How Do You Know If They’re Just Looking For a Good Time?

Let me preface this by saying that dating just for the fun of dating without any intention of committing is not wrong or bad. In fact, I think it’s becoming more and more common amongst both genders. Where it becomes and issue is when one party wants something more exclusive and the other doesn’t.

So the question is, how do you determine what the other person can or can’t offer?

Let’s start with some basics.

1. They don’t make concrete plans with you too far in advance - Somebody who wants to make sure they get to spend time with you is going to lock you down for a date AT LEAST 48 hours in advance if not more. If the person you’re seeing can’t make plans or confirm plans less than 24 hours before, and don’t offer up some sort of reason why they can’t solidify plans like they have a pressing job related project or other obligation, it’s probably because they’re weighing their options. Which could mean someone else is on the roster or they have other plans that are more interesting to them, like tickets to a game or whatnot. Whatever that other thing might be, it means you are not high on the priority list.

2. They make a lot of last minute plans – The occasional last minute thing isn’t that big of an issue. It happens. But if this is a common occurrence, there are two possible reasons. 1. Other plans fell through or 2. Whomever else they’re seeing is not around. Yes. That’s right. Meaning you are a side dish, not the main course. Accept the plans once or twice without saying you prefer to have more advanced notice or without sharing that you have other plans around which you need to schedule and they’ll think you’re always going to be available. Flexible is great. But if you frequently find yourself at the other end of the 8pm or 9pm phone call asking you to meet them for a drink, or waiting by the phone on Thursday wondering if you’ll see them that weekend, you’re being taken advantage of.

3. Everything is fun and light, and you two never talk about the future or where things are going. – This conversation is unlikely if you’ve only had a smattering of dates. But if you’ve been consistently seeing each other beyond, say, 5 dates, and you’re sleeping together, and you are both looking for something solid..this conversation needs to be had. I don’t care if they’ve talked about future vacations or weddings or other such nonsense. Talk is cheap, baby. If someone want to be sure that you’ll be in their future, they’re going to lock you down in the present. If they’re avoiding that conversation, it’s because they don’t want to be committed. As long as you say nothing, they’re fine. But speak up and you can bet you’ll have your answer based on how they react. If their behavior changes, that’s your answer.

4. You see each other no more than once a week - I don’t care if they text you every day, or call,  or email you and say the most delicious of things….if, after 4 or 5 dates, you’re not seeing them more than once every 5-8 days, you are casual dating material at best. This will not change. The email conversations and cutesy things are just due diligence, something they’re doing to keep you on the roster. That sounds manipulative and malicious, but it’s really not. They like you. They’re having fun. They’re just either do not want anything more or don’t think you’re the person with which they could have it.

5. You’re not  consistently spending an extended period of time with them. – I’m talking full days or weekends here. The infrequent dinner into a sleepover and then breakfast in the morning does not count. It’s acceptable that someone might not be able to stay over during the week, especially if they work odd hours or a regular 9-5.  Although, after a while (say maybe a couple of months) you and they should have worked out some sort of schedule. During the week they don’t stay over, weekends they do. If they’re looking for a serious relationship, they’re going to spend more and more time with you on a regular basis.

6. You don’t often see them in their natural habitat. – How often do they bring you to their place? Have you met their friends? Co-workers? Do you ever meet them at the office? Do they take you to places they frequent…or to places they’ve “always wanted to try?” This could be me being paranoid but…someone who is always taking you to “new” places, meaning new to them or not in their neighborhood, who also doesn’t incorporate you into their lives to some degree scream “married” or at least “taken.” They’re avoiding the possibility of being caught or seen by someone who knows them. Don’t be fooled just because they meet your friends, either. You want them to integrate you in to their lives. Re: Meeting the family…I don’t think not meeting someone’s family in the first 6 months or so  is necessarily a deal breaker. So many of us come from what we lovingly call dysfunctional families. Sometimes we think we’re protecting them by not introducing them to our relatives.

