How to wait for someone who isn’t ready for a relationship

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You like each other—a lot.

But the problem is, they’re not ready for a relationship. Perhaps they’re still healing from a break-up or they’re trying to focus on their career.

Well, there’s nothing much you can do but wait.

Here are the things you should do when someone you love is not yet ready for a relationship.

1) Accept their decision gracefully.

They have decided they aren’t ready for a relationship yet, and it will be healthier for both of you to accept that decision.

Don’t try to force them to change their minds whether it be through guilt, gaslighting, or fear.


There are many different reasons why it’s a bad idea to force them into being your boyfriend or girlfriend too soon.

First, they’ll get turned off. They will think that you can’t respect their boundaries and decisions, or they’ll simply find you annoying. And because of this, they might cut you off completely.

Second, let’s say you succeed at convincing them to be with you, then one day in the future they will wake up wanting out. They’ll then blame you for forcing them to be with you!

They’ll want out even though they love you, and even if your relationship might seem perfect at a glance because, well… surprise! They simply weren’t ready for it.

So don’t force it.

They say we should accept the things we can’t change… and this is definitely one of them.

2) Understand where they’re coming from.

I’m sure they already told you their reasons for not wanting to be in a relationship.

I’m sure you think that you know exactly why because you know them like the back of your hand.

But you have to look deeper and try to see what lies beneath… because fact is that whatever they have told you is just the tip of the iceberg.

Let’s say they told you they’re not ready because they have to focus on their career. This might seem like a lame excuse to you at first, but it clearly isn’t so for them.

So ask yourself some questions, like… why is their career so important to them?

Maybe they have been poor all their life and all they want right now—more than anything—is to get promoted so they’ll finally feel secure.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for us to understand the other person because we only see what lies at the surface. So try to go deeper.

And here’s the important thing: You have to look at them with compassion. Because that’s what love is, isn’t it?

3) Are they really worth it?

Waiting for love is not the easiest and wisest thing to do.

Not only will you miss out on many opportunities of meeting other potential partners, you’ll also risk hurting yourself in the end.

That’s why, if your love for them (and their love for you) isn’t THAT strong in the first place, I suggest that you don’t wait for them.

There’s plenty of fish in the sea. I mean, even 70-year-olds still get dates these days.

Sometimes people decide to “wait” on people too soon, and the only reason they did it was because they were the first person to reach out to them.

So before everything else, try to make sure you’re not just blindly fixating on them!

However, if you feel deep in your heart that they’re indeed the one for you, then you have no choice but wait. Great love requires some sacrifice.

4) A relationship coach can give you clarity.

It isn’t easy waiting for someone who isn’t ready to commit.

You can’t be sure when they’ll actually decide they’re ready, and it can be hard not to take it personally.

And while we can offer you general advice in this article, we don’t know the details of your specific situation. That’s why I recommend talking to a professional relationship coach.

Relationship Hero is my recommended resource for highly trained relationship coaches. I had consulted them before when I was having a hard time dealing with my partner’s commitment issues.

Their help blew me away. They knew how to help me hold on to my patience and were understanding even to the “pettiest” complaints I had to share.

It’s for this reason that they’re a popular site for people who are dealing with difficult questions about love.

To make it even better, they don’t complicate things. Click here to get started, and in minutes you’ll be in touch with a certified relationship coach.

5) Don’t take it personally.

Since you already tried to understand where they’re coming from, this should be easy.

Trust me on this. Most of the time, it’s really not about us…not even if they can’t or don’t want a relationship with us.

So if they’re not ready, don’t get offended.

Don’t think that they’re just giving you a lame excuse because they really don’t like you enough.

Don’t believe those people who say “They’re just not that into you.” They think things in black and white.

It’s possible that they really mean what they say—that they’re simply not ready, and it’s not because you’re not smart enough, handsome enough, rich enough.

And besides, if they’re really making excuses, then it’s STILL not your fault, is it?

Laugh it off and move on if you really think they’re making excuses. Or stay and wait for them to be ready if you think they’re telling the truth.

But no matter what, don’t put the focus on you. This is all about THEM not being ready. This isn’t about you not being good enough.

6) Don’t close your doors on them.

I’m sure a part of you wants to forget them for good. It’s quite painful to be around someone you love, but can’t be with.

But hey, they haven’t exactly rejected you yet, have they? They simply aren’t ready.

So keep that spark of hope close to your chest.

A lot of love stories blossom from waiting for the right time, and a lot wither when rushed.

If you truly love them, then trust that things will eventually fall into place.

So don’t push them away. Hang around, and keep the door open so that should they decide they’re now ready they can reach you.

7) Have a clear definition of what “waiting” really means.

If they said they love you too yet they just can’t commit right now, then you better be clear of everything.

I know you’re both confused and it seems demanding to get clear answers, but your situation requires it. Otherwise, one or both of you might get hurt.

Ask them these questions:

  • Do you like me too?
  • Do you want me to wait?
  • How long should I wait?
  • What are we waiting for exactly—that you graduate? That you become emotionally ready?
  • Should we see other people while we wait?
  • Are we still going to message each other?

Being as clear as possible will make it easier for both of you to nurture what you have. At the same time, it’s easier for you to gauge when to stay and when to finally let go.

For example, if you both promised not to date other people, and you see them cuddling with someone in the cinema, then you know it’s clearly over.

