I say this not to scare you away from dating. Modern dating is hard, but it’s far from impossible.

Love is out there. Emotionally available men and women do exist, and you can find them. You just need to stop wasting your time on the ones who are definitely not available—emotionally or otherwise.

I found myself constantly getting stuck in unhealthy dating patterns, trying to force relationships out of men who clearly did not want to be in one. All the signs were there, but I didn’t want to admit defeat. Dating was a game, and I wanted to win. I never did. Instead, I was left with heartbreak, distress, exhaustion, and bitterness. Not what I was looking for.

I wish I knew then what I know now: The best thing to do is to accept that someone is not into you and move on to someone who will be. As much as I hated going through those heartbreaks, I came out stronger and smarter after nearly every one.

I now recognize the signs that can tip me off to the harsh reality that someone is not into me. If you’ve experienced the ups and downs of online dating, perhaps you can relate. And if you still feel blindsided when things don’t work out with a prospective mate, perhaps some help identifying these signs might be of use to you.

Without further ado, here are five signs that the person you’re dating is not that into you.

#1: Breadcrumbing

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Alex Zivatar

As much as modern dating might suck, at least the internet is helping us collectively come up with fun new terms for so many people’s annoying behavior. First off, we have breadcrumbing.

This is what happens when you meet someone you like who seems to like you too, but for some reason plans to see each other again just never get made. They won’t ghost you (cut off communication completely), but they will avoid making concrete plans or having a deep conversation.

Breadcrumbing usually occurs through text messaging. You’ll think they like you because they send you messages that they’re thinking of you or want to know how your day is. But the conversation never goes much further than that.

If you try to follow up with a question about spending time together again, they’ll either steer the conversation to something else or just flat out ignore it. In a case of more mixed signals, sometimes breadcrumbers will continue liking your posts on social media even if they haven’t responded to your texts.

Avoid these people at all costs. They are a waste of time and energy.

#2: Love Bombing

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Alex Zivatar

This is the complete opposite of breadcrumbing, but just as perplexing. Love bombing is when you start seeing someone and they act as if they are immediately in love with you. They communicate constantly and praise you for weeks; then suddenly there’s a total transformation.

After the infatuation wears off, they are done with you completely, and you’re left wondering what on earth happened. Avoid self-blame in this situation; you likely didn’t do anything to make them suddenly lose interest in you.

Love bombers tend to be manipulative, and they want to control. They enjoy making someone fall in love with them but run away at the first sign of you loving them back. They want to win you over but don’t want to commit. Once they know they have you just as infatuated with them as they appear to be with you, they’re ready to move on to the next person and repeat the process.

If someone professes love for you early in the relationship, view this as a red flag. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and it is possible that someone has genuinely fallen for you quickly.

To know for sure, try to find out a little more about this person and their dating history. Think hard about the amount of time you two have actually spent together. Is this person jumping the gun? Are they doting on you without really even knowing you? Is their interest in you waning as you show more interest in them? If someone is love bombing they are not really into you; they are into themselves.

#3: Cushioning

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Alex Zivatar

Yet another fun term originating from the current dating environment, cushioning is a phenomenon that arises thanks to the feeling that there are seemingly endless options. What if Goldilocks had more than three bears to choose from? What if there were hundreds of bears out there for her to swipe on? None would ever feel “just right.”

People who cushion will semi-commit to dating but still flirt with other people as a means of leaving their options open. They like you but are also on the lookout for the next best thing.

A cushioner’s behavior will often tip you off to what’s up. Even though they might not be physically cheating, they frequently have many of the habits that are common among cheaters.

Are they hiding their phone from you, being publicly flirtatious with others, lying about who they’re talking to, or avoiding deep emotional intimacy?

The biggest clue that you’re seeing a cushioner is that they have yet to delete their online dating profiles. Remember that it’s not a committed, monogamous relationship until both of you have taken down your online dating profiles.

#4: Not Posting About You

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Alex Zivatar

This goes hand in hand with cushioning but can even be done by people who have been in a relationship with each other for years. If your significant other avoids sharing photos of you or the two of you together—and doesn’t make it public that they are with you—there’s a reason for that. Chances are that they want to attract someone else.

It hurts and is an awful bruise to the ego, but it’s best to move on.

If you tag your significant other in photos or write about them on social media and they never do the same, take it as a sign that they are not that into you.

Cut your losses and find someone who will post about you with pride—or even make a photo of the two of you their profile picture.

#5: Avoids DTR (Defining the Relationship)

I can’t tell you how many times I have been told by someone I thought I was dating that we were “just hanging out.” People who avoid defining the relationship (DTR) are avoiding being in a relationship.

They don’t want to call a date a date. They don’t want to call your their girlfriend or boyfriend. Instead, you are just a friend. They’ll make everything out to be casual and say things like, “let’s not think about it” or “let’s just see where this goes naturally.”

They insist that your persistence in defining what the two of you are is an overreaction and you need to “chill out.”

They’re wrong. You don’t need to calm down, but you do need to move on. This person does not want to be in a relationship with you for whatever reason. If they can’t define what you two are in a mature way, get out of that situation. You don’t have time for this nonsense.

It can be painful and discouraging to face the truth about what these five behaviors mean, but once you do you’ll be better for it. Real love is out there, and you’ll find it a lot more easily once you know the signs so you can avoid people with these behavior patterns.

An important thing to remember is that in many cases, another person’s inability to commit has nothing to do with you. Most of us want to blame ourselves, but it isn’t necessarily our fault. There are countless reasons that people might exhibit these behaviors. Whatever they may be, you don’t have to stick around to figure it out. You can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change, and the biggest mistake you can make is convincing yourself you can.

Rejection sucks, but you’ll get over it. Good luck out there, and try to have fun!

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