while.

    I’d say be up front with your desires and if your date isn’t on the same page, move on.

  4. my boyfriend and i have been together for a straight 8months. in the past we’ve dated as well (all together we have been friends for 4 years and dated between there) recently he has stopped saying “i love you” unless i say it first. we are long distance due to military, but i see him every holiday break including spring and summer. the passion feels “low” i guess you could say. i feel as if i’ve done all i can to grab his attention and have him interested in me like he use to, but nothing has quite worked. he admits something feels “odd” as he put it. does this just mean that hes comfortable around me? or could there be something else going on? is there anything i could do?

    • Sounds like you guys need to have a serious conversation with a professional. I’d find a good counsellor in your area and see what you can figure out together. Of course something could be going on, maybe he’s just comfortable, no way to say for sure without talking to the guy.

      Long distance is incredibly difficult; it’s doable but it’s not easy. If you’re both committed and willing to have the hard conversations you can work through it. Hope things go well for you :)

  5. I am dating a guy who I really like and he seemed to really like me but now only contacts me several times a week (not by phone) to say he misses me or how attracted he is to me, but never plans to meet unless it’s last minute and at his house. He does have a very, very busy job and is just getting over a major medical issue. I guess I need to directly talk to him the next time we see each other. I don’t really want random dates every few weeks or so. He had said in the beginning that he was looking for a monogamous relationship and wanted to make sure I was off of Match.com and had told everyone about me blah blah blah…
    dating is so confusing.

    • When it comes to casual dating:

      1) Figure out your needs
      2) Figure out if the relationship meets those needs
      3) If not, ask for the changes you’d like to see

      If the changes don’t happen, the only way you can seriously commit to the relationship is to accept the changes you want might not happen. It sounds like you guys are in pretty different places though in terms of what you’re looking for.

      Who knows, maybe he comes around if you call him out on the way he’s acting?

  6. Hi. I’ve been dating my “bf,” for a year. We see each other every other weekend. He has part time custody of his two teen daughters on weekends we aren’t together.
    Sometimes, we see each other once during the week for dinner. We are both legally separated. Nearly 5 years for him 3 for me. We both had been married for over 20 years. It’s been hard for him to deal with the separation. Sometimes, he still misses her I think. She has no interest in getting back together. I am over my marriage and am ready for love again.
    When we are together we have a great time. All his attention is on me. He is lovable, affectionate. A gentleman. He just told his girls about me a couple of weeks ago. They handled it ok.
    Problem is, I’m out of sight of mind when I’m not with him. He rarely texts me. He likes me to initiate. I don’t mind sometimes but I told him it would make me feel good if he texted more. He makes an effort once in a while.
    We talk about everything except where we are in our relationship or if it might progress. It makes him uncomfortable to talk about it.
    I recently told him I loved him. I took a chance. I figured he may not say it back. He said, “I’m not there yet..” He likes me a lot and I’m special but I guess he isn’t ready for more.
    I’m not sure what to do or if there is anything I can do about it. I feel like I’m going to scare him off if I express what I need and hope for. I don’t think I want yo marry again but I would enjoy a serious relationship. He said he doesn’t want to date anyone else. Neither do I really. I’m just so confused.
    What do you think?
    Thank you.

    • Putting yourself out there and being vulnerable is absolutely the right move, and it’s incredibly difficult to do that. Be proud of yourself for having the guts to do it.

      I think you’re way past casual dating. A serious relationship milestone is telling the kids, so he’s certainly serious about you.

      I think he’s being honest. Personally I’d way rather have someone honestly say they don’t love me yet than say they love me when they don’t. He clearly sees the potential to fall in love with you otherwise why keep moving towards a serious relationship?

      • Hi Ryan:

        I posted in May about my boyfriend whom I told I loved. He said he wasn’t there yet. He said I’m special, cares for me a lot but just wasn’t in love with me. I told him I knew there was a chance he didn’t love me but I said it without expectation. I was hoping he felt the same.
        Well, you commended me for it but unfortnately, it scared the hell out of him. He became distant on and off. Made passive aggressive comments hoping I’d break up with him I guess.
        Two months after I declared my feelings, he broke up with me. Via e-mail too! Too cowardly to talk in person which he admitted.
        He said we took the relationship as far as its going to go. He didn’t “feel the chemistry,” any longer and isn’t ready to commit long term to anyone if ever again.
        I was devastated. Two weeks prior, everything seemed good for the most part. I was shocked. I said two weeks ago we were fine and this came out of nowhere. All he said was, “sorry.”
        I still love him. A month after this, I stopped by his place to give him some of his things. He hugged me and said he didn’t mean to hurt me. That I’m a good lady.
        I texted him a couple times to chit chat. He was very receptive to it. He said there are so many reminders of me everywhere and he misses me at times.
        I asked him of he would like to meet up here and there for a movie etc. Something very casual.
        He didnt reply. Asked him a week ago. Oh well, guess I need to move on.

        • Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear things didn’t work out.

          I stand by what I said in May – you definitely made the right move. Especially if he said he may not ever want to commit to a serious relationship… imagine if you waited a year (or more) to express yourself and the same thing happened?

          My general advice following break ups is a clean break. Delete them from social media, no calls or texts, put old pictures and things they gave you away. When you’re ready, get rid of them too.

  7. So I’ve been casually dating this guy for almost two months now… Him and I had both just gotten out of serious relationships when we met. He was married but I was not even though the guy I was previously with I was basically married to also (lived with him, had kids, been together for almost 5 years)… We met through a mutual friend. The night we met he asked for my number and texted me immediately after and said “hey glad we met, hope it goes somewhere” he text me the next day and confessed he’d been thinking about me all day… He started inviting me to hang out this and that. I wasn’t as interested as he was so I kinda made excuses and blew him off. Then one night he invited me over after work so I decided to stop by and only planned to stay a few minutes, well a few minutes turned into a couple hours and before I knew it it was 2 in the morning… He really wanted me to stay but I went home and he text me after I left and confessed that he really liked me a lot… The following week he went to out of state and we hit it off pretty good texting all the time… I decided to give it a chance. So I stayed with him the night he came back and I started falling for him hardcore… We’ve went out on a couple dates and have met each other’s friends, he’s even met my sister (whom I live with) cause not only have I stayed with him but he’s also stayed with me at my place… One night after getting intimate we were laying in bed and he was kind of sitting upright toward me and I looked up to him staring at me with sinsierity in his eyes, almost like he wanted to tell me he loved me but was scared… He’s always very affectionate even after sex. He always kisses me goodbye the next morning… In the beginning stages he wouldn’t have me park my car at his house in case his ex saw (didn’t want the drama from her) but now this past week he’s been letting me keep my car parked there. He said he doesn’t care anymore what she says or thinks about it… Also now he when he leaves for work in the morning, he lets me stay at his house till I’m ready to leave when before I would leave when he left. All of these things make it seem like he’s ready to take it to the next level and actually be in a relationship… But he has never really communicated what he wants or expects out of this so I’m kind of confused… He doesn’t text me as much anymore either, which also throws me for a limb… But we get together two to three times a week. Does it seem like he’s getting more ready to take things to the next level? Or do I need to give him more time? Any advice will help. Thanks!

    • Thanks for sharing your story!

      I think you’re officially at the in between stage of going from casual dating to a serious relationship. Let it evolve naturally, or if you want to be official ask him about it.

      Good luck :)

  8. Hey Ryan!
    I was in an in between relationship for about a year with my current guy. He was previously married and I was coming out of a long term relationship myself when we first met. He tried a lot in the beginning but had put a hold on it for the first few months because I had not felt ready to move on at the time. Not until 6 months ago did I start developing feelings. When we hung out things were great, but we didn’t get to see each other often. I started seeing warning signs that he didn’t seem fully committed and was evasive when I tried to talk more about it. I was too afraid to get hurt and like how I felt when we were together to jeopardize anything. One time late at night he had mentioned he wanted to become something more and asked what we should call each other. It was if we had sort of labels but nothing changed. There was no commitment made after that.The in between continued until I found out he was talking to/ hanging out with another girl. I made it clear then that this in between was not for me and I clearly stated what I was looking for and left. After doing this he immediately did a 180 and did everything a boyfriend would do and everything I’ve been looking for. After taking some time to myself and asking if this is what I want we have now been together for a little over a month and just got back from a 4 day vacation together. Besides our awkward past things have been great. I guess my question is can you trust someone who now is committing to you after you weren’t serious for so long? And if you can how to get your friends and family on board that things are better now? Thank you for the help!

    • When guys are being shady one of the best things you can do is stand your ground. It shows them you have self-respect, confidence, and won’t tolerate bullshit – all of which are very attractive.

      Well you were only casually dating for a short time, so I don’t think a serious relationship is out of the question due to his behaviour. You called him out, he changed, now you’re cool.

      If he does it again, get out before you get sucked into a serious relationship that isn’t worth the effort.

      If he keeps treating you right, your family and friends will get on board. Time will tell.

      Good luck!

  9. Hey Ryan, my boyfriend of 6 months and i broke up in middle May, he told me he didnt want to be in a relationship anymore and wanted to be single. Then, after not speaking for about a week while he was on vacation to play volleyball, he texted me and just asked what i was doing and how i had been. it seemed like he missed me. Two nights later, talking both days, I went to one of our mutual friends birthday night at a local bar. He was there, i got really drunk, and his friend took me home (male friend whom has a gf that was out of town) and my ex got extremely jealous! He told me he didnt love me anymore and ‘didnt know who i was anymore’. After 3 more days, he asked to meet up and talk, i had just moved and he came to see my new place (i was supposed to move in with him by the way) and we had sex. Its been 3 weeks and we are now seeing each other every day! going out to the bars TOGETHER, grocery shopping again, even spending the night and NOT having sex. To me, everything has been so great, like starting over!! Then i saw he was messaging girls on tinder to come over and shit. I confronted him about it, he said it was ‘just when he was bored’ and he would never meet up with them cuz he is super happy with us. I made it clear that if he ever had sex with someone else, i would never talk with him again. so why after i say that, does he still messge girls on a hook up app?!? Am i not on the right path and thinking eerything isn as good for him as it is for me? How do i know he is REALLY invested in us and not messing with me to have sex? Any advice would be awesome! Thanks!

    • Get the hell out of there. No guy who’s happy in his relationship has an active account on tinder, sounds like he’s playing you and trying to get some on the side. Unless he’s willing to delete it in front of you and own up to what he’s doing I wouldn’t bother trying to move forward with him.

      • Thanks for the quick response Ryan. I confronted him again and he deleted it like you said! He said that he doesnt want anyone else and is the happiest hes ever been in any relationship. But thats the thing, even though he deleted the tinder, does that mean he wants that commitment title? Should i wait for him to bring it up?

        Thank you again Ryan!

        • Awesome!

          I don’t know if he does or not, but actions speak louder than words or titles. If he’s doing all the stuff you’d do in a serious relationship, even though your “title” is casual dating, who cares?

          Hope things keep working out for you :)

  10. I recently started dating my best male friend. We have known each other for 7yrs. In the past we have cheated on our exes with each other but then we stopped messing around and kept being really good friends. This is the first time we date each other and it feels great. What i am worried about is if this will only be a summer thing or not? He is currently living upnorth and im in the south due to school. His family knows we are dating so do mine and he’s already told certain friends. How do i know if we can carry on dating if he has to go back up north in a month? Will it work out? What can I do to maintain our dating life together? Please lend me some advice. Thank you.

