Should You Wait If They’re Not Ready for a Relationship?


When we’re stuck in a situationship with someone who doesn’t know what they want, it’s incredibly frustrating. As soon as we like someone and hear the words “I’m not ready for a relationship right now,” it feels like we’re suddenly back to square one! 

If you’re tired of not knowing where you stand, you’ve come to the right place. In this video, I share 5 signs that can reveal if someone is ready for a relationship, plus a key question you can ask yourself and use anytime you feel stuck or confused.

When someone tells us they’re not ready, or that they’re not looking for a serious relationship right now, it puts us in a really challenging predicament, especially if we really like the person. 

When we’re attracted, we feel connected to this person; we feel like they are the kind of person we have been looking for. The one snag is that they’re not in the same place as us.

In this video, I want to talk about the five mindset shifts that can help you in dealing with exactly this situation, because the reality is, no matter what anyone tells you about how ill-informed it is to continue down the road with someone who says they don’t want a relationship, in reality, it’s really difficult to take that advice.

We tell ourselves things like, “Maybe they’ll change. Maybe in a month, they’ll feel differently.”

I know there have been times in my life where I didn’t want a relationship, and then I did when I met someone I really liked. So, maybe that will happen. Maybe it’s just that right now, they’re still getting over their relationship, but they need help getting over that relationship.

This logic that we feed ourselves can be very, very compelling. That’s why these five mindsets I’m going to give you today are so important, because I know how hard it is, and you shouldn’t feel shame for finding it difficult to walk away. But I really believe these mindsets are going to help.

By the way, before I get into these, don’t forget to like this video, subscribe to this channel so that you never miss a video, and hit the notification bell so you get notified the next time a new video of mine comes out.

The first mindset shift is asking yourself: “Is the situation between this person and me really equal?”

And what do I mean by that?

When this woman came to me, she said, “I’m dating other people as well. So, we’re kind of doing the same thing.”

But then I asked her, “Is it really equal? Yes, you’re dating other people still. So, on the surface, you’re not hanging around waiting for this person. But the reality is, you don’t want to be dating other people. If you had it your way, you would only be with him. But in his case, he’s dating other people because he wants to date other people. Because he has expressly said that he doesn’t want a serious relationship right now and he wants to date around.”

So this is not a situation where two people are on an even playing field. One of them has no intentions for their love life right now other than to have fun. The other one has full intentions of having a real relationship, is hoping that this person will want one at some point, and is only dating other people right now because he doesn’t want to date her and only her.

We have to be honest with ourselves if we’re truly in a position of equal footing, or whether there is a real power imbalance here, and we’re just telling ourselves a story that it’s all okay because we’re doing the same thing.

In this case, she was essentially settling for something she didn’t want—dating multiple people—hoping that he would eventually want the same thing as her. But he was doing exactly what he wanted to do. There was no risk to him. All the risk lay with her in the possibility of wasting her time, of continuing to date him under a misapprehension that one day, he would want the same thing.

The second mindset shift comes from being honest about the risk.

What is the real risk to us if we’re waiting around, hoping that one day, they are going to want a relationship with us?

Well, there’s a risk of lost time. What if you date this person for another year, hoping that they’ll change, and they don’t? What if they, a year from now, are exactly the same person with exactly the same lack of intentions that they have today? How will you feel about having spent a year of your time hoping that it would go somewhere?

One of the things that this person said to me that was interesting was, “If I decide to cut this person off and say goodbye and not see them anymore, I’m still going to be thinking about him. This person is still going to be on my mind. So is there really any risk to staying? If I stay, they’re going to be on my mind. If I leave, they’re going to be on my mind. But at least if I stay, there’s a chance that something will happen.”

You can see the way we contort logic to continue to do the thing that feels comfortable to us, which is to stay in something, hoping it will get better instead of letting it go.

The problem with that logic is that in reality, if she left this person, yes, she would still think about him for a time, but eventually, if she kept moving forward in life and if she healed from that, she would move on. But if she stayed dating this person, then there’s no end in sight to that pain. She’ll keep thinking of him because she’ll keep bringing him back into her life. Both involve pain, both involve thinking about the person, but one leaves the possibility of moving on and finding someone better, finding someone who actually wants the same things. The other possibility just leads to perpetual pain.

