“I’m Not Ready for a Relationship”

How do you know when you’re ready to commit to a relationship?

A (female) reader this week asks, “How do I tell a guy I’m not ready to get serious just yet?” 

If you want to know exactly what to say to keep him interested but still get the message across that you need more time, you’ll want to see this…

►► Confused about what to text him? Just copy and paste these 9 FREE texts >>> 9Texts.com

Jameson: All right, so you haven’t seen this question yet, but we’re doing longer form questions.

Matthew: Couple of longer questions. Where was this sent into? Our e-mail?

This is from Brie, which is a pseudonym; always protecting the old anonymity of our people. [reading from the email] “My question is referring to someone who is interested in me – and I’m interested in him – but I am not ready for a relationship yet. I want to give myself a fair chance when I’m not going through so much crazy stuff in life.”

Wonder which crazy stuff she’s going through that stops her from having a relationship. I always think people spend too much time worrying whether it’s a good time for a relationship. If it’s the right relationship, you probably won’t care that it’s a crazy time, is my view, but let’s keep going.

“If he asks me out before January, which I’m pretty sure he’s about to, I won’t know how to tell him. I need time without it being weird and/or hurtful or causing him to feel like I don’t like him. I need some advice about how to go about doing this so I don’t accidentally push this guy away.”

Well, it’s definitely going to push him away saying “not yet,” “not right now.”

“If Matt or anyone can offer advice.” – What does she mean “or anyone”? Who’s the “or anyone”? Not you. [meaning Jameson] She obviously can’t get a [bleep] word out of you year-round. What, she thinks you’re suddenly going to be like – give lots of advice to her?

“If Matt or anyone” – just makes me feel less special – “can offer advice, or if there is a similar story I can look into, that would be great. Thank you.”

I think you might be taking things a little too seriously, Brie. I’m a big advocate for times in our life where we do go through periods of sort of saying, “I’m going to be on my own for a little bit and see what that’s like and learn about myself and grow.” But you can’t really have it both ways during that time. You can’t say, “I want my solitude and I want to be on my own and I need a couple of months to do that. But I am saying yes to you for a date.” No.

If you’re saying, “In two months, I’ll see you; that’s a no for now,” you have to do one of a couple of things. Either say, “I’m not dating right now, and that may sound strange, but the truth is I just have a lot going on in my life and I‘m not in a place where I want to go out on dates, because I’m thinking if I go out on a date with you, I’ll like you and I might get more connected to you. And that’s going to make me want to see you again, and I know I’m not ready for what that might lead to if we do see each other more. So I don’t want to take the risk that I might really like you on a date. Let’s hold off and we’ll re-evaluate in a couple of months.”

You either have to do that and just be honest and not date him, or take the whole thing a little less seriously because, look, you said, “My question is referring to someone who is interested in me and I’m interested in him,” right? Well, what does that mean at this stage? If you haven’t even been on a date, it means you both have maybe a mild crush or even less than that. So you could take it a little less seriously and say, “This isn’t a relationship right now. This is just a fun night with somebody that I don’t know very well and I’m getting to know a little better and I’m just going to see where that takes me.”

Jameson: Is something lost in translation? Because she’s saying, “Go out with me,” and I think you’re taking it as very much like on a date. I think she’s saying that, that it’s like, “He wants to make it official and be in like a real relationship with…”

Matthew: Wait, let’s read that bit again. “If he asks me out before January, which I’m pretty sure he’s about to” – that’s like a blast from the past talking about if he asks me out. That’s what I used to say in school, like, “Will you go out with me?” They’d be like, “Yeah, all right,” and you just hold hands for like five months.

Now, let’s do the version of the answer where he’s actually asking you for a relationship. So he’s saying to you, “Do you want to be in a relationship with me?” and you’re like, “Ah, let me put the brakes on for a couple of months while I resolve some things in my life.”

That’s okay. If that’s the case, then say that to him, “I like you, and if I was in a relationship with you, I’d want to be able to go full out and have fun and be carefree in it and just for us to have a great time. And I don’t feel like I’m in a place to fully do that right now. I know if I said yes to this right now, without resolving some stuff that’s going on in my life, then I know I’d still be holding back, and I wouldn’t be able to just be me. And I know I’m really fun when I’m just me. So I want to figure out some stuff for me, and then at the end of that, if you’re still around, then I think us going out would be a really fun thing.”

Talk to the man.

And do that thing about saying, “I’m really fun, like I’m a really good time when I’m unburdened by some of the stuff that I’ve got to deal with right now. Like I’m a great person to be with and I’d want to be that great person.” Because then you’re setting him up for some excitement when it does happen.

We did two questions in one. Hopefully, one of those addresses what’s really going on in this question.

Let us know if you liked this little style. We did something a bit new. We printed out a question. I’ve liked this. It’s been verbose. Let us know in the comments.

Jameson: I don’t mean to be verboast, but you did a good job.