7.You’re not getting a lot of weekend dates. – We’ve discussed this one before. I still stand by my assertion that, after 3-5 dates, if you’re not regularly getting the full Friday night or Saturday night, you are merely an option on their playlist. The whole point of getting the Friday or Saturday is to spend more time together the next day. In fact, the whole point of dating someone when you’re looking for a serious relationship is to spend as much time with them as possible to determine compatibility. A few hours here and there, with the occasional sleepover, is casual dating territory. Acceptable in the beginning. Not acceptable if it’s been going on for a couple of months or longer and you’re looking for something serious.

8. They don’t have a recent history of committing. - If you ask someone the last time they had a serious relationship, meaning longer than a year, and they haven’t had one of those in a few years,  it’s highly unlikely you’re going to be the one to tame that horse. If they’re divorced, that’s one thing. A lot of people are too thrown through a loop after a divorce and, depending on how long they were married, need significant time to re-adjust. But if this is someone who has never been married and they’re in their late thirties or over then they probably either aren’t anxious to commit because they don’t want to or have to, or they’re just not ready for/are capable of a real relationship. If they are ready/capable and don’t have much recent serious relationship experience, they’ll show you by making themselves available, literally and figuratively.

9. They don’t really commit to themselves. - A lot of people work hard to work out their stuff. Just because someone is of a certain age and not settled down doesn’t mean they’re not good candidates.  Someone who has quit drinking or smoking, or lost weight, or taken up exercise, or gotten their finances in order, or gone to therapy, or gone back to school…That’s a form of commitment. To themselves. That counts, too.  That’s a good thing. You want to see that in a person.You want to know that they are clear about what they want and truly open to having it. No games, no drama, no inconsistent behavior, no excuses. Plenty of people see the error of their ways and decide enough is enough. They decide that they’re ready for something healthy and real and do the work necessary to attain that.  They make changes. If someone is of a certain age and doesn’t really seem to be very settled, and doesn’t appear to be working on getting settled, hasn’t committed to themselves. Which means they probably won’t commit to you.

And I know. Some of you will say that there are exceptions and no dating rules. I agree. But there are some basic guidelines that are typically adhered to that help people determine where they stand.

YOUR THOUGHTS?

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23 Responses to “How Do You Know If They’re Just Looking For a Good Time?”

  1. Infinity Says:

    Indeed, everything you said is true. It’s almost natural and automatic to see what these signs mean. But sometimes the truth is a hard pill to swallow. we keep hoping it’s just a fluke, the exception to the rule, or that there is a perfectly good misunderstanding. It is possible one of the above could be the case, but probably not when ALL of the symptoms are present. The best gauge to use is, (if you’re divorced) compare him to how well your ex treated you. Very few women marry men that that can’t make themselves available to them. If he likes you, he’ll call. And want to see you. It’s so obvious.

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  2. Vox Says:

    If after 4-5 dates you feel you need to refer to a checklist like this, you already know things aren’t going anywhere. (Hell, I’ve never had the “where are things going” conversation in my life, and I’ve been married.) Frankly I don’t know how anyone could be emotionally invested at all in someone who meets even half of the above criteria. You would obviously be building up a relationship in your head, one that has no bearing whatsoever on reality.

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    • trouble Says:

      I think that there seem to be a lot of women out there that, even though this seems pretty basic to most of us, are so hopeful that a man is interested in them, will ignore all of the red flags that Moxie has listed. So, yes, it’s pretty basic stuff, but I bet Moxie gets several questions each month that have to deal with just the sort of self-delusion that she’s addressed here.

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      • Vox Says:

        Indeed… I have been one of those people myself. I’m one of those types who has to learn things the hard way. But once I learn, the lesson sticks with me forever.

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  3. Robyn Says:

    A couple of extensions to #5 and/or #6:
    If you aren’t invited to their home and/or don’t know where it is and/or don’t know their home phone number – they definitely have some one else in their life, and they are most probably living with them (married / attached).
    If they don’t introduce you to their friends and/or don’t want you parking their car in their driveway when you visit them, then there are definitely other people “on their list” who have a higher priority than you do (and they don’t want them to find out about you!).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. M Says:

    I agree with what you say in a good number of your posts Moxie, but with all due respect, I have to say I think you are off the mark on this one. How so?

