While there are plenty of dating app profiles that make it painfully apparent that someone’s only mildly invested in connecting with someone, it’s also possible that you’ll match with someone, start talking, possibly even go on a date – and start seeing signs that they’re hesidating.
1. They shy away from vulnerability. Molly Godfrey, a trained dating and intimacy coach in New York City, recommends throwing out a small “test”: reveal something vulnerable or personal. “If the other person is receptive, open, and kind, they’re likely someone with the capacity for intimacy and has emotional depth,” she notes. “If the person is defensive or shies away from vulnerability, they may not be totally emotionally available.”
2. They’re not all that engaged. “If a potential partner seems less interested – they’re slow to respond to texts or cancel plans at the last minute – they may be hesidating,” says MacLean.
3. On the flip side, they might have too many questions, expectations, or be overly particular. “Sometimes, it feels as if some people are searching for reasons most any match won’t work,” notes Julianne McGowan, Relationship Manager at global matchmaking firm Kelleher International. “This is often a sign they are not truly open to a relationship due to unresolved and unconscious issues that are manifesting as avoidance in this case.”
4. You feel a shift in the energy they’re putting into your interactions. “When a match goes from seeming very happy and excited to talk or hang out to communicating in a manner that feels dry, short, and uninterested, there’s a good chance they are hesidating,” says Sullivan.
5. They avoid answering “heavier”-hitting questions. Asking questions like “what do you want in a relationship?” or “where do you see this going?” is challenging, full stop, but the pandemic encouraged singles to focus more on emotional intimacy, says MacLean. In turn, these “hard conversations” have become less taboo, even in the early stages of a relationship. But if your match is avoiding these dialogues, they may be hesidating, she notes.
6. They flake at the last minute. If you have plans and then they bail at the eleventh hour, they’re likely hesidating, says Logan Ury, the Director of Relationship Science at Hinge.
If you’re dating intentionally and you match with someone who’s hesidating, you run the risk of getting hurt because you’re not on the same page about what you ultimately want, acknowledges Macadaan. For that reason, you’ll do well to head any hesidating behavior off at the pass.
Start the relationship from a place of honesty.
Not only is this a great way to connect emotionally but it sets a strong foundation, notes MacLean. You can also think of this as setting a boundary to protect your energy and ensure your needs are being met, says Godfrey. If you’re not sure you’re on the same page, you can say something like, “I only have sex with people I’m interested in deepening a connection with and who are interested in a serious relationship” or “I’m really clear at this stage in my life I’m looking for deep, meaningful, serious connection which includes consistency in all our communication. I want to check if that is something you’re desiring as well?”
Take the root cause of the hesidating behavior into consideration.
While some hesidating might be attributed to ambivalence or a lack of emotional availability, it’s possible a hesitant match’s comfort level is simply different from yours at the moment. “Remember, everyone’s comfort level is different right now,” says firstmet ipuÃ§larÄ± Ury. If this is the case, she suggests trying to ease them back into dating by suggesting a video date first to get to know each other before meeting IRL.