On top of the risk of continuing to date this person and wasting time because they never want a relationship, there’s a different possibility that you keep dating this person, and they do want a relationship six months from now or a year from now, but they want it with somebody else. 

How many of us have been a part of a story or heard of a story where we waited around for someone, thinking that all the time and energy and effort we’ve spent on that person will eventually pay off in the form of them realizing our value, realizing what we’re worth, and what the relationship could be, only to find that someone who waltzed into their life three weeks ago is the person they’re now getting serious about?

In her situation, it wasn’t just the risk that he never wants a relationship. It’s the “How will I feel if I invest all of this time—hoping that in this person’s rotation, I’m the one they’ll choose—and they end up choosing somebody else?” How will we feel about the resentment, the bitterness, the regret, and the anger that we’ll feel toward someone else and maybe ourselves if we go down that path and that happens?

Here’s the third mindset shift, and this is a big one. It’s one that a lot of people never think about: If someone you are dating isn’t being intentional, and they are dating other people at the same time, it will be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for them to truly see your worth.

Why? Because someone seeing your worth requires their presence. They have to actually sit with who we are, connect with what we’re giving them, with what we represent, our values, the connection that we’re building together. They have to be connected and conscious and experiencing that.

But when someone is dating without any intentionality, they’re just dating for fun, they’re not looking for a relationship, and they’re dating multiple people at the same time, they’re most likely never getting that connected to any one of the people they’re dating.

Let’s do an experiment. Imagine that I came to your house and I set up five separate TVs in your living room. And I played—on each one of them—a great movie. So you have five great movies playing at the same time. And then in two-and-a-half hours, or by the time those movies had finished, I came back into the room and said, “Which one was your favorite and why?”

Chances are, you wouldn’t have a favorite. And even if you did, it wouldn’t be a true connection to the value and the beauty and the art of that movie, because you never really experienced it. You didn’t watch it the way the director intended. You had your attention spread across all these different screens, so you couldn’t truly engross yourself in that movie.

None of the creators of those movies should be insulted if you didn’t come away choosing that movie as your favorite, or truly understanding how great that movie was, because you never really watched any of those movies.

That’s what it’s like when someone is constantly dating multiple people. They can’t truly appreciate your movie, the character, the protagonist that is you.

Now, there is always a time in the very beginning of dating where there’s the possibility that someone is dating other people. I don’t want to oversimplify the dating process, because the truth is, the day you go on a date with someone, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that they might have another date lined up for next week. They don’t owe us anything at that stage.

Some people will say, “If I date one person, I’m not going to date anyone else while I do that.” That’s okay. No judgment. But I also think we have to be careful of judging a situation where someone is dating multiple people in the very beginning. 

We just have to measure our own investment very carefully and go, “Do I want to sleep with someone who’s dating multiple people? How far do I want to go? How much time do I want to give to someone who’s still dating other people?” That’s a personal choice. It shouldn’t be a judgment on them.

But it may be in the very beginning that someone is dating around, and that doesn’t mean they’re not being intentional. It might just mean they’re dating around. They’re being very intentional.

So, whether someone is dating multiple people or not doesn’t necessarily give away how serious they are. It certainly gives away how serious they are if someone says, “I’m not in the market for a serious relationship right now. The woman who came to me during our Love Life Club coaching session said he literally said he wasn’t in the market for a serious relationship. That’s a pretty big sign that someone isn’t looking for anything. They’re not being intentional.

I’m not someone who thinks it’s a giant sin for someone to date other people when they first meet you, because I’m of the belief that we don’t necessarily owe each other exclusivity from the first moment we go on a date together. 

Someone is entitled to still shop around. You’re still entitled to shop around. We just have to measure our own investment and make sure we don’t give away more than we feel comfortable giving away while someone else is still dating other people. That’s a personal decision. I don’t think it’s something we should judge other people for.

Normally, when we judge other people for that, it’s because we feel like we gave more than we should have, or we’re upset with how much we gave to someone who never gave us any assurances in the first place.