    • I wish I had a crystal ball, but short of that there’s no way to say for sure whether or not this casual dating thing turns into a serious relationship.

      If you really want to know I’d ask him. Where does he see you when he goes up north? Is that something you want, and if so, does he want the same? Is it feasible for both of you?

      Long term, long distance relationships are basically impossible, so be careful here. Consider your wants and needs. Try to figure out if you want it because it fits your life, or if you want it because it feels good right now and you don’t want it to end.

  11. Hi I have been dating this guy for about 6-7 months now. We talk on the phone almost everyday and usually meet 2-3 times a week but it’s mostly unplanned and at night after his work as he works full time and is very busy with work and also renovating his house during the weekends. He has taken me to his work place to meet everyone and also during the past month I have met some members of his family and he took me out to dinner with them. At times when I go over to his place he leaves his house keys with me so that I leave when I’m comfortable. I have invited him a few times to come out to dinner with my friends and my sister but he has never made it because he’s been busy. Problem is whenever I tell him that I love him he says thanks. I have asked him wether he loves me or not and he said he likes me a lot but he’s been through a lot of heart breaks in the past and would rather take his time to get to know me and say it whenever he feels secure and comfortable. I’m not sure if he just likes the benefits of casual dating or wants to be serious. Should I give him more time?

    • I’m so happy you posted here! I think it would’ve been sad if you left.

      The guy leaves you house keys, introduces you to friends and family, brings you to his workplace – he’s clearly up for a serious relationship.

      You can’t force love. And you know what’s way better than a false I love you from a man? A man who’s willing to be straight up and honest with you instead of running for the hills.

      If he’s scared, respect that. As long as he’s doing all the other things you’d do in a serious relationship, I can’t see him being in it for the benefits of casual dating. Sounds like a solid dude who’s just gunshy – give him a chance and see how it goes!

      • Hi Ryan!
        I finally got the nerve to end things with a guy who I felt wasn’t putting in enough effort. I feel much better, like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders but I also wonder if I ended things too prematurely. We have been seeing eachother for 5 months and he travels for work a lot. At first, when he would return home, he’d schedule time for us to meet. But for the past 3 mos, he doesn’t really follow up with me any more. I barely know when he’s in town or not. I feel like an after thought like when plans fall through with other people,that’s when he calls me. He always calls me at the last minute to meet and never plans anything in advance and we don’t do anything nice together. Everything seems to be on his terms and on his time. And what’s worst is that I don’t feel like we are getting to know eachother deeply at all, even after 5 mos. We already had the exclusivity talk so apparently we are exclusive but there is no title. . I told him my concerns 2 mos ago and he promised that he’d try to be better because he really likes me, but he’s mostly gotten worst. The other day he was talking to me as if our relationship was progressing, which I was totally shocked by because I couldn’t imagine anyone calling this progression. I don’t think he really listens to me. I’m a very direct woman so I was very straightforward about what I needed from him in order to make things work but it’s like he’s not listening. He told me that he has so many other obligations that it’s hard to see me but I work full time, I run my own business on the side, and I still hang out with friends, so if I can make time for him, it’s seems ridiculous that he can’t make time for me. And the other day when I was busy and wasn’t answering his calls, he started questioning me and sending me a ton of messages. In fact, every time I don’t answer him he panics and thinks that I’m no longer interested in seeing him anymore. For the life of me I can’t figure out why a guy can be so lazy with you and never make time for you but all the sudden care when you are focused on your own life. I want to know if it was smart for me to just end things or should I have talked to him one more time to see if he would change. I felt like maybe he does care because every time I get busy, he starts to freak out. So I assumed that maybe that’s a sign that he cares but I know it’s silly to think that. What do you think?

  12. I met this guy at a bar and hooked up with him within two hours, I was really attracted to him and could not control myself. I can’t say that I expected anything from that but he began smooth talking and saying all this stuff like he wanted to get to know me better, he only likes to be with one person, I am special and rare. However he lives out of state and comes into town once a week about every one or two months. He only texts me when he is in town and has NEVER called me. At one point when we were together he said “I LOVE YOU.” His actions contradict his words as I have never been so intimate with someone who acts like they could care less, but acts like they are in love with me when they are with me. I have made excuses not to see him a few times but he always seems to text me when he is in town. I confronted him via text that I like him but do not want to be deceived, and then he described the relationship as casual. I am just looking for confirmation that this guy is full of crap and just using me. I don’t plan to see him again despite how much I really really really liked him (unfortunately)

  13. ahh they just dont like the way you look so they just want to have sex with your body only when they find someone appealing to them they will apply but the woman do it more far worse then the men and the woman are more judgemental on physical outward appearances

  14. Thank you for this article! I have been really seeing things differently in the last year with how I am dating. I am learning that the couple guys that I dated in the past couple years that were quick (within two weeks) to want to be called “boyfriend” ended up fizzling faster than that talk happened. I am learning that to develop something solid and meaningful, it takes time. Enter the guy I am dating now. We started off as friends late last year and then one thing led to another and we were on a date, dating and sleeping together. He and I both have expressed that we have never been able to be in a relationship without being completely intertwined with the other person; that we both were scared of that happening again. He is also focusing on his sobriety and I have some background with that as well and realize that comes first. Over the last 9 months, he has broken it off a couple times b/c he could tell I wanted more and I have also called it off a couple times as well b/c he wasn’t showing up how I needed him to. His last relationship was really,really unhealthy and he said it tore him up-and put him in such a depression. He said he never wants to feel that pain again.This last stint of us not talking lasted 2 months. We have been dating again now for almost 2 months. One of the things I have always loved about him was how honest he has been. I have never trusted a man 100% the way I do him. From the beginning he has been clear that he isn’t dating or sleeping with anyone else nor is interested in it. But also that something is blocking his heart to go further into a relationship (I know it sounds cheesy but he’s been so honest with me this whole time I don’t see a reason for him to just use that as a douche cliché statement). So I have just sat back and let things unfold naturally without pushing a “what are we” talk. I have a pillow and toothbrush over at his house, I have met his kids and he has met mine once, when we have free time, we are spending it with each other-at least 2 or 3x a week. Unless he has his kids…then we don’t hang out much b/c he wants to focus on them. I have told him a couple times what I need in this and he has reciprocated and stepped up, he has started to be able to tell me he misses me when we can’t see each other. I stay the night a couple times a week and we laugh a lot. He is cooking me a birthday dinner tomorrow since I will be out of town for my bday this weekend. I guess my question is I feel him slowly letting things develop naturally and am wondering if I am being a fool sticking around hoping this will turn into a relationship? I kind of feel like it already is except he isn’t calling me his girlfriend? Thoughts?

    • I love the bit about calling him out when he isn’t showing up the way you need him to show up, great awareness.

      Don’t worry too much about labels, whether it’s casual dating or serious relationship doesn’t matter if the actual dynamics don’t match the label.

      To me, it sounds like you’re beyond casual dating. Meeting kids, staying over, making changes when your partner brings up an issue – those are all great signs.

      Maybe he has a hang up about calling you his girlfriend? Either way, if it’s going to be a serious relationship he does have to get over that at some point.

      I don’t think you’re being a fool as long as it’s *actually* developing into a serious relationship. Nothing wrong with taking it slow as long as you know what you want from the relationship and it’s trending in that direction.

      • Thanks for your reply, Ryan! So, curious what your thoughts are when you wrote as long as it’s “actually” turning into a serious relationship? Does that have more to do with what I want out of it?

        • Exactly :)

          The exact definition of a serious relationship varies from person to person.

          If you feel like you’re closer to a serious relationship than casual dating, it’s worth sticking around to see how it develops.

          The reason I said *actually* is because sometimes people say things are getting serious but their actions don’t back it up.

          • Ok. Right, talk is cheap. got it!

            One other question, pretty please! One thing that is bugging me is that he doesn’t keep in contact with me as much as I would like. I understand that texting all the time is not sustainable & can be annoying. But I really would like to talk to him every day when we aren’t able to see each other. I don’t even need long hours on the phone…just a call on our way home from work to see how our day was. Right now we text probably 3-4x week just to say hi…I’ve called him a couple times but I feel weird doing it. He has called me before too but it’s just not consistent. When I do call him, he’s always receptive. Answers usually always or calls me right back.
            I understand saying something to him the wrong way could make him feel like he is being given a checklist and if he’s calling to check it off, I don’t think I would really like it. But I also understand that I should voice what I want and need at times too….how do you think I approach it? Do I just do the calling on my way home to encourage that? Or do I say something?

            Thank you for all your responses so far!

  15. started dating this guy 2 months ago. We were both just out of
    serious relationships but jumped into the relationship pretty fast. He
    is having a hard time getting over this last girlfriend and a month
    ago asked for some space. I gave him what he wanted. He told me he
    still wanted to be with me but needed some space to clear his head. He
    told me he would understand if I wanted to walk away but he hoped I
    wouldn’t. A week later he asked me to be his girlfriend officially. We
    talk everyday and see each other almost everyday. We have met each
    others kids and our kids get along really well. We have met each
    other’s family’s and they all support our relationship. He still has
    moments when he is sad about his ex but they are getting less and
    less. We are open about it and he vents to me when he thinks of
    something. It’s hard for me to hear because naturally I want to be the
    only girl he thinks about. He keeps assuring me he is getting better
    everyday he tells me he loves me and he hopes we make it long term.
    This is all good and everything but the thing that bothers me is he
    says this summer has to be about him, he needs time to better himself
    and make himself who he wants to be. I do want him to be happy and I
    do support him bettering himself but he says he can’t give 100% to the
    relationship while he does that. But some days it feels like he is
    giving 100% other days not so much. My biggest worry is that he will
    get through all this and decide I’m not what he wants. I’ve been with
    some real jerks (full on abusive relationships) and he is the first
    nice guy I’ve been with so it was easy to get attached. He is
    understanding of my natural issues from the past relationships and a
    genuine nice guy. Im worried it will end when he feels better. Should
    I stick around?

    • Some days I give 100% to my relationship, other days I make excuses about why I don’t. That part is pretty normal.

      What gets me is the bit about focusing on himself. I’m not sure I understand – is he travelling somewhere? Are you separating for a while? What exactly is happening when he says the summer “has to be about him”?

      • Mostly he is just spending it getting back in shape, building his career back up and focusing on his kids. All great things that I support of course. But through all this he says he wants me in his life as his girlfriend but he won’t be able to put everything in that he normally would. I’m fine with it for sure because he is a great man but I don’t want to stick around investing myself emotionally only to get hurt in the end.

        • If you leave now you’ll wonder if it would’ve worked out.

          Take the time and work on yourself as well. If you feel dissatisfied you can always leave with a clear conscience knowing you gave it a shot.

          • That is very good advice and what I was kind of thinking. As far as the relationship goes it’s going really well. Just the outside stuff that gets confusing. Thank you for the advice!

          • Something’s changed and I’m wondering if it’s time to get out. We broke up because he says he can’t give me what I deserve emotionally but he still wants me around. He said he thinks he will be feeling better in a couple months but for now he can’t be in a relationship. So I backed off and he stepped up. He calls or text daily, he acts more in a relationship then he did when we had the label. Fear of commitment maybe? Or just looking for companionship without commitment?

