7 subtle signs your partner loves you a lot but doesn’t see you as the one, according to psychology

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Stop-gap love sounds brutal, but it’s a real thing.

It’s where someone’s feelings for you are genuine yet deep down they don’t expect it to last.

The sad truth is that it can still be love, yet not be forever. 

Deciding someone is “the one” can bring together lots of multifaceted factors that extend beyond their feelings for you.

If you are concerned your partner may not be in it for the long haul, here are some subtle ways to confirm whether you’re right or not…

1) They avoid talking about the future

This is one good way to see whether you are Mr or Miss Right, or merely Mr or Miss Right Now.

We’re constantly told that it’s important to live in the present, right?

But when a relationship neglects to plan for the future, you never know where it’s heading.

Once you’ve progressed to using the L word, that implies a certain level of investment and commitment.

So if you’re not getting that, you may wonder why.

As pointed out by The Gottman Insitute:

“As a relationship progresses, each partner will begin to wonder where the relationship is going. Are we going to move in together? Do they want to get married? Do they want children?

“How do they handle their finances? How are we going to handle the holidays? These are only a few of the questions that every couple must answer as they grow in their lives together.”

If your partner seems hesitant, or downright avoidant to discuss or make plans in advance, it may suggest they’re still thinking in the short term.

2) They don’t feel ready to settle down

It’s annoying, but finding the right person also has a lot to do with timing.

I know we like to think that when you find your person, everything else just falls into place.

But it rarely works out that way.

One stumbling block that can take you a while to figure out is whether your partner is truly relationship-ready.

We all go through different phases and stages in life at our own pace.

Some people are ready to settle down much sooner than others.

Being emotionally available and open to having committed relationships is vital if you’re going to create a life together that lasts.

Looking at your partner’s lifestyle and behavior can give you clues as to whether they’re ready to settle down, as well as how they speak about committed relationships.

3) Your values have started to clash

Sometimes we fall in love with someone who later turns out to not be right for us.

In the early stages, it’s easy to get carried away by physical attraction and chemistry.

The reality is that we’re often on our best behavior too.

We pull out all the stops to impress, and that can involve being a bit guarded when it comes to what we reveal about ourselves.

Yet as time passes, we inevitably start to see the truth about one another. As we do, what we find isn’t always compatible.

It’s all well and good that you both like cycling and watching scary movies. But core values run so much deeper than surface preferences.

Having the same deeper beliefs about the world makes it more likely that you want the same things in life and are heading in the same direction.

As Steven Stosny Ph.D points out in Psychology Today:

“Common interests often attract people, but shared values sustain relationships. A couple whose connection is based on common interests, without shared values, will likely become competitive in their interests.”

These sorts of values can take longer to truly uncover. Time may begin to show that you aren’t aligned on quite a lot of fundamental things.

If it does, even though they love you, they may not feel like you’re a good fit for one another as life partners.

4) They prefer to keep things light

Having fun is a great way to bond with a love interest.

We all want to keep things light in the early stages. It’s part and parcel of presenting the best image possible of ourselves.

But eventually, real life also has to kick in. And real life involves a mixture of light and shade.

We all have bad days and hard emotions to deal with. A strong, healthy, and committed partnership appreciates that.

So as well as having a good time, you shouldn’t shy away from the tough or deep topics either.

If your partner is too heavily focused on the fun, you may feel like there is an absence of depth.

This usually means that the relationship is lacking emotional intimacy.

We don’t always feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable and open up straight away. But when a relationship is serious and going somewhere, it’s essential.

If you aren’t seeing this side from your other half, you will likely sense that they are still holding back and keeping you at arm’s length.

5) They constantly put other people and things before you

Do you feel like one of the most important things in their life?

If they see you as the one, then this should be an easy “yes” for you to answer.

The reality is when someone is important to us, we do and say things that show this.

We consider their feelings and thoughts as well as our own. We are prepared to put them first. We compromise to accommodate them.

Psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein says the status you hold in your partner’s life can be seen in how they treat you.

“Consistent efforts to prioritize the relationship, such as making plans for the future or introducing each other to important aspects of their lives, may indicate a partner’s willingness to commit. For example, if one partner starts including the other in family gatherings, social events, or long-term plans, it could be a subtle signal that they seek a more committed relationship.”

If you feel like you rarely come top of your partner’s priority list, it’s a red flag.

6) They make excuses to avoid commitment

Commitment-phobes are afraid of relationship milestones.

Whether it’s becoming exclusive, moving in together, getting engaged, or starting a family — they show resistance to taking the next step.

Even though you are more than ready, they remain reluctant and it feels as though you have to drag them along behind you.

Their excuses tend to be vague and offer no real explanation. Phrases that can start to feel like this may include:

  • I’m not into labels.
  • Can’t we just go with the flow?
  • Things are fine as they are, why change anything?
  • Stop putting pressure on me (in response to asking him how she/he feels)

Relationship coach Natalie Lue says reading between the lines, relationship excuses often translate as, “Please reduce your expectations of me and this relationship immediately”— which is why you shouldn’t just ignore it.

“The next time you’re presented with an excuse, it’s time to ask, “So what does this mean?” or “So what happens next?” I remember when Dot Dot Dot Man told me how busy he was for the umpteenth time and how he wasn’t ready for a relationship. I told him that he clearly doesn’t have time for a relationship, and this meant that our ‘relationship’ was over.

“That’s what it meant, and that’s what happens next when someone keeps excusing themselves for not having the time, energy, decency or even ability to evolve into a copilot in your relationship.”

7) They aren’t prepared to put in the hard work

Perhaps at the end of the day, this is what it comes down to most.

Everybody likes the fuzzy warm feeling of being in love. But not everyone is willing to accept that real love isn’t going to feel like that 24-7.

That’s not to say they don’t feel love for you, but it’s not always enough to guarantee the maturity and commitment of putting in the effort required to make things work.

These partners end up being “fair-weather” lovers.

Meaning, as long as everything feels carefree and easy, they are happy to go along for the ride.

Yet when any problems arise, they are very quick to remind you that they “don’t do drama”.

A certain amount of conflict or problems are inevitable in all relationships at some stage or another.

When someone sees you as the one, they are prepared to stick by your side and pull together to work through that.

A little bit of hard work certainly isn’t enough to scare them off. If it does, it may be a reflection of their lack of commitment.

We shouldn’t be afraid to ask

Okay, rolling up to your first date and questioning where this is going may be a little premature.

But it’s perfectly normal and natural to want to know that you are on the same page as someone.

Especially when a relationship reaches a certain level, it’s vital to talk about how you both feel, what you want out of your connection, along with your hopes and expectations for the future.

I know it’s scary. Sometimes we are afraid to rock the boat. We worry that we won’t get the answers we want.

But communication is key.

Trust me, asking them will not change their feelings for you, it will only clarify them.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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