But what I will say is this: Even when we’ve given someone the benefit of the doubt that “we barely know each other,” and “if you’re still going on dates, that’s okay . . .” I’m not saying you have to be okay with that, by the way. But I’m inviting the possibility that both are okay. Even if you give someone a window of time, at some point, that window has to end. 

If you are in the position that this person I was coaching was, of saying, it’s now four or five months into me dating this person and they’re still wanting to date other people, then their window for choosing you has kind of elapsed, in my opinion. They should know enough, maybe not to know that they want to be with you for years to come, but they should know enough from the time they’ve spent with you to know that “I’m ready to say ‘no’ to other people and give this a real chance to see how it might progress.”

If they’re not doing that, we should never convince ourselves that giving them more time and more of ourselves is going to be the thing that convinces them.

The fourth mindset shift is realizing that all of the risk is with staying, and that not only is none of the risk with you leaving and saying goodbye to this person, but all of the potential, all of the opportunity, lies with leaving.

That’s for two reasons. Firstly, if you leave, you open yourself up to a world of people who are actually potentially ready for a real relationship—a world of people who haven’t told you they’re not looking for anything serious. 

In a sense, when someone tells you they’re not looking for anything serious, they’ve immediately put a period at the end of the sentence. It’s kind of like they’ve told you the ending of this book for now. That this isn’t what they’re looking for. But everybody else in life still represents a question mark. 

The moment someone tells you they don’t want something serious, that should tell you, “Ah, right now, this situation offers no possibility.”

All of the risk comes from staying with someone who may not change their mind, and even if they do change their mind, they may not change it in the direction you want. They might choose someone else, like I said before.

But if you leave, you open yourself up to every other possible eligible person on earth who is ready for something, who might entertain the possibility of something going somewhere.

But even if I was just speaking to the part of you that really does want it to work with this person, I would be telling you that the best chance you have at them seeing your value and turning around to meet you for a real relationship . . . is you leaving. 

When you leave, that person has a shot at seeing your value 1) by missing it and losing it, as well as 2) by seeing you as someone who has standards that they are willing to uphold regardless of how attractive or mesmerizing or charismatic or sexy someone is.

If I could help you snap your fingers and not care about wanting this person anymore, I would. What I’m trying to say is that leaving is not only your best shot at finding something better and finding the happiness you’re looking for in your love life, it also just so happens to be the best chance you have at this person realizing that they do want a relationship with you.

For anyone out there who wants to know how to have these conversations with someone, where you actually speak your standards, I have a free training called Dating With Results that’s essentially a one-hour free training from me that shows you how to do not only that, but so much more. It’s going to make you more confident. It’s also going to show you how to uphold your standards and how to speak them. So that’s at for anyone who wants to take that training.

The fifth and final mindset shift for this video, when someone is telling you they’re not ready and you’re wondering whether to stick around anyway, is to ask yourself: “Is this what I held out for?” 

My guess is that you have been through some difficult times in your love life—that you’ve been through some pain. This person that I was talking to, the person who inspired this video with her vulnerability, was living in a major city, and had felt for a long time like things were just really hard. She had held out for the right thing, for the right person, but had experienced a lot of pain along the way. A lot of pain of being in a big city, of feeling like no one wants anything real, of feeling like everyone is just trying to get theirs, being short-term-ist, being messed around a lot, feeling invisible sometimes. 

Anyone who’s gone through anything like that knows it can breed a kind of scarcity mindset. This feeling of: “I get to the point where I just think I need to take whatever I can get, because nothing’s been happening.”

And then, of course, when someone comes along, when you have attraction with them, and you share some values, and you feel like you get this person, or they get you, and you have an amazing time with them, you get to a point where you go, “Well, maybe I should hang around even though they’re not ready, or they say they don’t want a relationship, because this is the best I’ve got and this is the most connection I’ve felt in a long time. Am I really just going to throw that away?”

