“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””

  • Yes, more of these!!! Your answers to specific dilemnas are useful and give a chance to those who cannot call on a radio show to have questions answered. Is there an address that these case questions can be sent to?


  • Loved it – in fact I’m in a similar situation; I am building my business and it’s been hard to be full on in my relationship. When you said that if it’s the right relationship then you wouldn’t care if you were ready or not it sounded really good to me. Because it may take quite a while to have my business running smoothly and I don’t want to stay single for a long time. But the guy who’s with me should be supportive of my work, as I would be of his.

  • Yes, the written question format is fine as long as you don’t come down on the writer for asking an ambiguous question. Not to verbose you on this, but a call-in person can clarify herself; a writer hasn’t got that option. It’s likely many written questions will have this sort of problem so being a little gentler on your writers wouldn’t be a bad thing.

  • Hey Matt
    Been following your newsletters for a while and really like these new style short videos.
    Now they’re even better with the live case study version.! Very informative and genuine
    from a guys perspective, that we don’t often get to hear, and both answers to the email were useful – wish I’d known them earlier.

    PS The puns make for added hilarity.

  • I like this free to ask a question and have Matthew answer it. Of course, if he can’t then maybe someone from his staff can. Preferably Matthew but I know it’s not realistic to have him answer everything

  • I am soo happy to see this video on a case study, when the girl is not ready yet. I would like to point things a little bit differently because I think there are a lot of women in Matt’s audience, who are just not ready for the marriage yet.

    I have posted this request before, but could Matt make his next video on girls, who are just not ready to get married yet. Should they date anyone, should they enter a relationship in case they know they are not ready for marriage yet.
    Me being a 28-year-old woman who consciously stopped dating at the age of 21 and have been staying away from guys ever since. I stopped because my motivation about dating was that I found someone interesting and I was curious about them, but on several relationships the guys fell really deeply in love with me and I felt really bad about it.
    After that since 21, I started battling some issues – shitty job, which was draining me, then an eating disorder, career change, etc.. But now all this is ending and I am soon embarking on a new future. And the topic of love life is really bothering me. I believe if you are young, you should take opportunities, but I don’t know how to approach things, having in mind my past experience. I am attracted to guys, but I am not really to commit for life yet and I don’t want to break anyone’s heart.
    I loved this case study in this video. I bet there are a lot of women in your audience in their 20s or just not ready for the big step yet. I would be really, really happy if you make a video for us!!!
    Thanks, Matt! Have a great holiday season! :))

  • Some women really do have crazy circumstances. Perhaps she’s too busy with studies & she knows that a relationship will be a bad influence on it. Perhaps she has strict parents (like I do). I think she really must be experiencing something difficult to hold off dating this man, she seems to like him a lot. I’ve been through the exact same. I would rather set a man free & be happy for him than waste his time, no matter how much I like him. I would say something different to him though; something along the lines of:

    “I really like being around you, it makes me feel incredibly happy. I like you as a person & I can see myself being with you. However, my circumstances make it difficult to be emotionally involved with someone at this point in my life. Out of respect, I don’t want to waste your time or lead you on, I want to set you free & I want you to be happy. If you meet someone else by the time I am ready, it’s okay & if you haven’t, then we could definitely give it a shot.” – of course she can throw in the line of wanting to be herself completely when she’s with him, that’s an excellent idea – it will make him look forward to potentially dating her. :)

    I’m not a dating expert, but I firmly believe in mutual respect, & that respect is the most important thing to a man; it is more important to a man than love is…

    1. Also, adding value to a man’s life is one of my core beliefs. Wanting him to be happy is one of the most selfless acts, because you are okay with letting him go. It may hurt a lot, but I believe that if you truly like or love someone, you do so by setting them free, not confining them.

  • I like this way of answering our questions – you always make me laugh :0)

    Giving people hope is something you do well,


    Lysé xx

  • Dear Matt and Team,
    I am very happy about your spontaneous talks. It gives to me a lot of knowing how to be more direct, spontaneous and true, without regrets or other negatives feelings, it is helping me to comunicate with more lightness.

    Thanks a lot for doing this great job! For me you are the Angel of happy comunication !!
    Lisbeth, 59 years on this planet, swizzerland.

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