Dating’s 11 Most Commonly Misunderstood Signs

A woman hugging her boyfriend and trying not to misread the dating signs.

Overthinking and assuming when it comes to dating, can really put a strain on your love life, especially when you’re assuming the wrong things. You might think your partner knows exactly what you want, but they really doesn’t.  Or, you may drop hints to a new interest and it turns out they’re thinking the total opposite.

We spoke to the experts about some of the most commonly misunderstood signs when it comes to dating and why you shouldn’t overthink them.

Your date is super friendly, so you think they’re really attracted to you.
What’s really going on:  Your date might just be a generally friendly person, says Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship coach. “Lots of people are so happy to be treated well by another person, they make the leap from she likes me to she must like me romantically.

Your date acts robotic, so you think they’re not interested in you.
What’s really going on: People may seem overly formal or stiff because they’re nervous and don’t want to feel rejected, hurt, or disliked. “They may lose their authenticity because they’re frightened. It can take a few dates to break through it, so just because you don’t feel any chemistry doesn’t mean you should give up too soon,” says Licensed Psychoanalyst, Dr. Claudia Luiz.

Your date gets emotional and shares a lot early on, so you think they’re unstable.
What’s really going on: It may be that the other person feels really comfortable with you, so that their walls come down too soon. “Make sure to get to know the person a little deeper before you judge that they’re totally nuts,” says Luiz.

Your date plays a really good game of hard to get, so you think they aren’t interested in you.
What’s really going on: Sometimes playing hard to get too well has the exact opposite effect from what someone wanted. “Men and women can get scared and need signs from the other person that they’re on the right path. Or else a potential relationship will end before it even gets started,” says Anna Rifai D’Amico, creator of relationship advice for men app, Caveman.

You have a strong emotional connection, possibly over a similar experience, so you think it’s a romantic/more-than-friends connection.
What’s really going on: An emotional connection isn’t enough for romance. “The spark or chemistry has to be there, as well. If you don’t see overall signs of attraction, you have to assume it’s just a friendship,” says Bennett.

They’ve told you they don’t want anything serious but you spend a ton of time together, so you think they really do.
What’s really going on: When someone’s words and actions don’t align it’s hard to know what to take as the truth, especially when you really want to believe that they’re interested in you. “Usually actions speak louder than words, however, in this case it’s the words. If they really want a relationship with you, they won’t be telling you they don’t,” says relationship coach, Jessica Elizabeth Opert.

You had sex on the first date, so you think this means there’s a future, real love, and a possible soulmate.
What’s really going on: Chances are he was ready and she was willing. And that’s kind of where it ends, says relationship and etiquette expert, April Masini. “When you have sex with someone on the first date it doesn’t mean anything beyond the sex. Try not to torture yourself by leveraging a one-night stand into more than it was.”

Your girlfriend seems to push you away for no reason, so you think she’s mad at you and wants alone time.
What’s really going on: This is exactly the opposite of what she wants. It could just be her way of showing you that she needs some physical and emotional affection.  “If a woman needs a hug or a sweet comment she’s better off asking for it straight out than playing mind games with a man who doesn’t even know there’s a game in play,” says D’Amico.

Your significant other is consistently messaging you but are never available to actually meet, so you think they’re just busy.
What’s really going on: “There are many people who get a thrill, validation, or simply entertainment from having people on the back burner. If someone really likes you, they make the time for a real world date,” says Opert.

The person you’re in a three-month relationship with starts calling and texting less, so you think they’re not interested in you anymore.
What’s really going on: It’s normal for some of those can’t get enough of you texts and phone calls to come less often. “It could just mean your partner is secure enough in the relationship where they feel they don’t need to be communicating with you every minute of every day. You’re dating someone who has a career, a life with friends and relatives, and you’re settling into more of a normal pattern,” says Masini.

You’ve been seeing someone for months and things are going great. You’ve talked about your feelings so even though you haven’t had the ‘exclusive relationship’ talk you think this might actually be THE ONE.
What’s really going on: Never assume. They could just be really enjoying their time with you but have no plans of actually being exclusive. “Always have the conversation. An honest, direct, and kind conversation,” says Opert. “Honest, direct, kind conversations are what successful long term relationships are made of.”

Something to remember about relationships is that a lot of emotions are involved—excitement, nervousness, even fear, or elation—and those emotions can make it hard to see things objectively. Keep communicating with the person you’re with, enjoy being in the moment you’re in, and try not to read too much into the other person’s actions.

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