  16. I started casually seeing an acquaintance for about a month, and in that month we didn’t talk about the relationship but there very strong signs of our feelings towards each other. I would sleep over each time we hung out, and we would hang out in a “datey” way in front of both of our best friends (cuddling, making plans to sleep over, friends knew we were together). He’s very shy, but he became very comfortable around me and would constantly compliment me and be affectionate (tell me I’m beautiful, intense eye contact during making out, saying he’d love to see my hometown, always being down to hang out, he’d often be late for work so we could lay in bed together longer in the morning, we haven’t had sex yet because I’m not ready and he respects that, we hung out for hours just cuddling and listening to music, we have made it clear we intend to be in each others lives in the upcoming year.)

    About a month into it though, our mutual friend prompted him to be honest about his expectations and he told me that he didn’t want a relationship. This was hard for me to hear (mostly because I want one, and was under the impression he did). He said he’s too immature to make someone feel special like he wants, and that he just really doesn’t want a relationship right now. We talked about it and agreed to continue to casually see each other, and get to know each other. I made it clear that I’m up for a relationship, but respect him and would like to continue to get to know him without pressure. While talking though, he contradicted himself and said both that “he views me as more than a friend” but also “doesn’t have romantic feelings” — while it hurts to hear he doesn’t feel romantically about me, I’m also not too worried because I think those feelings take longer to develop in others… He said he doesn’t want things to get serious, but that doesn’t line up with his actions in my eyes. Side note, while we haven’t officially yet talked about exclusivity, our mutual friend feels very assured that he wants to be exclusive and respects me/”the relationship” enough to not bring others into it.

    So! My question is, does this sound like a guy who will just need some time to develop and understand his feelings, and we may move to being authentically serious, or am I setting myself up? He has had a successful relationship in the past, so he isn’t incapable of that. I know that I will develop serious feelings for him, and I am willing to take my time and respect his needs, but I am also afraid of being the only one who falls.

    • To me – and I say this with extremely limited information about him – he sounds like a guy who wants sex but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings or make you feel uncomfortable.

      It can be really scary being crazy about someone who doesn’t return the feeling. Look at your options though… take the leap, and potentially you experience casual dating becoming a serious relationship. Don’t take the leap, and you’re safe, but you also kill your chances of experiencing a great relationship.

      When your gut tells you things don’t make sense, you’re usually right. One of the best skills you can learn is developing the confidence to trust that feeling and call out what you think is happening, even when it’s uncomfortable.

      I’d ask him what’s going on and explain what you just explained here. If you agree with me on the sex bit, ask him directly if he just doesn’t want to wait around, and is trying to avoid hurting or pressuring you.

      Let me know how it goes!

  17. Hi I met a guy on the darting app. We met 3times. First date was just having lunch. 2nd time I stayed over at his place. 3rd time we spend 2nights togather and he introduced me to his friends not as his gf. I wasn’t sure our relationship is serious or not. I thought it was not just hookup tho. he texted me why I am still logging to the dating app. What are you looking for. He said he is disappointed. I’m not native English speaker and our cultural background is different. Maybe I miss his signs. Maybe it was my bad logging into the app. Was this really bad thing?? I don’t know what should I do now I think I still like him.

    • This is a perfect example of miscommunication. All that needs to happen is a talk – ask him what he wants and explain what you want. If the issue is you logging into the site, let me know you weren’t aware that he viewed you as exclusive already.

      If he’s not able to forgive you and move past that, he’d probably be a difficult person to have a serious relationship with anyway. It’s a pretty minor offence and not one that contradicted any agreements between you.

      • Thank you for giving your opinions. We talked about little bit stil don’t know our relationship. I guess getting serious tho. I actually delated my account. You know sometimes I just loggin without any thought. I do not want him to check me too. Also he told me that he removed me from his app so now he can’t check whether I login or not. He forgave me this time but he told me no more lies even it is bad thing. I am trying to be honest all the time tho. I am happy to meet him and staying with him now but idk how things change in the future.

  18. Hello, I dated a guy for the past one and a half year. We had started off as friends and later we dveloped feelings for each other. We’ve always have a lot of fun with eaxh other,so we got into a relationship. But for some reason our relationship seemed like stuck in place and dint move forward. So then we broke up. But still we met quite often, went out and stuff so we ended up getting back into the relationship. Things were great for a few months but again we came to the stand still point.So he broke up with me again.
    Now its been 2 months since our break up and we seem to be falling back in the same pattern of chatting each day, meeting up quite often. And we still have feelings for each other. But idk why our relatonship wont work out? I would really want it to work out as we’d be great together!
    Thanks for helping! :)

    • What do you mean stuck in place?

      • By stuck in a place i mean, our relationship seems like it isnt going anywhere. Not moving forward. Idk why this happens.

        • I know – what specifically though do you mean by your relationship is stuck in place? What move forward are you looking for that isn’t happening?

          To put it another way, what would your relationship look like if it was moving forward?

          • Okay, so if we were moving forward, we’d be totally in the “we” mindset where we act as one unit. At the moment “we” factor isnt so strong. Idk why that is. But i think its because were are still in college and living with our parents and not independant yet and studies should be our priority. When i look at my friends who are in a serious relationship, either one of the girl or the guy or both of them live on their own. So that i guess helps them spend more time with their bfs because they can stay over many times or just live in with them.So what do you think bout this?
            Again i think we never talk about the future, because somewhere in my mind i think, its scary to dream about it even though i want to. Because we dont know next for masters where we would go and our paths might seperate which would be really sad.so im stuck in the “live the moment” phase out of fear.
            So my relationship doesnt feel like getting serious, it stays kinda casual-ish , we talk a lot, meet up, go on dates, make out. But then it starts getting monotonous and boring after a while even though we love each others company. And seeing friends getting all serious ,planning how theyd like to grow old with each other, our relationship seems like nothing and we break up. But then we start missing each other and again start hanging out and talk all the time. Its so weird, idk how to solve this.

            • is there a solution for my situation Ryan?

              • Thanks for this, it’s exactly the info I needed.

                Yes, of course – I think you provided it yourself. You need to talk about the future and plan together.

                If you don’t move forward, things feel stale. If you break up because things feel stale (but you don’t have any serious relationship problems) you’ll likely end up back together again if your desire for a relationship isn’t fulfilled elsewhere.

                It’s scary for sure, but you’re right about not planning causing it to feel like you’re stuck in casual dating mode. A relationship is just a combination of friendship and dating for a really long time.

                Basically, your dating life sounds good, but your friendship is at an impasse because of an uncertain future. This won’t be resolved until you plan and commit to maintaining your future friendship together. Sit down and have a serious talk, discuss schools, start applying together if that’s where you’re at and what you’d like to do. Let me know how it goes!

              • Thanks Ryan ! I guess ill have to gather courage and have “the talk”. :)

  19. I am a gay male and I have been talking to a guy that I have known now for over a year now, we met online and have started a long distance type of relationship where I go out to see him at least once a month and we are always in constant communication either through snapchat, facetime, texts, etc. He is still going through a coming out process and I have now been introduced to his close friends and roommates and his brothers and sisters know about me now but not his parents. He tells me he isn’t looking for anything serious because he doesn’t know if the gay life is something that he is ok with. He tells me one thing but his actions make me think otherwise. We have an intense attraction to each other, our chemistry is amazing and he has trust me to be part of this part of his life. I don’t know if I should pay more attention to the words that come out of his mouth or his actions that are opposite to it. We love to just spend time with each other and we can have fun just sitting at the beach or out with friends or in bed watching TV. He tells me he loves me all the time and that no matter how, he wants me in his life for a very long time. Please help me in figuring this puzzle in my head!

    • It’s a shame when someone is hesitant to love someone fully because of societal factors. I hope my kids grow up in a world where being gay isn’t something you have to weigh the pros and cons of before accepting it as who you are.

      I don’t doubt this guy is being genuine with you. I think the struggle is more between him and his issues with accepting that he’s a gay man and will have certain challenges associated with being open about who he truly is.

      The problem you have is whether or not you can live with someone who isn’t out. If you support him and are patient with him, maybe he’ll come out, maybe he won’t. Ask yourself if you’re honestly OK with the chances of that happening or if you’d like to find someone who’s open and can fully bring you into their life in all respects.

      When you mention his comment about “not being sure if gay life is for him” what I read is “I’m not willing to commit to being gay without my parents’ acceptance.” Seems like that’s the only thing holding him back, seeing as his siblings and friends know. I’m not going to pretend I know how scary that is, but I can tell you that I’ve admitted some scary things to people I love and have been rejected by some and accepted by others.

      For me, the relief of honesty is worth the risk of rejection. If someone can’t accept me I’d rather know about it, deal with the pain, and learn that I can keep being me even if others don’t approve. Think about the implications of living in the closet: “Who I am is not acceptable. I am unacceptable. The only way I can live is to hide who I really am. People will reject and judge me.”

      Holy shit right? That’s about as damaging as it gets. It hurts me to know people experience that on a daily basis, and I hope your boyfriend can overcome this obstacle in his life.

      • Ryan, thank you for your reply. It brought a lot of insight.
        I feel as if I can’t abandon him until he is ready to make his decision, it would be irresponsible of me to do so. A little more insight to the situation, Christian has an older sister that came out as a lesbian about 3 years ago, for a while after, his family cut communication and it really tore the family apart. Today, there is communication with her and she has attended SOME family events but for the most part, there is little communication with her and their family which weighs heavy to Christian.
        Christian and I never expected our interaction to take this road, we never knew that we would fall for each other the way we have, to have developed this love for each other. I truly care for him and I want to fulfill this journey to be with him, I want him to be happy with the choice he ends up making. When I am with him, he is very courageous and I see him grow as a person, he takes risks as simple as holding my hand in public, coming out to his siblings while I am with him, coming out to his friends but as soon as I am away, he goes back to his dark side.
        When we started, we began as something casual, I knew he was exploring a curiosity that he had, that it could have been a summer fling a year ago, but for him to still want me around, to tell me he loves, to take the risk of introducing me to his friends and siblings is progress worth sticking around for right? I have never felt this way about a man before, to want to be with him not just from a sexual perspective but to truly care about him and his safety and to want to be there for him through this………..it’s a deep collection that we have. Are all these signs that he wants me to be around for a long time even if there is conflict in his head?

        • Careful with the concept of obligation, that can be a really dangerous road. The perception that you can’t abandon someone or that you’re obligated to them in some way can lead to unhealthy dynamics.

          I’m sorry to hear about his older sister. The decision his parents made was incredibly short-sighted and ignorant. It really sheds light on why he would be hesitant to come out to them.

          To explain his apparently contradictory behaviour within your serious relationship, here’s a quick bit most people are unaware of when it comes to the psychology of personality:

          Situations provide mental “pressure” to act in certain ways. Any person is capable of any behaviour. If you think of it like a spectrum, base personality would be like a peg placed somewhere on the spectrum. The actual behaviour is like an elastic around the peg… with enough force the elastic can be stretched to anywhere on the spectrum, although it takes a lot of force to move the elastic far away from the peg. Over long periods of time, the peg slides around the spectrum to wherever the tension of the elastic is pulling it.

