Apart from the obvious
They don’t treat you as a friend
Way too many people worry about being “just friends.”
This is a misplaced concern. Friendship is important in love, and it’s a lot easier to transition a friendship into romance (however slowly) than to wring (and force) romantic feelings out of not even liking each other as people.
The bigger concern — and what’s really happening for a lot of people, especially for those dealing with “ghosting” and “mixed signals”— is that they barely even like you as a person.
They don’t ask about your day — or they ask about it in the same way we all ask acquaintances “how are you?” without really wanting to hear the answer.
They don’t want to spend a lot of time with you
Or the time you spend together is becoming increasingly less.
They’re always busy, have other priorities, and always seem to be doing things you somehow can’t be included on.
They rarely touch you
And when they do, it feels forced.
They’re stingy with words
Not just “I love you,” but compliments, words of reassurance, appreciation and affirmations.
They never help you out with little things
I mean, holding the door is one thing. But if they go missing when you need someone to help you drop off your car at the shop, that’s a sign.
You get the distinct feeling you’re a stand-in
You’re little more than a paper doll to complete their dollhouse mental image.
Like, they have a checklist of qualities they wanted in a partner and you happen to hit them. Or they have a list of shit they’ve always wanted to do with someone, and now you’re working your way through it together.
When asked what they like about you, they list different things than how you value yourself (especially if the first one is superficial, like looks.) When you consider what you two do together, none of it is distinctly “the two of you” — you could technically be doing this shit with anyone, and same goes for them.
You get the distinct feeling you’re dispensable
They adapted very little to “accommodate” you into their lives, and if you disappeared tomorrow, they’d just go on living exactly the same way they always have.
When out with friends, you suddenly wonder how long it would take them to notice if you left — or if they’d care.
When you’re sick, they still go out with friends — your absence isn’t a detriment to their day. When you come back from a business trip, they don’t express any particular urgency to see you — as though their life quietly and easily rearranged itself in your 48-hour absence.
Everything they do “for you” is really for them
They make you laugh only because they get off on “being funny.” They invite you on their trip because they just really want someone to travel with.
They share books and music and film and restaurant suggestions because they just get off on sharing or being in the know — or they need for you to like the same things — not because they care about your opinion.
Or they do nice gestures just because they have a deep need to feel “appreciated” and influence over your happiness.
.They fit you into their lives — but somehow don’t do much to fit themselves into yours.
Their issues are yours, and your issues are yours
Somehow nothing is ever for them to own — and they don’t want to.
You’re running late? Obvs your fault. They’re running late? Your text was unclear on timing. And that flat tire you got? Definitely all you.
And when you bring up an issue or concern, their first and primary reaction is to make a case against themselves. You mention feelings around something, and they jump into defense mode rather than listening and taking the time to understand what your problem is, and then address it.
They aren’t “there”
I don’t mean the occasional drifting. The guy I’m dating now will sometimes wander off into his own thread, but he’s also, overall, the most attentive person I’ve ever dated, so it all balances out.
I mean a general, persistent feeling of “awayness.”
One of my biggest red flags for not pursuing a serious relationship with one guy I was beginning to date casually, who was great on paper, was when I realized “I’m just not here.”
One day they’re whispering sweet nothings in your ear, and then they go missing for two weeks.
When asked why they like you, they list superficial things
…or things that complement them
“You agree with me on politics and religion.” (This is self-love)
“You make me a better man/woman.” (Ditto.)
They’re not including you in their life
They still make long-term plans without discussing it with you. They still propose weekend plans by saying — “I want to do this, if you want to join.” Or “if you want to see me, that’s where I’ll be.”
They don’t want to be a part of yours
Their ask about your day in a way that’s half-hearted. They barely care about your struggles, and rarely share your celebrations.