Wanting to know how serious he is about you is arguably the most asked question in any advice column and, while it should be so easy as just asking your partner about the status of your relationship, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
What he says and what he does can allude to very different outcomes for the two of you and, while I don’t advocate second-guessing all of his moves, it’s important to keep your eyes open.
Here are some major red flags a man is not being authentic about his feelings for you:
1. He never lets you meet his friends
Come on. This one is He’s Not That Into You 101, right? He can use all the excuses he wants about them being a group of people he doesn’t want to mix you with because of how special you are, but if you’ve never met a single one of his friends, you’re not a priority to him at best. At worst, you’re a side chick.
2. He waffles on plans repeatedly
He either wants to see you or he doesn’t. It’s one thing to go through a busy spell at work or with a family crisis, but if he’s been making plans only to break them routinely, there’s something going on that you definitely shouldn’t wait around for.
3. He refuses to talk about his past
Listen, just like anyone, I have chunks of my past I’d be happy to never discuss ever again and I don’t blame anyone for doing some editing on their story. However, if you’ve been seeing this guy for awhile and you don’t even know where he’s spent the last decade, something’s up.
And, OK, maybe he’s coming off an era he’s not proud of and is afraid of rejection (haven’t we all?), but at some point, your relationship can’t be that serious to him if he’s not willing to share even a little bit of his story with you.
4. He obsessively guards his stuff
At the end of one of the best 12-hour dates I’ve ever had, I was dropping this guy I’d been seeing for about a week off at his apartment and hinting that I very much would like to engage in some active snuggling when, suddenly, he started making tons of excuses about how gross his apartment was and how embarrassed he’d be for me to see it.
We’d already had a heavy makeout session in his pretty filthy car a couple nights before, so this seemed like a strange excuse … until I saw him out with a beautiful girl he awkwardly introduced as his live-in girlfriend a couple nights later at a neighborhood bar. Lesson learned.
I’m not saying you should have free rights to go through all his stuff, but if he seems adamant about steering you clear of his personal space or oddly possessive of his phone, you should pay attention.
5. He avoids answering your questions
It’s gross enough when politicians do it, but it’s completely unacceptable when significant others try it. Worse than gaslighting your inquiries with excuses like “I don’t know what you’re talking about” or “You’re making a big deal out of nothing”, answering a pointed question with long-winded answers that deviate from the point, turn the blame around, or never actually answer the question are another red flag from the Lying A-hole Starter Pack.
These types of evasive maneuvers can include both wildly over-detailed answers AND those that are vague, which can be confusing to decipher; the key is to look for answers to questions that actually, you know, answer your damn questions.
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6. His stories are inconsistent
Getting facts wrong is something all of us are guilty of every now and then. However, if you’ve noticed he’s often having to explain why he omitted, changed, or “forgot” important details about his whereabouts or life in general, he’s either developing early-onset Alzheimer’s and needs to be screened, or he’s got a whole extra life going on that he doesn’t want you a part of for some reason.
Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer and mental health advocate who has been published on SheSaid, Salon, PopSugar and more. She writes about relationships, mental health, and parenting.