“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””

  • I loved this format, especially the banter between you and Jameson. That always cracks me up. Thanks for covering all angles- even if the question doesn’t relate to something I’m thinking about at the time, I always learn something from your responses that I can apply to my own life. Bravo!

  • I have problems with this. If life was a perfect series of events or times we were ready this would fit. But I have a disabled child and work with blind veterans. We could all say, you know the times not right. When there is a real connection, the time will always be right. My son is very small and slightly misformed but he is handsome and super bright. He has formed a connection with a girl at school. She is so pretty with the most beautiful eyes and he said they chat madly. They both like dogs and his mission in life is not to see her on her own at playtime (she is new) and check she is okay. Her well being is his priority, he actually verbalised this. When she was off ill he said the day wasn’t the same and he wanted to know all about asthma and how long she might be off for?! He is ten! When we truly have a connection, stuff in life doesn’t matter to us, we want to see that connection in all its simple beauty.
    Kate xx

  • I love puns too! I had a desk outside of an office of a guy we called the “puns master”; I have moved on to a couple of new jobs since then and still miss him every day. Hang in there Jamieson! Patience Matthew… you will miss it one day :)

  • What does she mean by “serious”? Asking her out is just a date… Seems like she jumping the shark! Other things going on in her life….someone else is still in the picture!

  • Oh bloody hell Matt!
    I need you to wait on me a couple of months cuz I promise you I’m a really good time??!??!
    Hahahaa what is she, a call girl?
    Sorry, I call bullish* here.
    Either you want a relationship or you don’t. Tell her if she asks him to wait, that’s her perogative. But, Damn, man, its his perogative to move on to someone who’s ready to take it slow or move forward at all.

    Jmho ✨ sparkle on, my good man.
    Our first disagreement!
    Off the bucket list now, I guess! Lol

    1. I fully agree with you tigress866. Plus, i’m pretty sure if things were reversed and the guy was the one saying all this, we would not wait because we rock and we would move on!

  • And I think it would be helpful to this inquirer to flip it around on her – if someone she really liked decided to spend some time with her but then pulled back and said “I’m not ready for a relationship” then most likely she’d say WTF? Decide whether you’re in or out. It doesn’t mean it has to be seriously involved, but decide that you want to be involved at whatever level of intention you have or don’t and don’t waste his time. I have a big crush on someone at work but won’t pursue it because it’s not the right time and wouldn’t dream of saying “hey, I’d really like to keep you hanging around and single until it’s convenient for me – ok?” That’s what this sounds like, whether she realizes it or not. XO Matthew.

  • Hi my name is Lauren and I was wondering what is Matt’s email so I can send him my question.
    I love these videos are very helpful.

  • Cute, thanks for the witty banter.
    Way to pun Jamison!

    As to the advice, I like “I’m not dating right now, thank you for asking tho, I like you!”

    She doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. Too often women feel they have to explain themselves.

  • Hi Matt,

    I have a question that kind of follows up on this topic, would be next for a hollow up video ;) ;)

    So I just started dating this guy a couple of months ago, and he’s amazing. I mean he crosses just about every item in my list, except for the ones I feel I don’t know him well enough to cross out yet. And he has expressed similar emotions about me. The issue is that we have both recently gotten out of LTR. He especially has expressed that beginning another relationship is downright frightening as he doesn’t want to go through getting hurt and that type of loss again. We are not willing to give each other up, and have decided to take it slow. I suggested him taking more time to be independent – which, btw, thank you for all your advise, it has really helped me cope and understand relationships better as this I have learned from your videos – while still making time for each other. Since your advise has always been so valuable, I wanted to know if you had any further advise to help us navigate through this.

  • Yep! I liked the case eg. Helped me! I thought it was mine with the “crazy bit!” Hence, my ears were pricked up!
    I just txtd someone Ive been seeing regularly since May, but he just comes “over” to mine. In recent txt I said I try not to do “crazy” when its coming my way & I was referring to another situation he asked me @ in relation to a outside family thing (not related to him). I “like him” – but seems we are both too busy to move on… from conversation, food & wine, great sex & always at my place!
    Short story is – Neither of us seem ready for a relationship or make more time, but Im ready to ask him, using the case as a guide. He didn’t reply to my text with the word crazy in it – maybe its fizzled out!

  • Referring to that question, you certainly aren’t just “anyone” and you covered the subject so well. I liked the informal setting of this video!

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