But I think we can help train ourselves out of the scarcity mindset when we realize that we have taken our time with our love lives, not suddenly jumping into anything with anyone. Why? Because we have a standard about who we end up with, and the kind of love that we want in our lives. We haven’t lost all of the romance. We haven’t lost hope. We haven’t lost the possibility—the excitement of finding the love we really want to find.

If you’ve been holding out for that kind of love, then you have to ask yourself: “Am I really now, after all that pain, after all that loneliness, after all those different people I’ve said ‘no’ to, or all of the heartbreak I’ve been through in my life, am I really going to settle for this? Is this going to be what I held out for? Someone who tells me that they’re not ready and puts me on rotation with a bunch of other people? This is what I held out for?”

I know the pain that so many of you are in right now—the kind of pain that comes from feeling lonely, or comes from feeling heartbroken, or comes from starting to feel like it’s never going to happen, and how that leads people to make decisions about what to settle for . . . that they should never settle for.

But this last mindset is a crucial reframe. It’s a different way of looking at it, that after all of that pain, after all of that loneliness, after everything you’ve been through, after the heartbreak you’ve endured or all of the lessons you’ve learned up until this point in your life, all of the things you’ve experienced and been through, this is going to be what arrests your attention? This is going to be the thing you held out for?

No. We can’t do that. Absolutely not.

If that last mindset—or if any of these mindsets—resonated with you, leave me a comment. What did it make you think about today? What did it make you think about a situation you’re faced with right now? Let me know what most spoke to you.

If you’re enjoying my content but you’re also a reader, not just someone who likes to watch videos, I have a free newsletter that I’m writing every week now called The Three Relationships, which you can find at Check it out. It’s free. You can sign up right now and I’ll send you my latest edition this Friday.

Thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you next time.

Free Guide

Copy & Paste These
"9 Texts No Man Can Resist"

23 Replies to “Should You Wait If They’re Not Ready for a Relationship?”

  • Right now I m living this situation, he told me he hasn t time, he wants but he can t.
    I decided to leave this situation and dont wait for him, I feel my worth and I value my time.
    So I leave this and I wish him the BEST.
    Thanks for your video.

  • Thanks Matthew, great content as usual.
    The man I love is not dating other ladies but he doesn’t want a classical couple relationship. And I left him because I thought and still think some times, that’s what I want (am 53, divorced and had 4 kids).
    So now that somehow I made my family life and not going to create a new one, I wonder if my own mindset about relationships at my age must evolve.
    I follow you for years, thank you for really wanting to give your best.
    Our book is great too!
    Cheers from Switzerland

  • Yes you are completely right. But when you are in love, you will never be able to distance yourself from this person. And the truth is- if you are in love you cant replace the person with sb else .

  • I wish I would’ve had even a tiny portion of the advice offered here when I left home at 18. My life wouldn’t have been nearly as tragic. That being said, it’s very possible I was given good advice and simply chose to ignore it. At 66 I can tell you Matthew offers the best relationship advice I ever recall hearing but more importantly he says it such a non-offensive way I find myself drawn to the information and to thinking in a new way. Thanks for restoring a tiny bit of hope.

  • After 40 years together, 30 of which we lived together, last 10 years married, I walked away, left everything I owned behind as I just had enough of being blamed for things I did not do, divorce finalised a few months ago, living on my own is not good, I am lonely and thinking back I can see red flags I missed, watching your video presentations picks me up and makes me feel better about myself, looking forward to watching more presentations Matthew you are a wonderful person, Thank You

  • Best post yet!! You should run for president. Seriously, you just fix everything & I then realize – what the heck… “was this really what I was holding out for?” …. Hell NO. Your advise has helped me in my job & I realize that I have so much power to choose. Just ended a relationship where it honestly was better than other in the past, but I sincerely know that your advise is so critical because I know my standards more than any other time in my life & I need you to keep up the tough decisions & coaching because you are so in your zone. I always think… no that’s not an issue for me then you say something like a ‘situation ship’ & I’m like dang- I don’t want that crap & I am doing exactly that w/ the intimacy & that’s why it’s always me giving more. Screw that- I want all my mores back! I’m there so much for everyone & not gonna repeat. Wow. THANK YOU. Blessings to you & Audrey

  • Only the most empowering, lightbulb-popping video I’ve ever watched!!! When you asked if I wanted to invest another year in hoping…a huge kleig light turned on and nearly blinded me: “I already have!” I am going to print out the transcript and read it frequently, and I will feel GREAT now, NOT about what I “have” to do, but what now-empowered me “gets” to do! The next thing! Knowing that is the RIGHT thing to do. Powered up thanks to you.