    #1, 2, and 3: This is typical guy behavior. When its just me, I rarely decide to do anything days in advance. I will typically wake up in the morning then decide what I want to do that day. A guy doing this with a girl, IMHO, is just a sign that he hasnt thought that she might want/need more advance warning or time to prepare. With all of what you said, yes, you could be right, but I would hardly say its the rule. Also, guys do not bring up topics of conversation like this any more than is absolutely necessary. I may ask a girl to be exclusive with me, but that’s probably the last time I bring up “the future” or “where things are going” until I pop The Question.

    #4, 5 and 7: OK, agree with you on these.

    #6: Just because a girl doesnt get to see certain sides of a guy doesnt mean she is just an option to him. Unless I date a girl from work, no girl will ever see me at the office or most likely, meet my co-workers. Thats just how it is and will not change, and FYI, this is not my personal policy – there are other things in play, including the fact we never go out for lunch where I work. While I think she should meet his friends and see where he lives, I can see why a guy might not be quick to introduce a girl to these aspects of his life, such as if he lives a good distance from her.

    #8: Not everyone has the same experiences. Just because someone hasnt committed to someone for a few years doesnt mean they wont. For example, for several years, I was geographically undesirable, and had a very tough time getting dates as a result. At the end of that period, does that make me a big red flag? No, because I hadnt really had the chance to commit during that time.

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    • andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      For example, for several years, I was geographically undesirable, and had a very tough time getting dates as a result.

      Okay, but why did you keep going after women who were geographically undesirable? Had you compromised a bit and tried to date women in your area, then would you have had an opportunity to commit? I don’t know if your reasoning is really all that sound on this point.

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      • M Says:

        I was geographically undesirable because I was living in a rural area. There were very few girls my age in the area, and I did not know where to go to meet anyone. Its not like in a major city where you can just go to a bar and meet people. There were very few girls on the dating web sites in my area as well. So that’s why I didnt go after people in my area. Everyone who was left was far enough away to consider me geographically undesirable, though I didnt have a problem with going to see them, even if it meant me going to see her most of the time (see the compromise there on my part?)

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  5. Michael Says:

    Okay, I’ll share a big secret.. and I’m not associated with this organization financially – just a fan. What you said in #9 was, for me, the biggest hurdle in my life. Learning to become authentic took a long time and the Hoffman Institute process was the catalyst. As a man, every relationship I had up to age 37 (including one marriage) was predicated on the idea of keeping her happy. It was only after I stopped thinking “what would a woman like?” and started thinking about what I wanted did I start to act with the kind of confidence that, well, let’s just say I’ve got a lot of great stories, and now have found an amazing woman and we’re expecting in August. :)

    So my advice to men who genuinely care about women is to just put that on the back-burner and do things for yourself and for the people you serve. For women, if he breaks dates because he’s busy, try not to read too much into it. Maybe he’s trying to be successful to impress you.

    Look at it this way: most intelligent men or women can lie effectively to get what they want and you’ll never know, so it’s really about you: do you want to spend your time in gut-wrenching turmoil over “suspicions” or do you want to trust? It’s a verb not a noun. Think about it. Then live authentically and help others to do the same.

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  6. Paula Says:

    This is one of those really good posts that there’s not much to add to.

    I do agree with M that some guys are just that way, but many more are juggling several women and/or not prepared to commit to anyone. So if you’re up against that, you better figure out as soon as possible which kind of guy you’re dealing with.

    And if you do find a guy lacking all these fairly obvious flaws, then he’s probably worth hanging on to.

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  7. Saj Says:

    I don’t know. I knew one guy who was very committed to himself to the point where he neglected our relationship horribly to keep to his commitments and then another guy who doesn’t have much ambition beyond getting the best starship in an online game who committed right away.

    Luckily I have enough self motivation for the both of us.

    I agree that you need weekend dates, short term dates are fine as long as you have long term planned ones as well and they are excited to integrate you into their lives ASAP. I’ve never had a relationship where the guy didn’t drag me to meet all his friends and family as soon as possible. A guy who would hide me…well that doesn’t bode well.

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  8. andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    Like Trouble and Vox both said, we know when something is off. And I’ll say this: The WORST thing someone (typically a woman) can do when they find themselves in this situation is to call some sort of enclave meeting of their girlfriends to discuss.

    Often times what keeps women hanging on, despite the gut feelings they have that the guy isn’t serious about them, is all their friends chirping in their ear.

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  9. cricri Says:

    Well sometimes consulting your friends can be a good thing when they are in relationships or have more experience. Because sometimes, something might be off but it is with you and not your romantic interest and you need a good friend to set you straight.

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  10. dimplz Says:

    andthatswhyyouresingle :
    Like Trouble and Vox both said, we know when something is off. And I’ll say this: The WORST thing someone (typically a woman) can do when they find themselves in this situation is to call some sort of enclave meeting of their girlfriends to discuss.
    Often times what keeps women hanging on, despite the gut feelings they have that the guy isn’t serious about them, is all their friends chirping in their ear.

    I have to agree with this. A lot of times, your girlfriends will advise you to do things that they would never do in your situation. Some women are wise, but you have to take all advice with a grain of salt. You definitely know what your comfort levels are, and some women are difficult, so taking advice from that kind of woman is a mistake. Better to know what your limitations are, and work with the person you’re dating one-on-one.

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    • dimplz Says:

      Hm. That didn’t work. Here it is again:

      I have to agree with this. A lot of times, your girlfriends will advise you to do things that they would never do in your situation. Some women are wise, but you have to take all advice with a grain of salt. You definitely know what your comfort levels are, and some women are difficult, so taking advice from that kind of woman is a mistake. Better to know what your limitations are, and work with the person you’re dating one-on-one.

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  11. Trouble Says:

    I’ll tell you what I think in this scenario, when you aren’t really sure what to think…ask your MALE friends about it, not your female friends. Your female friends are probably just like you, and may have succumbed to wishfulthinkingitis, too. But, a good male friend will be more likely to tell you the unvarnished truth and set you straight.

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    • zorach Says:

      I think there’s more of a difference from one individual to the next than there is, as a general trend, between men and women.

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  12. zorach Says:

    While I think these are all good indicators, honestly, do you really need to go to all this trouble? I think some of your points are more reliable indicators than others. But you can skip a lot of this really early on.

    Look a man in the eyes and ask him something real about himself. Ask him the first time you talk. Ask him something relevant to these points you make here. Ask him if he likes to be more spontaneous or if he’s a planner. Or ask him to share a story about a date or relationship that he feels genuinely appreciative of and good about.

    Let him talk a little bit and pay attention. Is he really sharing himself with you, letting you know how he really feels, how he really operates? If he’s not being honest with you, or if he’s afraid of having a real conversation in which he actually shares at least a small but real part of himself, drop him. It’s not worth even having casual dates with someone who is not being straight up with you and who is not going to really share himself with you.

    If he’s being honest, then you will gain more understanding of him. These rules you have given all have a lot of truth to them but their interpretation varies hugely from one person to the next because of individual styles. It’s best to go with the overall trend, rather than following rules. If you follow these rules you may jump to incorrect conclusions. Maybe he visits his family on weekends and family is really important to him, and maybe you’d really connect with his family later, once you get to know him better? Or maybe he’s just a really spontaneous person who doesn’t plan ahead much.

    Just my thoughts!

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  13. pistola Says:

    “If he’s not being honest with you, or if he’s afraid of having a real conversation in which he actually shares at least a small but real part of himself, drop him. It’s not worth even having casual dates with someone who is not being straight up with you and who is not going to really share himself with you.”

    This. +1. The evasive and the noncommittal: same folks.

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  14. Kevin Says:

    I was reading an interesting review on the latest book by Kay Hymowitz’s “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys”. Link: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/manning-up-or-wimping-out-men-dont-exist-to-serve-womens-desires/

    Basically, the woman reviewing was asking why men should have to ‘man up’ when society has shifted to the point where there are no disadvantages to men who don’t man up, and no advantages to those who do.

    Its a different viewpoint than mine & I’d like some people’s thoughts.

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  15. Jamie Says:

    I get a kick out of these artificial timetables and rules which do nothing but increase pressure on the couple to get committed before they’re truly ready for it or cause a woman to cut things off prematurely with a potentially great guy. Some people date one person casually for months before things get serious because they don’t want to make a mistake in commiting to the wrong person, See where things go naturaly in the relationship; you’ll know intuitively when/if it’s time to “cut the cord.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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