          Imagine Christian in between coming out and not. You, his siblings, and his supportive friends are a positive force stretching the elastic towards acceptance, openness, and authentic expression of who he is. His parents are a negative force (in this specific respect) stretching the elastic towards homophobia, guilt, shame, and the other things that keep him from coming out.

          He never really changes. The only thing that changes are the social forces acting to influence his behaviour.

          As long as someone has two roughly equivalent forces acting on them, they sort of cancel out and the person remains in the middle.

          I can’t imagine anyone who’s in a loving, serious relationship with a supportive partner not wanting them around. If you haven’t opened up to him about the way you feel, I think it would be a really positive conversation to have.

          • He knows how I feel, that I care about him and he has mentioned that he doesn’t expect me to wait around for him through this process because at the same time the final decision might not be in my favor. Right now we are in a place where we both know that we love each other but that at the same time we can’t hold each other to expectations. It’s just a tough scenario that I’ve never been in, I’m 28 years old and this is all new to me. Thank you again for your insight, we shall see where this road leads me to

  20. Hi Ryan, I just came a across this site & was wondering if you can help. I’m a single mom that’s been divorced for 4 years & I haven’t really had a relationship in that time. I’ve been focusing on rebuilding myself, being there for my kids & trying to finish my degree. I have been on a few dates here & there from guys I met on dating sites. I would always be upfront with them that i had kids, but the would always seem after 2 or 3 dates to stop taking to me.
    Recently I met this guy on Tinder, I didn’t tell him I had kids bc I wanted him to know me for me – the first 2 dates w met at a bar so I didn’t want to bring it up, 3rd date we went out to the movies & the 4 the 4th date he invited me over to his place for dinner. I felt the private setting was more appropriate to bring up that I had kids. When I did though he started to panic & basically said he was tired & asked me to leave. I haven’t heard from him since. Should I message him telling him that I’m just looking to date & not a serious commitment or someone to be in my kids lives if that’s what he freaking out about. I honestly just want a relationship w someone bc I want companionship. Sorry I know that sounds weird, but i don’t want a serious relationship. Advice?

    • Frustrating situation! Here are my thoughts…

      You’re ruining your own chances a bit here. Imagine three types of guys on an online dating site:

      1) Guy wants a woman with kids

      2) Guy doesn’t want a woman with kids

      3) Guy is open to a woman with kids

      If you aren’t mentioning kids in your profile, or selecting the box that says “Yes, I have children”, you’re eliminating type 1 while attracting type 2 and 3. Mention your kids in your profile, and you’ll attract type 1 and 3 while filtering out type 2. Less of a pool to draw from, but you won’t be wasting your time.


      Don’t mention your kids in your profile, don’t mention them in real life, and keep things super casual and distant. Obviously there’s the risk that you meet someone and fall for each other, in which case you have to explain why you weren’t upfront and hope he understands.

  21. Hi Ryan,

    So hoping you can give me some advice. I’ve been seeing this guy for about 7 months now, we see each other at least 2 times or more during the week and always on the weekend sometime. We met through a mutual friend when I was with my ex of 5 years, we never initiated anything sexually or emotionally until after I was broken up with my ex for sometime. He was the one to ask me out on our first date and honestly I didn’t last too long in the sex department only after 2 dates. I didn’t really know holding out sex was a thing to be honest since my last boyfriend was my first and my high school boyfriend. I’m very inexpeirenced when it comes to dating, but we get along great he makes me laugh and we always have a great time together. He’s always wanting to cuddle and makes excuses for the small touches. He even invited me to play on his co-ed baseball team this summer with his friends. He hasn’t had a girlfriend for at least 3 years and he’s told me everyone of his girlfriends have cheated on him and that’s why they’ve never worked. I’m not a cheater, it never even crosses my mind when I’m in another group setting and he’s not around. When we are together in public people think we are a couple and it gets awkward at times when we haven’t had that discussion yet. I’ve tried to bring it up a few months ago but I don’t think I did it quite right since he tried to avoid the subject. I’m just wondering if I should hold out a little longer to see if he’ll bring it up or should I push on the subject more. I’m deffinately not a pusher it’s just not who I am so I keep telling myself that I’m fine with the way things are, but it’s hard because my family knows about him and want to meet him but I haven’t brought him around for this very reason. Hope you can help me out :)

    • If a guy dates you for 7 months but still isn’t willing to call you his girlfriend, I’m not sure when he will be. (Any ladies reading this – feel free to comment with how long it was before your casual dating phase became an “official” relationship.)

      I’d definitely bring it up and if he tries to avoid it be assertive. “I get that you don’t want to talk about it, but I’ve been with you for 7 months and I want to know if you see this going anywhere.”

      If there’s still resistance, try “I know you’ve had bad experiences before. If you’re hesitant to commit I can understand that, as long as you’re open with me and we talk about it.”

      Let me know how it works out!

  22. Hello, so I need help. There’s this guy I meet (online, I know it’s starting bad already). Well we made plans to meet right off the bat as a casual fling. I had never done anything like this before ( and on top of that I’m 25 and have never been in any sort of relationship much less had physical contact with a guy before this, if you know what I mean). We meet and things happened. The next day I went through my day like any other all the while not really giving the night before much thought. To me it was a one night stand, or so I thought. Later that night he texted requesting for me to go over to his place again. Naturally, because I find I’m addicted to him ( or certain parts of him anyways), I went. Then things just started to go down hill from there. About 5 days after that we literally spent 12 hours a day together 7 days a week. We both started to stay over each other’s places. And we both have stuff at each other’s places, he’s meet whole family, I have not meet any of his. Problem #1: he is still seeing other girls, because it’s a casual relationship as he says. #2 But I’m not “allowed” to see other people. #3 I’ve tried to break things off with him but he insists on keeping me around. I don’t not want to stop seeing him, but he makes it extremely difficult to want to go anywhere near him. I’ve literally told him about 30 reasons as to why we should to stop seeing each other, one main reason is because I developed strong feelings for him. But everytime I try he shuts me down and we end up in bed. We’ve had a big fight about a girl he swears up and down he never saw but since we hide nothing from each other and he gave me his phone pin I checked his phone. When the fight occurred he erased the messages and pretty much I let him have his way, as always. Him knowing about my teue feelings for him makes it easy for him to manipulate me. But I’m the dumb one for always running back when he calls or messages. I would like to hear some words of wisdom as to how I can make it clear that “casual” isn’t working for me. Not that I want him to commit or to commit because honestly knowing him now ( how he really is) I know the he is most likely not someone i should waist more time on. But as i said I’m not ready to let him go either. Please help.

    • Meeting online isn’t a bad thing at all. The red flags for me are:

      1) You have unequal freedoms within the relationship

      2) You want out but feel unable to enforce your boundaries

      It’s casual dating for him, and a serious relationship for you. If we were in session together, my questions for you would be:

      What are you getting out of this relationship? When you’re frustrated and experiencing negative feelings, what parts of you are experiencing positive feelings? You are perfectly capable of doing differently, but you choose to let him have his way – what does this provide for you?

      • I let myself, that’s the real problem. I don’t cry about it, I’m pretty emotionally unattached to him, it’s more as if I’ve grown to be accepting of the fact the he is part of my life (for now, anyways). To be completely honest i believe the reason from me letting him.have his way is because I’m lazy to been put up a fight, I’d rather just avoid anything that has to do with confrontation.
        From the beginning I agreed to the way things are now. There aren’t much benefits coming my way, except for the time we spend together. Which is another issue. He told me that in all the time he’s been seeing girls that our so called friendship/relationship is the closest he’s come to real boyfriend/girlfriend relationship ever, which kind of makes me feel not special but sad for him. He also said that he can’t let me go because I’m his only girl friend he’s ever had. Even if we took the physical part out of the mix he’d still want me around.
        I did, however, stop being so dependent on him it’s been about 2 weeks that we’ve really not hung out due to me not texting. He’s been the one calling and texting me. Also this just happened yesterday, I hadn’t texted him in about a week, so he sent me a message letting me know he was going out of town. I thought it’s not my business really, what he’s up to so why do i need to know this. He said because he just wanted to let me know in case of an emergency or something like that. But he keeps me involved in his life and although he doesn’t want to commit he speaks of long term plans for us being together for future events ie: December is months away but he has plans for us already.

  23. Message:
    hi ryan, i met this guy on tinder 5 months ago he lives 2 hours from
    me. i went into this as a very casual relationship as he did, we have
    such a great time together,and we both were so excited to see each
    other when he came to visit! i realized i was getting very close with
    him in the past few months,but never brought it up in
    conversation,although there were little things mentioned from him,as
    in we should go here or there,ie concerts,vacation etc…i went with
    those ideas of course….then last time he visited,he told me that he
    had started talking to someone else, as he wanted a more serious
    relationship! i was devastated, hit me like a punch in the stomach! at
    that point i told him,i was possibly falling in love with him…he was
    shocked to hear this, said he was now confused,and thought i was only
    looking for casual, he is correct about that!! should i have said
    something sooner about my feelings toward him? he now wants to see me
    next week as friends, said he really likes me a lot,and wants to stay
    friends(without the benefits)….that he has the best time when he’s
    with me!! he keeps saying, that if he lived here or i,where he
    lives,it would work,but because he has kids and lives far away he
    dosen’t see a chance for a relationship!!…when he informed me of
    this break up,he asked” would you move close to me?” to which i
    replied no!! oh what to do? such a great guy!!

    • A genuine case of paths going in different directions.

      Think of your life like train tracks, and you travelling along them. A great relationship is when two sets of tracks converge and run parallel. As soon as someone else’s tracks move away from yours, you really have to strain to keep holding on to them. Strain too hard, and you derail your own ride to join another person’s.

      You know what you want to do. If you don’t want to move there, don’t. Enjoy what you’ve had together and remember the positives.

      You might like this post I wrote on break ups: http://www.ryananswers.com/never-fail-at-a-relationship-again/

  24. Hi Ryan, I’ve been casually dating/ seeing this guy for 4 months (we have been sexually intimate from the start) we probably see each other once or twice a month, when we do its amazing, I recently asked where we stand and the response I got was… ‘Not looking for a relationship because of pressure or compilations, but not seeing anyone else’ I’m unsure how to take this? What does it mean! Am I over thinking this? Advice please! Thank you :)

    • What I see is “I don’t want to move forward because of pressure, but I’m not seeing anyone else so I’m open to a serious relationship. If we move past casual dating, it has to be because it makes sense, and not because one or both of us feels cornered into doing so.”

  25. Hi, so I have been with this guy for 5 months now. When we first met we agreed that we didnt want to get into a relationship and we wanted companionship. However, we became intimate on our third hangout. I didn’t feel right about this because it felt that I was just there for the sex. When I asked him what it meant he said its just sex and he wanted to quit and we did call it off. After a week, he comes by my place and says he is sorry and that he really likes me, he told me how he was badly hurt by his last girlfriend and he stopped dating for 2 years as his mom told him to focus on graduating but he did have one night stands. 2 weeks later he asks me to meet his mom because he tells his mom everything and she knows about all his gf and not his one-night stands. When he wanted to be intimate after that, I told him that its going to lead to me liking him eventually and he said he was fine with that. We became fb friends and all his friends knew me compared to the first few months. He buys me gifts, pay for me and compliments me. However, 1) I am not sure if I am still there because of the sex? Also, recently I came across a fb message of his with another girl.In July the girl says she miss having sex with him and he says he misses that “smashing tits”, however this was before I met his mom and it didnt progress to anything serious (I hope). He still talks to her now (August) but there wasnt anything sexual, she did say Love as her last message. I know this was not right on my part to be looking at his fb messages. 2) I just need to know if this guy is just playing me? Also, 3) I am Asian and hes Caucasian and I dont know if sex comes first because its the other way around from where I come from. I know I dont want to jump into a serious a relationship right now, I want to get to know him first but being intimate with him makes it hard. How do I not be intimate without making him feel like I dont like him? How do I make him understand that I want to get to know him before? Thanks a bunch!