At the same time, if they stayed true to their word, then you know just how much they want to be with you…and that, yes, they’re just not ready at the moment.

8) Manage your expectations.

Having your expectations set a bit too high can lead to heartbreak.

So don’t expect too much even if they promised that they’ll remain loyal to you while they’re sorting their life out.

Trust them fully but welcome the possibility that life could take them elsewhere. They might even find someone else they love more, for instance.

Tragic, but that’s just how life is —unpredictable and complicated.

And this is why you should be willing to offer trust, but on the other hand expect the worst. But of course, hope for the best as well.

9) Try to understand the real them.

Use this time to understand them and whether you really like them or not.

Most people form their opinions of others based on what they see on the surface, as well as what “feelings” they evoke.

The end result is these opinions are often dictated by biases and very incorrect. To top it off, the more convinced one is that they got someone “right” … they didn’t.

So that’s why you should genuinely try to understand them fully while you have this distance.

What are their strengths and their flaws? What is it that they love and despise? What beliefs and principles do they hold?

Finding the answers to these questions serve as a good first step in trying to understand them. That way, when you’re finally together, you already know a lot about them (and yourself) that you’re truly ready to commit.

10) Set clear boundaries.

It’s always important to have clear boundaries, and to respect them. And it’s even more important when you’re dealing with someone who isn’t ready for a relationship.

Should you still hold hands? Kiss?

Is it still okay to hang out at each other’s place?

Are you comfortable being friends with benefits, or are you okay checking out other people?

Talk these things over as soon as you can, because not having clear boundaries can ruin your chances of actually getting together later.

Creating boundaries can also be a very hard thing to do, especially if it’s not something you’ve done a lot before.

But the good thing is, a relationship expert can actually guide you in creating boundaries that would benefit not just you, but also your partner.

And for this, again I recommend checking out Relationship Hero. Through there you can talk to a trained relationship expert about setting clear boundaries.

I had a good experience with them on this exact same issue, so I’m confident that they can help you out, too.

11) Focus on yourself more than the other person.

Don’t be a doormat.

I know you love them with all of your heart, but you shouldn’t love them more than you love yourself, especially since you’re not yet a couple!

Put all that love on yourself while you’re waiting for them instead.

How do you do that exactly?

First off, try to say no to them from time to time. Don’t do it out of spite, as in telling them “no” when it normally wouldn’t be a bother for you.

When you say “no,” it should be because of a genuine reason like “I don’t have the time” or “I’m too tired.”

Next, think of what can truly make your life better. And as hard as it may be, remove them from the equation. Ask yourself what makes you happy and fulfilled, then do them!

And here’s a BONUS: You get more attractive this way.

When you’re too available, when it’s clear to them that you’re too crazy for them, when you don’t have a life…they will sense it. And it will turn them off.

Think about it. Do you want to be with someone whose world revolves around you?

Me neither.

We all want someone who knows how to prioritize themselves. It makes them more valuable and badass.

12) Set a deadline.

Let’s be real. Nobody can wait forever.

You don’t want to be stuck in limbo and put your life on hold for way too long because of someone who is never ready.

What if they take years before they decide they’re ready? Decades?

Do you really want to spend your time just waiting for them to realize they want to have a relationship with you?

Hell no.

You can perhaps wait for a few months, even a year. But five years? That would be too much.

Now perhaps you can wait that long. Maybe you can even wait for ten! Good, but nonetheless take the time to sit down and try to find out how long you can realistically wait.

Imagine that every year you spend focusing on them alone, you lock yourself out of meeting other people who can be just as good—or even better—for you. Ones that are actually available!

And once you know for sure, tell them. But more important—make a promise to yourself to follow your set deadline. Life is short.

13) Be a real friend.

What I mean here is to be a real friend. Don’t simply be a “friend” so that you have an excuse to be close to them and to try to grow closer.

This means, among other things, respecting their boundaries and actually, genuinely caring for their wellbeing.

It’s hard, I know. You have feelings and it will bleed to the friendship. It will be obvious to anyone who looks even if you tried hard to mask your feelings.

But so long as you pay close attention to how you act around them, then you should be good.

Don’t you worry about being put in the “friend zone.” If they truly like you, they’ll be perfectly willing to be your friend and also date you at the same time.

And even if they decide they’d rather not be with you, then at least you still have a friend in the end.

14) Go live the life you want.

Technically, you’re still free.

Sure, you might have talked about your “commitment” to wait. But that doesn’t mean you should also keep your social life under lock and key.

Perhaps you talked about not dating or having sex with other people until both of you are ready… and that’s fine!

Things like these shouldn’t stop you from going out and befriending new people anyways.

Meeting new people and befriending them isn’t “dating”, and if they take issue with that, you may consider it a red flag.

And don’t feel guilty pursuing things like you’re still single—like going on a solo trip to Peru—because hey, you ARE single!

Use this time to enjoy yourself because once they decide to commit to you, the two of you will probably be joined at the hip forever and ever.

Last words

We like to think about how romantic it must be to have someone who loves us so much that they would spend years waiting… or to wait patiently for someone and be rewarded for it.

But reality is much less glamorous than that.

Waiting is harsh on your self-esteem, and there’s a chance that they will decide to be with someone else instead.

In the end, it pays for you to account for these possibilities and to put yourself first—a task that’s made easier than it would be otherwise when you have the aid of a good relationship expert from Relationship Hero.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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