One of the most difficult parts of dating in 2017 is that sometimes, it can feel a little bit too casual. Connecting with people has never been easier, but we have so many options and opportunities that it makes sense to spread out our energy and keep things low key. So if we really like someone, we don’t reveal our feelings until we’re sure they’re going to be reciprocated. But we can’t count on the person we’re seeing to be any braver than we are. Mild apathy is the order of the day, and we can waste months asking our friends about the hidden subtext of a message that just says “‘Sup?”
The trouble is that it’s hard to know whether the person you like is playing it cool, or simply not bothered. And you deserve someone who is bothered. Someone who will be bold and brave and make you feel like you’re living within the pages of a lavish love story, and not an advert for insurance where someone absent-mindedly pets a dog on the head. No matter how much you think you like someone, it’s really only worth pursuing them if they’re going to pursue you back. The earlier you can see that it’s not meant to be, the sooner you’ll be back on the path to finding the perfect person. If any of the following signs apply to your current relationship, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Messages are short, factual, and don’t contain any questions
If they’re replying with one word answers, they’re not busy or mysterious – they just don’t want to have a conversation with you. It’s possible to send a lengthy text from a train or a toilet. We treat our iphones like they’re a third hand. If they never message more than two sentences, or get in touch just to say they’re thinking of you, it’s time to stop thinking about them.
They don’t plan dates
Someone who likes you will be desperate to take you to their favourite restaurants, the prettiest parks and the buzziest bars. Someone who doesn’t care about a proper relationship with you will, if pressed, say “Um, dunno. The pub?”
A past partner keeps coming up
If they have children from a previous relationship, their partner is always going to be part of their life – but otherwise, any excessive mentioning of an ex is a bad sign. Someone who likes you will want to make you feel as though there was never anyone else for them. It’s the Garden of Eden and you’re Adam and Eve, or Steve. But if the ex keeps coming up, they’re probably going to sneak back in. Stay away.
They have vague plans to leave the country
If they keep going on about a grown up gap year, and that they’re saving up for six months in Thailand “in a year or so” move on, before you get hurt. They’ll probably never go, but it’s a signal that they’re not serious about including you in their future.
They’re quite self-contained
If they’d rather go out with no jacket and get hypothermia than leave something in your house and have to retrieve it. They’d go five miles out of their way to find a library before they’d borrow a book from you, just in case they have to commit to staying with you while they read it. They’re not doing a Marie Kondo life declutter – they just don’t want to leave a trail of evidence that indicates you were ever together.
You never meet their friends
This person would drag you into a bush before they let you bump into their own mum. If you do see one of their colleagues at the pub, they might drop their hand, move their chair away and stare into the distance. No one lights up with recognition when you introduce yourself – but they might look slightly uncomfortable.
They avoid serious topics of conversation – especially about relationships
They drop dark hints about their unreliability, commitment issues and hereditary tendency to get rashes. They’re undecided about babies – “Maybe in ten, twenty years, they’ll probably invent the technology!” They are so worried that you’ll ask where things are going that they’d fake a power cut if they found you watching ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ on TV. They’re not the only one who can pull the plug – call time on it immediately.