    • No way to know if he’s playing you. That’s the scary part about relationships, you can never truly know someone’s intentions. Look at his actions – do they point towards genuine interest?

      Well, if you’d like to have sex-free casual dating then a serious a relationship with sex, explain that to him. Let him know you’re into him and are OK with casual dating, but you don’t want to have frequent sex until you’re in a serious relationship together. Let him know it’s nothing about him, just a cultural difference between the two of you.

  26. Brandon and myself are Christians we would not be sleeping over.when I visit him I would be in a hotel. And when he would visit me the same thing. And because he lives in Texas and I live in Colorado there would be no unscheduled time together it would have to be scheduled. Unless he is visiting near a Sunday, meeting friends will be hard too. In our situation what would be the signs that we would be graduating from dating to a serious relationship?

    • Sounds like a difficult framework to work within. Vulnerability, telling each other personal or intimate details, talking about plans for the future, and emotional comfort and closeness are the serious relationship signs I would look for.

  27. I’ve been dating this guy for three months now he had me meet his family n close friends, we spend a lot of time that wasn’t planned for I have stuff at his house we sleep together for many nights without having sex. But he’s saying that he can’t be in a relationship right now because of some problems he has in his life. My question is how do I deal with this what should I do?

    • Well it might not be called a relationship, but it sounds exactly like one. I’d ask him if he’s hesitant about the label… and if not, how being in a relationship would be different than what you’re doing now.

  28. Hi Ryan,
    So here’s the deal I’ve been with my guy since May 2014, it started off great and thought it was going somewhere. Then I found out about other girls and there are lots of them,but I’m not his gf, but I get extremely jealous and ask questions eye and he doesn’t like it. Then there was a period where he was talking to his ex again, he’s not over her at all and she plays games with him. As of late, we fight constantly and I can’t seem to leave him alone Bc I feel like he’s always with other girls. So we fight and he’ll say we are never gonna be together, he can’t see it, etc etc. but yet he always wants me around and the minute I’m distant with him and refuse to put up with the crap he’s all over me. I love him and wanna be with him I just don’t know how to turn it around. Sorry if this is sloppy I tried to spark note a year and 4 months worth of stuff. Hope you can help.

    • Looks like you want one thing and he wants something else. Get on the same page with him and let him know there are only two options – being with you and only you, or not being with you. If he agrees but his behaviour starts slipping, you know he’s not ready to commit.

      At that point, you either break up with him or accept that you have a casual dating roller coaster that occasionally goes into serious relationship territory.

      • I’ve tried to get on the same page with him. He says he’s not ready to change. And when he’s drunk and vulnerable he says he loves me and can see us together in the long run. But when he’s on his high horse and sober I’m annoying and we’ll never work etc etc. we’ve ended things but he’ll text me back either 1 day- 1 week later needing to see me. We have sleepovers where we don’t have sex but no matter what it’s an awful feeling laying in bed next to him while he’s texting other girls.

  29. Hi Ryan,
    I’m dating a guy who seems like he’s interested in me but I’m also afraid I might be blind to the obvious. I started seeing him in early July and since then our routine has been to see each other about two times a week. We both have kids so our free time is limited. He is always the one to ask when in available next to see him. We go out on dates and also spend the night at each others house. He has never said anything like he doesn’t want a relationship. I went with him at his request to help him pick out furniture for his place. He’s very affectionate and frequently does things like kiss me in public. What I don’t like : he texts me maybe once a day and rarely calls unless he wants to see me. He hasn’t really gotten on a deeper level with me as far as revealing personal things about himself. Last week I made the mistake of asking him where things were going. He basically said it was a little early to tell but that he thought I was cool and fun and a good woman and that “we’re in a good place”. I was pretty embarrassed that I had asked and yeah kinda mad that I didn’t get the answer I wanted. So I withdrew a bit and he responded by checking to see if was OK and if everything was “good”. Also (unprompted) he told me he was sorry for being so busy and not texting or calling much but it didn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about me. Also he said he wanted me to know he did care and wasn’t in it for just ” surface fun”. We spent this Monday night and last night together. This is only the second time he’s spent two consecutive days with me. My problem: I think he should know after two months if he wants to be exclusive or not. So I’m tempted to just cut him loose but my male coworkers are telling me I’m jumping the gun. I’m I just being impatient? How much time should I give him?

    • I think your male coworkers are right. He’s making an effort to see you, showing affection publicly, he texts you every day, and calls to make plans with you. I don’t see any reason you’d be embarrassed, he gave you a positive response… and on top of that apologized for being busy and reassured you he’s thinking about you.

      I’m a bit worried based on the things you’ve said here. Is there a reason that you doubt this guy despite all these sign posts pointing to the fact that he really likes you? Rough experiences with guys before? You say you’re upset he isn’t sure about exclusivity, but the question you asked is “Where are things going?” Has he made it clear he’s seeing other people?

      Unless I’m misreading your post in a huge way, I see absolutely no reason why you’d cut this man loose.

      • Thanks for answering, Ryan. No, he hasn’t made it clear that he’s seeing other people. But I’ve always heard that unless he’s made it clear that you are exclusive, assume that he’s dating others. Yes, I’ve had bad experiences with men. So I definitely have trust issues and don’t want to get hurt again. I almost texted him something crazy yesterday because he said he couldn’t see me this weekend due to the fact that his kids’ mother was going out of town and I automatically assumed he was lying. But then he told me he would get his kids again next weekend to make sure he and I stay on the same custody schedule. Then he did something he never does, which was to call me and just chat for about half an hour and he also snuck in a little “Are you good?” as if to make sure I wasn’t mad or something. Even as I write this, I realize how paranoid my thoughts are.

        • Almost is better than did. You know what… it takes a lot to say “Yeah, I’m being paranoid”. If one part of you realizes the truth, that part of you can bring up the rest to a healthy level. Awareness is the first step, and being able to acknowledge how you feel and not beat yourself up over it is next.

          From there, question your anxious thoughts when they come up. Use a psychological technique like reframing (www.ryananswers.com/cognitive-reframing) to change your thoughts one by one, and over time, your entire mindset.

          I’m happy to hear he chatted with you and is making an effort. I hope things keep going in the right direction!

          • I have a slightly different take. I think yes, two months is a short time to be asking about getting serious. you’re still getting to know each other and it’s as much about you deciding whether you like him as it is him deciding about you. However, I think you’re totally within your rights to clarify sexual exclusivity. I won’t go to be with someone unless I know they’re not sleeping with anyone else. That’s just a basic first step for me. My rule of thumb is to raise it the date before you think your’e going to go home with him. that way you haven’t emotionally invested. the last guy i was in a relationship with was seeing someone casually who didn’t want anything more, and was more than happy to make things exclusive between us. there’s a big difference between that and then the relationship progressing to committing serious and committed. and indeed, we didn’t last the distance, unfortunately. but I had no anxieties about infidelity while it lasted. hope that helps.

  30. Hi Ryan!!

    I’ve been dating this guy for a year and 4 months. We have great conversation and he seems to be a good guy. I can never have the talk about elevating to the next level without him getting uptight, or just simply ignoring the question as a whole. 6 months into us dating he started opening up about past relationships and they all from what I heard have been a waste of his time, and he basically doesn’t trust women. He goes on to say he’s not ready for a relationship but his actions show different. Tonight I asked him if he dated other women and his response blew me away. He said that he isn’t dating “nobody” and he has friends but nothing serious.. So it made me think, I wasn’t anything serious. He then goes on to say that I always do this, and he didn’t want to have the conversation because I’m not going to get the response I’m looking for because we’ve already had this discussion. He goes on to say there are no titles, we are what we are. I was pretty upset at this point and to end the conversation he says, One day you might get a response, but let him do that, he says he understands what I want, but I know where he stands. Asking “bogus” questions like that create nothing but problems.

    Every time we have had the conversation, I always end up saying Im done and ignore him for a few days and he blows me up and acts as if he doesn’t want me to leave.

    It’s annoying! Why do men find it so hard to commit? Then when the woman is fed up, it’s like they beg us to stay? What should I do?
    I really like him, I’ve never had any issues with him in regards to other women, and we bond really well! I’m out of solutions, Can you give me some advice?

    • He isn’t dating anyone, he has friends but nothing serious. To me, he’s saying “(aside from you) I’m not dating anyone” and got angry because he’s trying to provide reassurance and you aren’t accepting it.

      If by the definition of a relationship, you have a relationship, he acts like he’s in a relationship, you do the things people in relationships do, then the argument becomes about titles. Some people hate the idea of labels because they feel it’ll change things. Maybe he doesn’t want to commit, but after a year and 4 months of only dating you I find that hard to believe.

      I wouldn’t say men have a hard time committing, I’d say people who have trust issues have a hard time committing. As long as you’re there, he’s happy. He feels safe when you’re at a distance. As soon as you leave, he gets scared. He wants you there but not close enough that you can hurt him.

      Guess you have a choice to make: do you want a guy who will call you his girlfriend, or this guy? It sucks that he runs hot and cold on you, but you also run hot and cold on him. Stop relying on him to make up his mind and make up yours. If you don’t want to deal with a guy who won’t talk about having a serious relationship, won’t call you his girlfriend, and in general emotionally shuts you out, don’t go back to him when he texts you. Appreciate him for the positive things he has to offer and let him know he’s a good guy but you want someone who’s trusting, open, and ready to commit.

  31. Hello Ryan,
    I’ve been seeing this guy for almost two months, we agreed it would be casual because he didn’t want a relationship and because I got out of a serious relationship. The thing is he starts acting like we are something more and now I’m a bit confused. Firstly, he gets jealous when I hang out with male friends, he says he doesn’t want a relationship however he wants to be exclusive. He recently is very sweet wants to cuddle after sex and also he does little things for me everyday that show he wants more. The problem is I don’t want to feel something more and then ruin this thing we have going on, however if he does all those things how can I not? Do you think he is changing his mind or maybe this is the kind of guy he is?

    • It sounds like his definition of casual dating is a bit different than yours. Your basic biology is what’s creating that feeling, so there’s nothing you can do there… you’re absolutely right that it’ll naturally turn into a serious relationship going down that road.

      Ask him straight up what’s going on. Just say what you said here “I know we talked about keeping it casual, but if things keep going the way they’re going I feel like it’s going to develop into a serious thing.”

      See what he has to say. Maybe he changed his mind, maybe he doesn’t think the things he’s doing would cause things to go from casual to serious.

  32. Hi! Your advices are extremely relatable and helpful, keep it up! I have a more personal question: I’ve been dating this guy for 3 months now, and we go out twice a week. However he keeps telling me how he doesn’t want a serious relationship as he doesn’t have time for it etc. However it kind of feels like we already are, as I know his friends and he knows mine. I don’t even know how to call this whole thing.. Could you give me any advice on how can I have a “What are we” talk?

    • Thank you!

      Depends on how long ago he said that. If he said at the beginning he wants to date casually, but now months later it feels like a serious relationship, just straight up ask him. If he said it more recently, give it some time and see how things play out.

  33. Hi,
    I’ve been seeing this guy for a really short time (3 weeks). We met through a mutual friend. On the first date, we were really open and honest and said we could tell each other everything. We even browsed our Tinder profiles together. He was really honest and open and told me stuff even his best friends don’t know about. At first, I wanted to take it slow and really see if we fit, but things went crazy intense really fast. In 3 weeks, we saw each other 9-10 times. When I sleep at his place, he leaves for work and I let myself out later. We have toothbrushes at each other’s place and he left clothes at my place. And he even implied I could go wait for him to come home at his place next Sunday. He’s a true gentleman and he is very very nice and thoughtful and cuddly when we are together, so I’m falling fast and I’m completely scared.
    Because things got intense real fast, I stopped logging into my Tinder account about a week and a half ago. But 3 days ago, he added one of my friends (without knowing) on an app (POF). He hasn’t messaged her or tried to make contact. But the fact that he might still be “shopping around” scares me because I don’t want to develop feelings for someone who isn’t ready to let go of the “multiple” dating scene.
    He has only been single for 6 months and before we met, I know he hooked up with A LOT of girls. He might even be somewhat addicted to dating apps. He was casually seeing someone on and off this summer for 3 months and at some point he was seeing other girls as well. When she said she was getting attached, they cut it off.
    I want to know if he is considering seeing other girls or if he just goes on this app out of habit or boredom. I don’t want to put any pressure on us. I want things to develop naturally and see if we can take it further when the time is right. But I am not comfortable with the idea of us seeing other people. I feel things got so intense that even if this is very recent, we are past the non-exclusive stage.
    How should I approach this? I don’t want to scare him off or come across as too intense. And I don’t want there to be any pressure as to where this is going. I am afraid the “exclusivity” talk will make him back out.

    • Don’t let fear force you to accept circumstances you aren’t happy with. Soon is subjective, you’ve squeezed what might take two or three months into three weeks. If you think you’re at the exclusive point because of how much you’ve invested in one another, let him know.

      • Thank you for your advice. Reading your articles and the comments/answers is really helpful in putting things into perspective.
        As for me and my guy, circumstances led us to have a good long talk. Mostly, the app is just a habit to pass time. I feel it’s also some sort of protection because he fears disappointing people so he’d rather prevent any expectations by agreeing early on to be exclusive. We did agree to be 100% honest with each other though. He says he’s not looking nor interested in looking, but if anything happens, he will tell me because I deserve to have all the information to decide if I want to keep going or call it quits.
        I met his friends last week and his aunt and uncle this week. Knowing he’ll be honest with me (he was with everything else so I trust he still will), I will wait a while so we get a chance to really see where this goes. It’s rare to find someone you can really be this open and comfortable with. It’s worth the try, even if I might get hurt.

  34. Hi Ryan,
    I’ve been seeing this girl for one week now and it seems we feel great in each other company. On the second date, after seeing a movie, she invited me to her place. We talked for some time but I didn’t know if she wanted to go the next step, so I didn’t. I later returned to my place wondering if I did the right thing or not. I’m quite inexperienced at relationships and don’t know how to transition from talking to becoming intimate and having sex. I’d appreciate some advice from you.

    • [Any women are welcome to add their input to my response here]

      She probably did. Casual dating can be frustrating, and most girls won’t tell you they want you to make a move. Not with words, anyway. Being alone at her place to “watch a movie” is your green light to take the relationship further; if you don’t she’ll probably assume you aren’t interested or are too shy to make a move.

      If transitioning feels awkward, it probably is. You can’t go from not holding hands, flirting, being playful, to suddenly making out. It feels weird. Set the tone early in the interaction and it won’t feel as uncomfortable.

      Think of it like a natural progression. If she’s cool with you touching her hand, then putting your arm around her shoulder, resting your hand on her leg when you’re sitting down, she’s probably OK with you kissing her. Eye contact for longer than a couple of seconds is usually an invitation, but if you’re *really* shy you can reach up and move her hair behind her ear as a final test. If she doesn’t move, you’re in.

    • Snuggling is a good intermediate step. Watch a movie on the couch with your arms around her, and see if things progress. Have fun!

  35. Hi Ryan,

    I was seeing this guys for 6 months. From the start he said he wasn’t looking for anything serious as he’d just gotten out of a serious relationship. So we did the casual thing for a while, but after a bit the relationship seemed to have changed. We started doing couply things in public like hold hands and kiss in front of our friends and near our workplace, we go on cute dates and always have a blast, he compliments me basically every 5 minutes when we’re together, and we can’t keep our hands off each other. So after seeing him once/twice a week consistently for six months, I asked him whether we could be exclusive and that’s when he hit me again with the “I’m not ready for a relationship” line. Since then I’ve said well, maybe it’s best we break it off then, and he respected that. But I really like him and we are so happy together. What should I do?

    • Unless I’m misreading your post, it sounds like you wanted a relationship, he said no, then you broke up with him.

      I’d say you made the right move. Missing someone is a normal part of breaking up – it’s a lot like quitting smoking, or heroin. Keep dating and you’ll find someone who won’t limit you to a casual fling. The reward of a serious relationship will be worth the BS that comes along with dating casually.

  36. Hi Ryan,

    So I’ve been talking to this woman. I’m 27 and she’s 35. We met through work a couple years ago and as of right now, it’s all long distance. She and I hit it off pretty good a couple months ago and had a real connection. She bought plane tickets to come see me even! (she’s going to be here in less than a week) She calls me and texts me every day, multiple times a day. She regularly uses various terms of endearments with me such as, “babe,” “baby,” “my love,” “sayang,” etc. She tells me she wants me and that she’s mine and I’m hers and has said to me, “Babe, you know that you got me,” shortly after we’re intimate. Where things fall apart? I have found a pattern but last month and this month, a week or so before her menstrual cycle, she gets very anxious and uncaring and usually ends up having an unwarranted conversation with me telling me that this isn’t going to last, she doesn’t want anything serious, she wants to keep it casual, and that it will eventually end and to enjoy it while it lasts. She’s pretty cold when she does this. Then, a day or two after that, it’s almost like it’s back to normal. So, I don’t know what to think or do. I want something serious and she knows it. I’ve told her I’m okay with taking things slow; this entire time I’ve only ever followed her lead. But I also make it clear I don’t want things to end. When she’s not having that kind of week where she’s cold and unaffectionate, it’s truly amazing between us. We get close emotionally, real close. So I’m just confused is all. How should I continue? Should I pull away? Should I act as though nothing has changed and keep on keepin’ on?

    • There’s a chance she could have PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which is basically a super severe form of PMS that causes all sorts of issues. Read up on a bit, and if it seems to describe what’s happening it might be worth having a conversation about.

      What is definitely worth having a conversation about is what’s happening. No one deserves to endure a roller coaster of emotions, the ups and downs of not knowing whether or not you have a secure relationship is extremely stressful. It can develop into different forms of anxiety and can even continue into other relationships should this one not work out.

      Let her know what’s happening and that you’re hurting as a result of it. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help.

  37. Hi there,
    I will try to make this as succinct as possible. I met a guy not long after my divorce. We met online but discovered we had many mutual friends. He has been divorced for about 4 years. We’ve been dating for 9 months. We have discussed exclusivity. Neither one of us is dating anyone else. About 5 months in, I got upset because he was only seeing me once a week. I got frustrated and ended things. He contacted me the next day to say he was confused and wanted to discuss in person. We went out to dinner at which point I explained that I was confused. Did he want to casually date or was he looking for serious? He said he wanted to casually date but eventually become serious. I asked how he felt about me dating other people, he said he couldn’t tell me what to do but didn’t really want that. I made the decision to keep seeing only him. Here we are almost 10 months in on the same path. We have gone on trips together, discuss the future, text all day every day, have met some of each others friends, etc. But we are still only seeing each other once a week, sometimes less due to a few different life issues. I’ve brought up that I don’t know how we could really be getting to know each other via text and build a future only seeing each other once a week. He says he feels we know each other well but that he agrees we need to work on seeing each other more. I should mention that we both have demanding jobs and when he was on vacation, I saw him several times that week. Since he said we needed to make seeing each other more a priority, it hasn’t happened. I don’t know what to do. I’ve voiced my opinion, he’s seemed to agree. I’ve said scary things like I see a future and want to work towards that and he hasn’t run away screaming. I just cant tell if this guy is a commitment phobe or if it truly is just his regimented work schedule. He has mentioned several times that he doesn’t invest quickly. That he’s dated a lot of women for a few months here and there (never more than 6 months) and feels he’s wasted a lot of time because he saw no future with them. His marriage was long and didn’t end because of a lack of love. He wants to get married again and have children. I’m 34 and want kids. He is 39. I just don’t want to waste more time on this guy if there isn’t a future. He has ended so many relationships that I cant see him sticking around if he didn’t see us going anywhere. Basically I am massively confused.

    • It doesn’t matter what he says or what his intentions are, if he isn’t able to offer you what you’re looking for then the ball is in your court.

      If you’re at the point where you don’t want to waste time casually dating and are ready for a serious relationship with marriage and kids, he needs to know that. If he already does and isn’t following through, let me know you don’t want to continue things if he’s unwilling to follow through on his promises.

      At 40 and 34 you’re by no means at the end of your rope, you still have time. The question you need to ask yourself is how much longer are you willing to put up with seeing this guy once a week?

  38. Hi Ryan

    I really need your expert advice on this guy I’m really interested in. I met him online though a non-hookup site and from day one I had made it clear to him that I wanted a long term committed relationship. He reassured me that he did too. Due to our busy schedules we didn’t meet until nearly a month after however we used to talk on the phone and text everyday. From his conversations I could tell that he was interested in sex only and I told him several times that that’s fine if he wants that but I’m not looking for it thus wished him luck and said my goodbye. Then he insisted that we meet and I’ll find out that he is also interested in a long term relationship, so we did. After we met, 4 days later of no communication, he said that he realized that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and really would like to casually date me. I told him No and we said our Goodbyes. A month after that he contacted me again with a new proposal. The proposal being that he really likes me and would like to have an “exclusive physical relationship” with me whereby we are both exclusively “seeing each other” (not even sure if i can say ‘seeing each other’ because it’s purely physical) and we won’t date other people. I was flabbergasted by this proposal. I’ve had people ask me to casually date or just hookup but it’s understood that we are free to see others; but never this! To top that off he keeps insisting that he really likes me and he thinks of me all the time and that he wants to see where this goes but for now let’s start off with this exclusive physical relationship. I told him ‘No thank you’ and not to contact me ever again. Did i do the right thing? I really like him and i haven’t felt any chemistry as i do with him. Hence I’m here! Thank you in advance for your advice!

    • This guy sounds like a complete waste of your time – what he wants and what you want don’t align at all. Kudos to you for sticking to your boundaries, you absolutely did the right thing!

  39. Hi Ryan –

    I am in love with my best friend, oops. :(

    My best friend is a male and I am female. I have fallin in love with him but he is having a hard time getting over his ex and doesn’t see me that way. He has told me he does not see a relationship but he does love me and hopes we can stay good friends. We hang out most every night by his doing. Since he said he didn’t want a relationship I backed way off. He text/calls me every day and we hangout nearly every night. If something comes up that either of us wants to do we just know we are going together. Yes, he knows how I feel. What I would like help with is changing how I feel so we can remain best friends. I want him to be happy and he deserves to be. I don’t want to hold him back. I worry that if I don’t change how I feel when he does decide to date I won’t be able to stay his friend and I will loose him. What should I do?

    • Tough situation!

      Everyone has needs, ranging from shelter to intimacy. If your needs for intimacy are inadvertently being met by your platonic friend, your brain is going to trigger emotions as though he was your intimate partner. Our brains default programming isn’t very good, unfortunately.

      The way to counter this is by redirecting your intimate needs somewhere else. You need to correct your brain so it knows its efforts at romance with your friend aren’t what you need or want. Try dating casually with other guys, spend some time hanging out with other guys in a platonic way, cut back on the time spent with him in boyfriend/girlfriend situations.

  40. i met this guy through a girl, she’s not really my friend….on our first date we had sex and ever since we’ve been having sex which was good…we don’t really know much about ourselves because we don’t really talk much,which led me to ask him what he wants from me which he told me that he’s not up for something serious now because his not ready for any commitment but lets see goes from here,which i wasn’t comfortable with because i already have feelings for him…have not seen him ever since but he keeps calling me…texting me telling me that keeping distance will not help matter and that we should go out….am really scared because i really love him and am scared to get my heart broken….what should i do? is there any hope of a serious relationship for us?

  41. i met this guy through a girl, she’s not really my friend….on our first date we had sex and ever since we’ve been having sex which was good…we don’t really know much about ourselves because we don’t really talk much,which led me to ask him what he wants from me which he told me that he’s not up for something serious now because his not ready for any commitment but lets see goes from here,which i wasn’t comfortable with because i already have feelings for him…have not seen him ever since but he keeps calling me…texting me telling me that keeping distance will not help matter and that we should go out….am really scared because i really love him and am scared to get my heart broken….what should i do? is there any hope of a serious relationship for us?

    • rita and shirley are d same person, thought the other one didn’t go had change name…..real name is rita……thanks

    • If he said he doesn’t want something serious, believe him. You’re only setting yourself up for hurt if you keep dating someone who has point blank said they aren’t interested in anything beyond casual dating.

  42. I have been friends with a colleague for four years and was shocked when he told me during an afternoon cocktail hour that he wanted to sleep with me. Under “a 3-beer” influence, I told him that “I could see sleeping with him too.’ That was a year ago, and we have had an awesome time since then together, both in bed and in everything we do together. We see each other at lunch or outside of work at least 2 times a week, and on most weekends. He has a key to my house and I have his garage door opener. He’s left his dog’s stuff at my house and I have bathroom shit at his. He tells me he loves me and I am head over heels. He’s attentive and sweet and usually has his credit card out so fast that I have to insist on paying sometimes. That said, he compares me a lot with his ex. She is always the school marm and I’m hot, or adventurous. He told me that he stayed with her because of the life, friends and home that they built together. He said it made him feel like a hedonist because he sometimes feels like he should have just settled for a lifestyle – one that has now drastically changed. This weekend we traveled to Seattle together, and on our way back we got to talking about this. I told him that I don’t want to build a relationship around a lifestyle, I want a lifestyle built around love. He avoided a direct response and without looking me in the eye mentioned that his situation with his ex wasn’t right then changed the subject. The subject came up again at dinner and he basically said the same. I don’t get why he keeps talking about her even if its in very unflattering terms. Most everything that he does and says seems sincere and loving, but his regular references to his past relationship and life leave me wondering if he’s really ready to move on.

    • Nothing says serious relationship like dog stuff and bathroom shit. I’d say you’re in.

      The references to his ex could be motivated by many different things. How long he was with her, when they broke up, how often they remain in contact, how often he goes places he’s already been with her etc.

      If you feel it’s excessive, mention this to him and let him know it makes you feel like he’s still holding on to his past.

  43. Hi Ryan!

    Just want to first say that I really enjoy your site, it’s one of he few balanced dating sites out there with thoughtful, non-cookie cutter advice.

    I’ve been seeing a guy since the end of June. We met on an online site and we chatted for a bit before exchanging info. From the beginning he’s been aware that my intentions were to date but ultimately I’m looking a serious relationship and he’s said he’s dating but open to a relationship. I almost ignored him because his profile didn’t say he was looking for a relationship but after chatting and being clear about what I want and what he wants it was clear to me that a relationship is something he’s open to and that he want marriage and children eventually. His profile also said (he answered a question in a series of questions on his profile) he wants the next relationship to be the last ideally.

    We met and really hit it off he’d call and text consistently and we get along great, similar sense of humor, similarities in personality and relationships with family and similar wants out of life. We have gone on dates (still do) he waited til our fourth date to kiss me though he showed other types of intimacy and he never pressured sex. That happened some weeks after our fourth date. I know by he way he treats me that he’s not only after sex, we don’t spend all of our time indoors, we go out in public, we cuddle without him initiating sex, every encounter doesn’t end in sex, he spends quality time even when I’m on my period (lol), we go to the gym together, etc. I’ve also met his parents though I feel that may be more due to circumstance than something significant.

    My issue is that lately he’s becoming less consistent. He’s also flaked on me a couple times lately. He usually has a valid excuse work or being tired due to work but it still hurts. I knew in the beginning things would be somewhat difficult. We live about a 25-35min drive away (on a good day) and our work schedules are conflicting. He typically works mon-fri overnight, sometimes Saturdays and sleeps during the day. His off days are usually Saturday and Sunday. I have a retail schedule they isn’t always the same and I often work weekends. I often feel unsure if his occasional inconsistency is due to our schedules or something else.

    When we are together I know he likes me and cares for me…I can feel it. I can see it in his smile, feel it in the way he caresses my face, hear it in the way he laughs at my jokes and feel it in the way we sometimes almost mirror each other’s quirks. We’re getting to know each other in a way that resembles some of my closest friendships. Even over the phone he’s attentive, we can talk for hours and he remembers things I say, stories I tell and things about my family. I know something is there but whenever I feel him drawing nearer to me he pulls back some. I’m ok with taking our time, but nearly every moment of vulnerability on his part is met with distance.

    I deleted my profile several weeks to a couple months in, but his still remains (more on his later). At times in the beginning he’d mention the future, make ‘we’ statements, and even called me his girlfriend a couple times. But when I asked him about it he’d make remarks like, my gf doesn’t have casual talks (with guys)…this was after I told him I’m still casually talking to people (in the beginning when we both still had profiles) to which I replied that I didn’t realize he was that serious about me. That particular conversation didn’t go very far and I decided to continue to take things slowly with him.

    About a month ago, we were together and laying in bed talking and again HE was talking about the future…things he’s like to to together, how amazing he thought I was and how beautiful he thought I was. The next day we were on the couch laying together and he whispers in my ear that he wants me to be his lady. I didn’t respond immediately because i remembered how I felt when he called me his GF a couple times and backed out. After a little silence I talked about it and let him know what my expectations are as far as a relationship and he backed out again. He said he’s not ready for that level of commitment yet because he still has reservations. I pryed a bit and asked him what his reservations were and he claimed that our difference in religion is something he needs time to really consider. He’s a serious Christ follower…his whole family is religious and I’m not a believer. I can’t help but think it’s something else, but he assured me that everything thing between us is great, we’re a perfect fit except that one thing. He said he needed a month to think things through and I remarked that I didn’t think a timetable was necessary.

    Fast forward a month later and he’s still not ready. He claims the religion thing is still the main issue but that we need to actually have a conversation about it instead of him coming to his own conclusions about my values. He also mentioned not wanting to disappoint anyone by committing too soon or going back on promises/commitments. So I asked if he’d rather just be friends to which he replied “that would be weird” and I asked if FWB is what he prefers, he said no. At this point I’m just confused and I wish I hadn’t asked about the relationship. Things were cool between us, but because of pressure from friends I HAD to bring it up again and now the uncertainty is getting to me. I cried on the way home but since then we’re spent time together and we’re keeping our plans for a staycation for my birthday…he’s even requested the time off.

    We went to the gym on Monday together and spent the rest of the day together. I noticed him making more effort to get to know me on a deeper level, asking me situational questions which turned into the two of us spending a couple hours asking each other questions and being more open than we have in the past. We talked about our fears our futures what we want out of life etc., and over all it was a good interaction. We didn’t focus on the relationship but genuinely getting to know each other. Of course there is so much more to learn, but when we parted ways I felt closer to him as a friend, which is nice.

    The next time I saw him was yesterday when he picked me up from the airport in the am after work. He didn’t stay long and his interaction seemed distant. He may have been tired, but now I’m concerned he’s back to his pulling away. I gave him a book on a topic he’s expressed interest in several times, he thanked me and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He asked when I’m free this upcoming week and asked if I wanted to do something tues. I told him to make concrete plans and let me know. He hugged me but didn’t initiate a kiss on the lips and that felt odd. Everything is confusing at this point and I’ve decided to pull back a bit to see if he’ll fill in the gap. I’m also at the point where I feel I should date other guys and keep my options open.

    I’ve typed a lot! Lol…I guess I’m just wondering what you make of this situation. Am I wasting my time or should I continue to be patient. What advice would you give me?

    • Thank you! It’s nice hearing positive feedback.

      Check this out, specifically the part about fearful-avoidant attachment: http://www.ryananswers.com/adult-attachment-styles-in-relationships/

      Sounds like he’s got some hang ups about a serious relationship, and he might not be telling the whole truth. It’s possible this is because he’s unaware of the whole truth, and is having an inner conflict under his level of awareness. Or maybe he’s just flakey. I definitely don’t know, but hopefully with the info I linked you to, you’ll have a better idea.

      If you want a serious relationship and he’s not willing, casual dating is certainly an option. I’d give him the courtesy of a heads up though. Let him know the stuff you told me here about how he seems to be hot and cold, and if he doesn’t commit, at least you gave a whole hearted effort.

  44. Ive been speaking to a guy for almost two months. It started very slowly since i was dating others when we met. Ive stopped dating other guys because frankly i dont feel comfortable and my memory is terrible at multi tasking and i get my facts confused between the guys! . I decided to really just pay attention to him because he is really cool and i get a really good vibe from him. So far we’ve had 5 dates in 5 weeks. The thing is im use to a guy being vocal and not having to guess how interested he is. (im dating outside of my comfort zone and usual type). We have great dates which are fun and though he reveals personal information about himself (family, work..etc) he never asks anything personal about me. The modern smart girl assumed at first he may just want to keep things casual and simple..ie. Maybe just wants sex. We did actually sleep together on date 3 because the physical chemistry was so intense. We didnt hang out again till a week later and barely spoke up tp then. Naturally i was in full remorce mode. Then i figured well if this guy got what he wants and hes done well better i know that now and farewell. But no..he initiated date 4. we hung out at my place and finally some personal questions about my family background and he seemed really engaged into getting to know me better.. and no sex…just talked and made out. Pfew lol. Two days later made dinner together yay it was fun and we snuggled..(god i sound like a school girl) And then silence all day after. No txt. Day after that just a random hello but didnt actually engage far into conversation…i tried encouraging but his responses were distant between..
    So i just cant read him! Just when i feel like were getting closer and on cloud 9 his distance makes me wonder if were on the same page. Tempted to tell myself “he’s into you..but not that into you”. He doesnt strike me as a guy who wants to waste time. Hes 35 and closed his online dating profile cause he didnt find serious ppl there until he met me. I come from a school of thought that if a guy is into a girl who is independent, successful, compatible physically, he’ll make it happen to see her and keep in touch daily. My patience with his mixed signals is running thin. Im affraid ill come off too strong if i ask him how he feels and ill be rejected. How do i approach a guy who claims to not be a “sentimental kind of guy”? Whats ur barometer reading of his behavior with me? I dont initiate txts very often but sometimes i do. I feel we keep a pretty even keel. Im affraid he’ll get turned off like i do when men pressure me to define things. The shoes are on my feet now and i suck at this! I welcome all theories..

    • If the only sign of him pulling away isn’t engaging with you over text, I think you’re over analyzing. Sounds like he likes you and wants more than just casual dating.

      Where are you getting this idea that a guy who’s interested will keep in touch daily? If you have an expectation like that, it needs to be communicated. Otherwise, he could be off doing whatever thinking things are going great… meanwhile you’re over here thinking he’s not interested and getting impatient with him.

      I get the fear of turning someone off. That’s a scary part about relationships, but it’s not ever going to go away. If you want a satisfying serious relationship sometimes that means talking about what you want. If someone is turned off by that conversation, they aren’t ready for a relationship.

  45. I would greatly appreciate some advice. I’ll try to make this short (lol!)

    So I was in a domestic violence relationship for a year, when I left,
    I was at my lowest, I felt worthless. I quickly found someone new to lean on, who pushed me for sex and I did to get over my prior relationship, it
    Only happened a couple times, I knew this guy was bad news. He was using me. I went on a date with somebody else and to cut a long
    Story short we ended up being In a relationship, we’ve been together 6 months now, I live with him, we are really happy.

    BUT I recently confessed to him tht I had slept with this guy between my last relationship and him. I had lied previously And said I hadmt , because we would see the guy Around and I felt so ashamed of the casual fling that I lied and told my
    Boyfriend we had only kissed. Any who, he knows now, but he feels SO betrayed and says he loves me and wants to work through this but he doesn’t feel like ‘the man’ anymore, it’s affecting his performance at work, he has no motivAtion anymore. I don’t know how to help him.

    On top of this … What I still haven’t told him is that the guy and I had a sexual encounter even after my boyfriend and I first started meeting up. I was confused and didn’t know if I wanted a relationship with him at the time, but after the last sexual encounter with the casual hook up Guy I realised I didn’t want that, I wanted to Fully commit to my now boyfriend. So a week after the last sexual encounter (me and my now boyfriend at thois point were already telling eachother we really liked each other and felt really strong for eachother) , about a week later my now boyfriend and I first slept together and confirmed our relationship as official. I know if he knew these details of the timeline, he would leave me for sure. But we see a future together. Should I feel guilty ? What should I do? Can this still work if I keep this a secret? I told my dad and he said leave it alone, move on, you guys weren’t pfficial and you were still figuring your head out: but I know my boyfriend wouldn’t be able to forgive me if he knew.i never felt guilty up until a month ago, I think because he kept telling me how pure honest and wonderful our relationship was, and I felt it wrong not to tell him I slept with the guy. Now I feel guilty everyday for this last bit of info, I’m worried I’ll never stop feeling guilty or that deep down our relationship is a lie because if he knew he wouldn’t want to be with me, but I see a lifetime with this guy, he is my best friend he treats me like a queen and I treat him like my king , please help me!

    • What would you gain from telling him? What would he gain?

      • The knowledge that he still loves me and can forgiven for the actions that I have already taken :/ I feel like I’m living a lie if I don’t tell him, like if he knew what I’ve already done he would leave me, and yet some people full on cheat and can still have a full happy relationship, so why should I loose mine because of sexual activity
        I had with someone while I was still working out if I wanted to be in a relationship :/

      • I can’t tell you what’s best for you based on a paragraph, but here are my general thoughts:

        If: you’ll never do this again, you only did it because you weren’t exclusive, you never had a reason to think you were exclusive, you can forgive yourself and stop the guilt… don’t tell him

        If: you can’t forgive yourself, you weren’t sure if you were exclusive and didn’t bother talking about it, you’ll feel guilty for not telling him… then tell him

        • One final thought….

          We never said we were exclusive at this point, but we were saying we meant a lot
          To eachother and saw this going a long way etc.

          Right After the sexual encounter I realised I knew what I wanted and I texted my now boyfriend and said I am all yours nobody else’s,
          And although I was on a trip with the casual sex guy at the time, nothing further happened with him because I decided I wanted to full heartedly pursue my now boyfriend.

          What are your thoughts on that for exclusivity?

          And what are your thoughts if I can accept this set of events and keep it to myself, but my boyfriend would not be able to? Is it then still okay to keep it to myself even if I know he would not have the same opinion as me?

  46. “Any guy who loses interest in you for having casual sex “too soon” is not worth having around.”

    I hugely disagree. Any girl who gives it up too soon ain’t worth keeping because you know she can and will jump ship and sleep with other guys if things get rough. I’d much rather have a girl who makes me work for it as then once I do finally get to that point it feels like I actually mean something to her instead of just being a good time.

    • The way I read your comment is:

      1) Girl sleeps with me early, therefore
      2) She is less likely to be faithful

      I don’t think that’s true, but I’m curious about what you’re basing this on

  47. I am 53, he is 58. Been together 1 1/2 yrs. He is wonderful. but does not want to committ totally. He really does not want to be with me as much as I want to be with him.This hurts me. He is busy and an serious hunter. During hunting season, he travels to hunt- he hunts all day, eats, dreams- lives hunting! so I try to deal with this, but I asked him if I could stop by wed. and it was like oh- okay..(like I was forcing) but he was making me diner tommmorrow and acted like I should wait. I feel uncomfortable with this because in my past relationships- we just always hung out naturally and I didnt have to ask. I know he wont marry and I am kind of okay with this. our wills and children make it so moving in together is not a good idea. I admit, I am insecure. I try to stay busy. I seem to have fallen into being his “beck and call”- but he doesnt do the same. He is a true gentleman. opens my doors, is always nice, compliments me etc. but why do I feel like there is not a 100% committment? We are intimate and it is very good. He is the best man I ever me- but I still feel like something is missing. He is serious but wants to keep it casual. I dont need marriage just more “natural comfort in his time” Please advise.

    • Sounds like you have different needs in terms of emotional closeness. Talk to him about it.

      If this type of serious relationship is good for him, he probably won’t want to change. If it feels more like the step between casual dating and a serious relationship to you, it’s either: accept this as your relationship, hope he changes when you talk to him, or you find someone else who better meets your needs.

    • Dump him girl friend! You deserve better. Be with a man who appreciates and respects you.
      He knows he can get away with his bad behavior and you’ll still be around waiting. Don’t be that woman!

    • i was in a similar situation with my boyfriend until recently. I would ask about plans and he would usually have the yes/no power. Finally, a few weeks ago he told me he needed his private time but still wanted to be with me. I was hurt by the comment and obsessed about how to deal with it to the point that I became an emotional mess and was afraid that if i talked to him, i’d overwhelm him and drive him away. I ended up talking to him on the phone and it was awful. I started and instantly burst into tears. Wow, I thought afterward, you really f****’d that up. Not so, but I did realize that i hated feeling unsecure and decided that the next conversation i would lay my own needs on the table and be willing to walk away if he didn’t at least give me something back that would help my anxiety. It took a week of talking to myself to get to this point. At the next meeting, it turns out he was rattled by our previous conversation. I kept my head and listened to him. He also did that for me and we came up wirh a solution that we are happy with. He also told me that he is committed to just me. That was huge. If he didn’t I was not going to throw away months or years in limbo (like my friend did – who had a “gentleman” too and is now wishing she hadnt been such a “gentlewoman” about her own needs.) Talk to this guy or live in limbo – Your choice.

      • “Talk to this guy or live in limbo – Your choice.”

        Solid advice for the majority of comments on this article.

        I think people ask for advice when they know what to do, but hope they’re wrong. Talking and expressing your needs is scary – the other person may not reciprocate.

        If they don’t, it’s not a good relationship for you. It’s tempting to blame yourself or think something is wrong with you, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting love, security, and affection. If someone else doesn’t want to provide those things, there’s no point in spending months or years of your life waiting for them to change.

  48. Hello Ryan

    I’ve been dating this guy for about 2-3 months now, I met him through a friend. He’s been single for 3 1/2 years and was married for 10 years he is now divorced, he’s only had 2 or 3 long term relationships in his life and he is in his mid 30’s. He’s a very nice guy, I’ve never met someone normal, when we met he told me he was not looking into getting into a relationship but there was something about me. He has 3 children from his marriage and he says he lives for his children which is a great quality. Now that a little time has gone by he says that he can see us perhaps turning into something more, however he wants to take his time and make sure that the step he’s going to take is for certain, he says he’s the type of guy, especially at this age if he is going to make someone his gf its for the long run and marriage is definitely involved as well. He calls me every morning and night and we see each other almost every weekend sometimes during the week but he works late. I’ve met his closes friends already and he includes me in whatever he has going on. I have brought up to him a few times about us being in a relationship, he says I am use to moving fast and he wants to take his time, that he isn’t seeing no one else but me and I am not either. However I am afraid of getting hurt and him just stringing me along and nothing coming out of this. I want to settle down and he knows this he tells me he doesn’t want me to leave him because I want to rush things. This guy hasn’t done anything for me to doubt him or question his trust, he hasn’t disappeared on me or lied to me, he’s been open and honest with everything, and the time we spend together is always amazing. But how long should I wait to know if this is real or not?

  49. Don’t push him for more or you’ll push him away. Enjoy your time together. Be cool and easy to be with. Don’t rush things or push him. You’ll come off as needy and insecure. Guys hate that.

  50. hi! I’ve been casually talking to a guy for two months now, and I feel like its going no where. at first he would blow up my phone with text messages through out the day and every once in awhile would ask to go on a date and I would come up with excuses as I have work ect, then finally I was like you know what the heck, and turned out to find we couldn’t shut up about 500 topics, and it wasn’t even about ourselves so we continued and we both came to ask one another “what do we want from this?’ we both said to see where it goes not to rush anything. and he admits he does like me, but now it got to he doesn’t text me as much and I understand with work but then he doesn’t call nearly as much as he did in the beginning and at the beginning it was only like once every two weeks now I don’t ever get a call. and hes asked me to meet him friends ive meet his family, ive slept over his house we have not have sex or done things. and in public hell hold my hand or kiss me. now hes saying he wants to go slow because he doesn’t want to hurt me because of a job he still haven’t applied for in a different state that takes 7-8 months processing. but still talks to me and acts with me like I’m his whole world. what gives?

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