  • I sometimes find myself in mindset #3 in early dating stages because I fear to remain alone in case the person am interested in decides to leave me either before meeting him physically or immediately after meeting each other.

    Please what’s should I do?

  • This topic was excellent, as usual, even though I’m not in the situation you describe. I just recently met someone, and have been on 3 dates. It is early, but fun so far. I’m a divorced professional woman in my 60s. Just some advice for others like me. If on line dating has you depressed, try asking your friends if they know someone you might like. That seems to work way better!

  • If only I had known this before it would have saved me so much pain. Thank you Matthew for sharing your amazing insights.

  • If only I had known this before it would have saved me so much pain and heart ache. Thank you Matthew for sharing your amazing insights.

  • Wow. Really needed this today. I’m still having dreams of the man I’m missing that I stopped seeing 8 months ago after a 12 year history of incredible random dates and me waiting for him to want a relationship. I love him and miss him, but have to regrettably accept he will never be capable of the relationship I desire. At 54 years young, I may never find someone I want to be with again, but at least I am allowing that to be a possibility vs waiting for something that will never happen. And that is MUCH better than if I kept waiting and he eventually started a relationship with someone else. I may not be dating right now, but self respect is great company.
    Thank you so much, Mathew…learning from you gave me the strength to make that change and stick with it!

  • Hello Matthew, i am a 58 year old successful woman. I raised my son alone. Been through countless bad relationships over the years. 6 years ago i began intense counseling that brought healing and feeling of great hope. I met a man, the relationship started as a friendship that transitioned into a romantic relationship after three months. I met his children, he met mine. We made future plans and followed thru. He showed up for me, was consistent, he was kind, he was genuine. We had great communication , so much in common, laughed, played and flirted..I did everything by the “playbook” and so did he. And one day, after 9 months, he said i never wanted this and walked away, completely blindsiding me. Im working through the difficult heartbreak and letting him go. My question is, how do i trust myself and the process going forward when we did it the right way and it ended?

  • Matthew, I’m finishing chapter 15 in your Love Life book, it has completely blown me away. This video has completely shown me the value in ending a relationship that I am completely heartbroken over, and even though it was my only choice being the one that set off the time bomb in my own life was complete hell. Again because in Love Life, I identified that I’ve always been the one to end it, to stop dealing in bad behavior and short comings and never staying when I finally had enough. This mind shift video, is the greatest follow up to Chapter 14-15, it is a complete waste of time to stay in an imbalanced relationship with anyone. Be it from infidelity or long distance relationships or whatever it is. You have to draw the line get out your ammo box and get out. I commend you for the encouragement that you’re giving the world. I’m 55 and just lost the only person I ever really wanted in my life, I mean I wanted him with every cell of my body. But I feel that strongly and want it that badly so why settle? I can’t. And there’s been weeks where I spent a few days in isolation, didn’t eat, didn’t talk, mourned, and a 2 weeks I took a break from Love Life because it was too real. If you hadn’t released this book when you did, I would be without hope and I have friends and a counselor who are ecstatic about me ending it but my pain my friend it’s real. Thank you Matthew!

  • This resonate so much. I wish I knew you three years earlier.

    I have been in this exact situation. I lost three years of my life. And today I am heartbroken and in pain since 18 months.

    He told me he was not ready for something serious after 3 dates but he was ok to be exclusif so I stayed thinking he might change his mind (he got just divorced after a 10 years marriage when i met him).
    After 3 years together, he told me he couldn’t go further even if he felt in love with me. I am struggling to get over him. How someone can stay in a realtionship saying they love you, acting like they do, and end things saying they cant commit more? Even Crying to leave but still leaving. I am so confused, disappointed. I feel betrayed, in so much pain, and lost in that love life world.

