There might be nothing more disheartening than clicking with a potential squeeze only to hear them say, ‘I’m not ready for a relationship’ – but experts think that that sentence really is valid for many reasons.
While one therapist admits that it may be someone’s polite way of letting someone down easily, many agree that ‘you never know what someone’s been through in the past relationship that has left them unable to commit.
But why do they give off such open vibes in the first place? San Diego-based licensed therapist Kim Egel told us that initially, excitement takes over that can ‘mask deep-seated issues’.
But what do they mean? Relationship experts weigh in on what the phrase, ‘I’m not ready to date’ really means and how to react when you hear it.
‘Initially, it’s easy for attraction and excitement to take over when you’re first meeting someone and feel a genuine spark,’ Kim, said.
‘After all, an initial magnetic connection is hard to find and resist. We can get caught up in our ‘humanness’ and the excitement of attraction.’
‘The initial excitement can mask the deep-seated issues that, perhaps, that individual has not dealt with in terms of blocks to the heart or past relationship wounding.
‘They might have a history of toxic relationships or other baggage they’re carrying around. And that’s why, seemingly out of nowhere, they’ll say they aren’t ready to date.
Jenna Ponaman, a qualified dating, and relationship coach agreed.
New York-based psychotherapist Lillian Rishty said that someone who utters the words ‘I’m not ready to date’ could be harboring anxiety about losing their independence if they begin a new relationship.
‘They may begin to feel trapped or fear giving up their own interests, hobbies, and time. If fear sets in, they may decide to bail is the best and only course of action,’ she said.
‘In a healthy relationship where each partner is independent outside of the relationship, this shouldn’t be a worry,’ Lillian said.
‘But you never know what someone’s been through, or why they might have these types of concerns. It can help to talk about it, create some boundaries, and see if they’d prefer to take it slow,’ she advised.
‘Let them grieve’ said relationship coach Jenna Ponaman, pictured
‘We are always evolving throughout our lifespan, in and out of relationships. It isn’t always necessary to be single in order to find yourself, and being in a relationship with a supportive partner can even help a person along their journey. But not everyone feels that way, and it’s important to respect that,’ she concluded.
Matchmaker and relationship expert Margaux Cassuto said that, unfortunately, some people use this sentence disingenuously; as a way to get out of saying they’re not interested in pursuing a relationship with someone in the long run.
‘In some instances, this comment can also be a polite way of saying they’re no longer interested. Instead of being honest, they may choose to let you down gently by making it more about them, before fading into the distance,’ Margaux said.
‘If this person says they aren’t ready to date because they simply don’t feel the synergy, then it’s usually best to wish them well and move on,’ Jenna agreed.
‘There is no sense in wasting your time on someone you inevitably cannot make like you. Chances are if they do not feel the spark, you don’t either,’ she added.
So, how to decipher what they mean when they say the words?
The women were advised to ask questions, gather more information, talk about ways to move forward that feel comfortable for all involved. But, at the end of the day, respect their wishes and look out for yourself too.
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