Matthew: I don’t know if you heard that or not, but Jameson did a [bleep] pun. If you didn’t hear it, he said, “I don’t want to verboast.” Every [bleep] day, I have to hear about a hundred puns from him because it’s his favorite form of humor. You don’t know what I go through.


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85 Replies to ““I’m Not Ready for a Relationship””

  • The style was great! the ability to go back and forth to the question and look at it from different perspectives is a great way to reach out to more people.
    Well done!

  • I agree. She has to talk to the guy pleasantly, plainly, courteously. She should avoid second-guessing.
    Likewise, she shouldn’t shut doors prematurely. That door is hers to go out and his to come in.
    Ah well, you always say these things better. She ought to follow you :-)

  • yes, more puns by Jameson please ;)
    but the case-study thing is really nice, I would certainly like to see more of that!

  • Love it! Very funny and real…the banter was great. You gave great advice and provided options for different scenarios.Nicely done!

  • I liked this video, good to see two sides of the coin. I’m in a similar situation however its the guy who is interested but not ready due to issues in this life. Its difficult when there is interest and a 2 handful of dates and then they say “I’ve enjoyed the times we’ve caught up but I want to make sure we are on the same page and to be honest I have a lot of going on at the moment. I think your a nice girl and I wish you the best but I am only looking to be friends..” Since then he has been distant and very occupied with work to hang out on the weekends.

    I still show interest in him by inviting him to events, but waiting for him to be available is probably not the best idea, as I may be waiting a lifetime before he makes a decision and miss my opportunity with someone else. Stay open-minded girls!

    I am ready for the next step in life to be in a relationship/partnership with a guy, but the right guy.
    Perhaps content in reverse.

    p.s. is there a chance of Matthew Hussey coming down under??

  • My thing is when you are a carer for someone it’s hard to find the time to be in a relationship and you get dumped for it.

  • Hi Matt,
    Your advice always amuses me because you are so right and understand us females so well.
    I have not dated much, because of my circumstances – I’ve been out of my home country, in Asia for 15 years since my divorce, and I’m very focused in the charity work I do.
    As a follow on to this topic on “not being ready for a relationship”, I need some of your advice from your vast experience, so I will ask you my question directly… So here goes…
    “How do I know whether the reason I am not “feeling the vibes or feeling the love” for the loving and good man who is wanting to commit to me, is my problem or that it is just “not a right fit”
    I was in an abusive marriage for 13 years and have been divorced for 16, but I have not been in a serious relationship since then – I’ve dated and been attracted, but my choices have always leant more towards the naughty boys- but I would like to be married to a faithful man who is kind, stable but enjoys naughty fun with one lady (i.e. Me)
    This man I have met, seems to be that and is that and has no problem committing to me and has already decided that this is what he wants. It is more a long distance relationship and we do talk every day… However, before we actually spent much time together other than friends, I was more attracted (sexually), but when we spent time together for two weeks after making our feelings and attraction to each other more clear, something changed. Now, I feel “numb” towards him sexually. He has returned to where he came from but he is feeling more connected and I feel less connected.

    So my question is, “how do I know whether this is my problem, of perhaps not knowing how to be loved, or whether this is just not the right guy”?

    Any advice you can give me- direct from your experience or as a guy – and how I should deal with this, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Matt

  • Jameson’s puns are fun! (Hee.) And I’m glad he’s got a voice now. So long he was just moving the camera.

    And sometimes Steven also gives advice here. Not that you are any less special . . . :-)

    Interesting that the question could go two ways. I think that sometimes you know when things will get serious with a person really fast, despite your best efforts to keep it just ‘fun’. So I understand the letter writer’s concern.

    I like this format. And you’re right sometimes you can’t have it both ways and have to take a risk the person might not be available when you are.

  • It is very helpful when you read one’s email aloud, it helps as I listen to your ideas in analyzing the process to understand what she is asking, while offering answers and witty words of advice. As Jameson adds his two cents brings the whole conversation to life…..pun intended (bahaha)

    Thank you

  • Loved the “Case study” Q & A! More please! & loved hearing Jameson’s comments at the same time! My favorite part of the week is when I get these…Hugs! ;) <3

  • Yes, really like the new Case Study question and answer. When she mentioned that he may be asking her out by January it made me wonder if they have only just been texting and talking.

  • I really enjoyed the format, and that you covered it with a couple of different angles…and the way you read it, with your running commentary, was enlightening about how we use words and how they can come across to people. Thumbs up!

  • So if this would be the answer to “I’m not ready for a relationship”, what would be the answer for I wanna go on a date with you Matt :)

    1. Hey Matt I think this is a great idea. We can all learn from each others questions and realize we are dealing with the same thing or it’s great info to tuck away. And remember… Keep speaking like your the best coach but not everyone’s going to take your advice..that shouldn’t matter to you;)

  • “just tell him” was the scary part, but it was your words in the way you tell him that was brilliant and so simple, I over think at times and would not have said it that way. Over complicate is how I think. Thank you Matt for a simple, honest way to express the same issue I am having right now.

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