  • I have learned so much about relationships since breaking up with my bf 1/2022.

    If and when I do meet someone I’m interested in I now understand how a real relationship needs to work..,.
    Thank you Matthew. (Love your book/Love Life.)

    I will not immediately sleep with anyone. I’ve had that conversation with many guys. As you see I’m still single.

    Besides having the exclusivity, invested and committed talk I would never sleep with a man unless I see a very recent (same week) STD/HIV TEST REPORT. I like sex too much to have myself or someone else mess that up. That has been and will always be part of any conversation with a guy I’m and dating.

    Many men have told me NO!!! I move on!!!!

  • I’ll be turning 50 this year. I’ve dated since I was 12, had a boyfriend in high school for 3 years. Not really a true connected relationship but it is the only one that lasted more than a year. In essence, one could say that I’ve never had a relationship. I’ve lived in scarcity my whole life. I experienced physical abuse from my father and have been a magnet for narcissists. I’ve spent over 30 years in therapy. I discovered I’m autistic as well and have a lot of trouble socializing and definitely don’t have a group of friends to spend time with. Yet anyone would think I should’ve found someone by now. As if I consciously chose to be single all this time. I’ve chosen not to continue the abuse cycle. My standard is refusal to be with someone like my father. So I find myself wanting someone healthy, yet no healthy person wants to be with someone so damaged. My options are other damaged people, but only the ones who have sought help and are trying to be better. This pool is excruciatingly small. That hope I’ve been living with is truly being shattered the closer I get to my birthday. I have so much damage to repair still before I might find another healthy-ish person on my level. I don’t want to wait until I’m 80 to find that person. But I’m afraid that’s what I’m looking at.

    1. Hi Kristen,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I resonate so much with what you just wrote. I wonder if the damage you think you need to repair is not so much “your” innate damage but thinking you need to repair “your” damage, that was instilled by someone else, before you are worthy of connecting with the one. Holding your standards for a quality, healthy relationship with someone who truly gets you, matches you and values you, even if it means being alone right now, to me is proof that you have grown and healed the part of you that would have accepted that treatment in the past. I truly believe your person is out there, maybe not on the same time line as you right now, but is looking and waiting for you too. I want that for you and wish that for myself too.

  • I have tears in my eyes and my heart is heavy. You are absolutely on target. My painful answer is “absolutely not”! I have remained a “casual friend”of someone I used to have the most intense feelings that I’ve ever had for over 5 years. I thought I was holding high standards and honoring my value in “friendship” by keeping in touch with him … but after watching this video, I realize I have not been honoring my truest feelings and hopes. I had completely cut ties with him for 6 months at first but did not like feeling like I was not being my authentic self … because I still cared about him and wanted him in my life. So even though I reinitiated contact, I have not had sex with him, dated him, flirted with him or called him for these past 4 years. He has called me at least once a week for all these years, and we have met for lunch or dinner every now and then, initiated by him, which I honestly thought verified how much he deep down really valued and loved me. But I can now see how I was trying to keep it “equal” by holding back (which is not my authentic self), and have not been experiencing the depth of mutual “friendship”nor the secret wish for a real”relationship” with him that I still honestly want. I have not been disrespecting myself but I am not being nor receiving my authentic wish NOR honoring myself or my value. The truth is he never initiated contact with me for those 6 “no contact” months and, even though he checks in with me regularly, he does not value me the way I wish he did nor to the depth that is my standard. The truth is … he is still “rotating” me along with his list of other “friends.” I am no more special to him. Although he truly means no harm, and he is a good, honest person, the truth hurts me … and this “friendship” does not remotely resemble what I want, need, deserve or allow from anyone else in my life, besides my family. But that is a whole other story. The bottom line is, even though I don’t want to hurt him by cutting ties, I am hurting myself and my true wishes, desires and standards. I want and deserve to give and receive more. I need to cut the cord. Thank you, Matthew, for sharing your amazing gifts and lessons.

  • The very end where you say “this is not what we’re settling for! NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! Hit me hard! My whole life I have settled! Always making excuses for either Narcissistic men or men who will never commit!

1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *