There’s a saying that goes, you can never recycle wasted time, and oh how true that is.
No one intends to get into a dead-end relationship. Most of us want that real, true, long-lasting love and our quest for it can sometimes lead us to stay in situations that are the opposite of what we want.
Why does it happen? Well, we get so caught up in the potential of what could be, rather than looking at what is.
You’re dating this guy and he just checks so many boxes. And you rarely experience this kind of chemistry so you would be foolish to let it slip away! Sure, he doesn’t seem to be on the same page as you, but maybe with just a little encouragement, you’ll be able to get him there.
Maybe once he sees how amazing you are … maybe if you can help him get over the ex who broke his heart … maybe if you can just wait it out a little longer … then he’ll step up and be who you want him to be.
I’ve deluded myself in this way many times and I’ve seen many others do it as well so I can tell you: this never turns out well!
Don’t let yourself be lured by what could be, look at the situation as it is right here, right now, and then decide what you’d like to do. To help you get there, these are the biggest signs you’re wasting your time with him and he isn’t going to commit to you.
Signs He’s Not Going To Commit
1. He tells you he doesn’t want to be in a relationship
I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it many times more: if a guy says he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, believe him!
The reasons don’t matter, the facts do. Most likely he means he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you. It’s also possible he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone right now. Maybe he wants to focus on his career, maybe he’s not emotionally ready to settle down, maybe he likes being single and free, it really doesn’t matter.
He may have some really great reasons, but again, it doesn’t change things. He probably also does have feelings for you. Again, it doesn’t change anything if he doesn’t want to be with you.
2. He’s wishy-washy
One day he’s super into you, the next he’s cold and distant. You guys are attached at the hip one week, and then he disappears for days or weeks at a time.
Sometimes he seems like he’s in love with you, other times you feel like a nuisance to him. So what’s going on?
Wishy-washy behavior, or sending “mixed signals” is usually a sign of uncertainty. He’s just unsure of you.
He likes you, he’s attracted to you, he has fun with you, but he’s just not sure if he wants to be in a relationship with you.
3. He is still active on dating apps
He might be sneaky about this and tell you he deactivated his account … and you believe him until one of your friends comes across him while swiping …
Maybe he makes excuses and tells you, “Well, I never log in so what’s the big deal?”
Or maybe he’s honest with you and says yeah, he still uses his account because you guys aren’t official so he isn’t doing anything wrong.
Either way, if he’s active on dating apps it’s a sign that he hasn’t quite found what he’s looking for.
4. He openly flirts with other women in front of you
A lot of the times we say how we feel through actions more than words, this is especially true of men.
A man might not come out and tell you: “I don’t want to be in a serious relationship with you,” but he’ll show you he’s not serious through his actions. One way to get the point across loud and clear is to flirt with other women in front of you.
Now you might make the mistake of thinking he’s just trying to make you jealous because he likes you so much (at least, that’s a mistake, or rather a self-imposed delusion, that I’ve made in the past!) but what’s more likely is he’s showing and affirming that he is a free man who can do as he pleases.
5. He talks about the future … and you’re not in it
He might talk about how he wants to go live in Europe for a few years, or he wants to move away and change jobs or get out of the city and live a suburban life.
That’s all well and good, but he doesn’t seem to be factoring you into any of these plans, he doesn’t even ask for your opinion on city versus suburbs, he just tells you this is his plan and doesn’t really seem to care if you’re there for this imagined future or not.
6. The relationship is stagnant
You’ve been in the same spot for months or years. You’re not growing closer in any way, or he refuses to take the next step, whether it’s to be an “official” couple, to move in together, to get engaged, set a date, and so forth.
You just have no idea where this is going and when you try to talk to him about it he deflects or gives you vague answers.
7. He doesn’t share his true self with you
When a man is truly invested in a woman, he will share his true self with her. He will allow her to really see him, to see the man beneath the mask.
If your conversations are all surface level and he doesn’t really open up or show vulnerability, then he might not be truly invested in you.
At the same time, don’t mistake a guy who is all feelings and emotions and vulnerability with a guy who is serious about you. This can also sometimes be a sign of a guy wasting your time because this guy is a mess and just looking for a crutch to lean on while he gets himself together.
8. You just know this isn’t how it’s supposed to be
You know that this isn’t what true love is supposed to feel like. You know something is off, you just don’t want to admit it because you don’t want to have to leave and start all over again with someone new. You’re already in this so you try to just make it work and figure it out even if that means wasting more of your precious time!
Inaccurate Signs He’s Wasting Your Time
Don’t ruin something good by overthinking his behavior. Here are some inaccurate signs that he’s “wasting your time” and what they really mean.
1. He’s taking space
Sometimes men need space, it’s how they deal with stress and emotional turmoil. If your guy is backing away a bit and not as attentive, it doesn’t mean he’s wasting your time. He’s most likely dealing with something and he wants to work it through on his own so he can come back into the relationship better than ever.
2. He texts less often
At the beginning of a relationship, you’re on a high. You can’t stop thinking about the other person and want to talk to them all day every day. And in the beginning, you may engage in these marathon chat sessions. But this isn’t sustainable long term. People have jobs and school and lives! You can’t just be pinging back and forth all day long.
As things get more settled, he may not text as voraciously but that’s a good thing. First, it’s too much to do that all day! Next, it means he is settling back into a more normal rhythm because he’s getting more comfortable with you.
3. He says he can’t commit right now but….
… he plans on committing to you and he gives you a concrete timeline. Or he explains to you that he wants to wait until he’s more established at his job or until the busy season is over, and he means it. He doesn’t just keep coming up with one excuse after the next. And not only that- he follows through. He doesn’t leave you in no man’s land. You know he’s committed to you. He doesn’t just tell you, he shows you (remember: men communicate through actions more than words).
What to Do If He’s Wasting Your Time
So you’ve read our roundup and have deduced that he is wasting your time and you’re in a dead-end relationship. What now?
Do you pull away and try to make him chase you? If he doesn’t reply to your text for an hour should you wait three hours before responding to him?
No and no. If a guy is wasting your time there is only one thing to do: leave.
That’s it. Don’t wait around. Don’t try to prove your worth. Don’t pretend to be something you think he wants.
Look, if you walk away and he lets you go, then at least you know it was never going to work out. Men don’t just let women they love walk away without a fight.
And if you leave and he comes after you, and not only that, he actually steps up and takes some next step, then great! You have a chance.
Just beware of guys who come after you and then don’t change and fall back into the same pattern. If he begs for you back and you give him another chance … but then he comes up with a whole new slew of excuses about why he can’t commit, then let it go for real. As they say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
How to Never Waste Time Again
The antidote here is to have high self-worth. It’s to know what you want and know that you deserve to have it. If you want a commitment, don’t settle for the scraps some guy is willing to throw your way.
And don’t tell yourself that you should hold onto this because you’ll never find better. Or that this is better than being alone.
Being alone might be lonely at times, but being in the wrong relationship can be damaging – which would you choose?
You can get the love you want, you just need to be clear on what it is that you want and stop wasting time on what you don’t want.