5 Signs Someone Wants a Relationship But May Be Afraid

Here's how to tell if they're interested in a future with you.

signs someone likes you

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Starting a new relationship is always a little stressful. Even if everything is going well, you may not be able to tell what your potential partner wants unless they flat-out tell you. Of course, that sounds ideal, but if you ask where this is going too early, you run the risk of completely losing your chill. You may feel like you cannot tell what they want because, on the one hand, they initiate incredibly deep conversations, but on the other, they want to hang out only once a week after months of going out. If that sounds familiar, we may be able to help you figure out what's going on here.

You may be seeing someone who could want to be in a relationship with you, but they may be a little too afraid to pull the trigger because of something that happened in his past. Fortunately, there are five key signs, psychologist Lisa Firestone Ph.D., says to look out for when deciding if someone is into you, but too scared to take it further. 

Meet the Expert

Lisa Firestone Ph.D.  is a clinical psychologist, author, and director of research and education for the Glendon Association.

Ahead, five important signs to look out for when someone is into you, but that they may be scared to make the first move.

01 of 05

They Pull Away

Sometimes, you may be having a deep conversation, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, they change the subject to something much more surface-level. Now that you're talking about something a bit frivolous, they seem much more comfortable. This probably really confuses you because you can see that they are capable (and willing) to take things to a deeper level, but they don't like to be there for long.

Dr. Fireside suggests that when someone is too scared to get involved, they'll often try to offset these deep moments of emotional intimacy by pulling away and acting more distant.

02 of 05

They've Been Hurt Before

Look, unless you ended up with your high school sweetheart, chances are, you've been hurt too. You may feel frustrated because if you can move on after a heartbreak, they should be able to, too. However, everyone experiences emotional pain differently, so patience is key.

Even though the only two people who know what's going in your relationship are you and your potential partner, definitely make an effort to consider your friends' and family members' opinions. You may be too close or too in love/lust to see things clearly.

Think about it: If their last partner cheated on them, they might have let that experience really burn them so that they don't end up with someone else who will do the same thing. Even though they may know that you'd never hurt them, they can't help but keep their walls up to protect themselves. Dr. Fireside explains, "Old, negative dynamics may make us wary of opening ourselves up to someone new. We may steer away from intimacy because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger, or rejection."

03 of 05

They Don't Want to Go on Dates

When someone wants a relationship with you but is too scared, they'll look to spend time with you in ways that don't seem like actual dates. For instance, instead of taking the lead and asking you out for dinner and drinks, they may say, "Hey, I'm in your neighborhood. Are you free for drinks in an hour?" This way, they don't risk any feelings of rejection. "The truth is that love is often imbalanced, with one person feeling more or less from moment to moment," Dr. Firestone admits.

04 of 05

They're Vague About the Future

When someone is too scared to get involved on a deeper level, they will often choose to dodge or deflect questions about a future with you and remain more detached. For instance, if you want to take a weekend getaway in a few weeks, they may seem super interested, but won't help you lock down an actual weekend to go.

Dr. Firestone says, "A new relationship is uncharted territory, and most of us have natural fears of the unknown. Letting ourselves fall in love means taking a real risk. We are placing a great amount of trust in another person, allowing them to affect us, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable." If they aren't ready for those kinds of feelings, they will keep you at bay for as long as they can.

05 of 05

They'll Move Really Slowly

Relationships can develop at different paces, but if you notice that your potential partner is taking things very slowly, they may be subtly telling you they're scared to jump into a relationship with you. They may keep stringing you along without giving you any clear indicator of what they want or where your relationship is headed. For instance, when you've been seeing them for months, but they haven't introduced you to any of their friends, it might be time to have a chat.

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