We all know that serial dater, right? That someone who always seems to have a plus one, even if they don't hang on to them for very long. That someone who won't end an unhappy or even toxic relationship until they have a replacement lined up and waiting in the wings.
But what about the other end of the spectrum? Do you know someone who is afraid of dating? Are you? Being afraid to be in a relationship goes a step further than being simply commitment phobic.
Do you see yourself — or the object of your affections — in any of these?
1. The idea of eating a pint of ice cream in your pajamas sounds infinitely better than going out to dinner with a potential romantic interest.
Getting cozy with Ben & Jerry while binge-watching HGTV sounds way better than snuggling up to a living, breathing human — and you're not really embarrassed to admit it.
2. The Tinder app keeps "accidentally" disappearing from your phone.
"Sure I'm on Tinder... oh wait. Where'd that app go now?"
You blame it on the latest update or patch from Apple, or use excuses like "I'm so sick of getting dick pics" to explain why you're "taking a break from dating."
3. You tend to overuse phrases like "I'm taking a break from dating" and "I don't know when I'd ever find the time."
You know these things sound like weak sauce when they come out of your mouth, but you don't really care that much.
4. You call to make an appointment with your aesthetician for a wax and the person who answers the phone tells you she moved over a year ago.
Has it really been that long? On the other hand, your vibrator hasn't been complaining that the forest is getting a little too dense. You make a note to find a new waxer... Eventually. When you get around to it. It's not that high on the priority list, after all.
5. You can't commit to a date more than 48 hours in advance.
If your bestie wants to go for a coffee, you're totally OK with scheduling two weeks out and keeping your calendar clear, but you change your tune if we're talking about a potential romantic interest. You suddenly think of 37 different reasons why any date thrown out there isn't good for you.
"Thursday? Sorry, busy. Saturday, uh... sure. Oh wait, I have a thing. Next week? I can't. Work is crazy. Maybe next month. Or the month after."
And so on. You are the master avoider and you can always come up with something.
6. You have your share of first dates...
...And even second dates, but your track record for getting past date number three isn't so great. If you make it all the way to a third date, you'll find something wrong about the other person that's absolutely intolerable, but odds are your evasion tactics prevent you from getting here in the first place. And you're OK with that.
7. You think relationships are too much effort.
8. You're selfish and you know it.
And you're fine with it. You don't want to share mattress space, fridge space or closet space with anyone. You don't want to consult with someone else on where to go for dinner, much less where to go on vacation.
The idea of a discussion over who gets the last brownie left in the pan is extremely distasteful and is as good a reason to stay single as any, thank you very much.
9. You're happy for your paired-up and in love friends and family, BUT...
You're much more likely to tune into tales of woe or dating horror stories than you are to someone's litany of their happily ever after. You think being part of a couple is something other people do, and you prefer to hear stories of relationships gone south because they validate your choices.
10. The idea of being "single forever" isn't terrifying or even mildly depressing.
11. You haven't made peace with your past.
Whether you're still pining for someone who isn't available or doesn't return your feelings, or you're gun-shy and mistrustful after being burned, you're probably not keen on jumping into any relationship while you're still processing the past.
12. You haven't intentionally introduced a romantic interest to your family and friends since... well, you don't actually remember when. Probably never.
We won't talk about those awkward accidental meetings where you run into friends while you're on a date. No one likes when their introduction to their date's friend is followed by "this is really no big deal."
13. You don't like the term "dating."
"We're just hanging out."
"We're kind of seeing each other."
"It's not a big deal.
If these are terms you've used to describe someone you're... um... dating, then the fact that you can't even call it dating is a sure sign you are afraid of... you know... dating.
14. You're not sure who you are.
If you're struggling to figure yourself out, are working out what your belief system is, or aren't sure where you want to go in life or what's important to you, allowing yourself to fall into a close relationship with another human is probably just going to further complicate matters.
Maybe you're wise to keep some emotional distance. But definitely revisit the idea of a partner — or at least a confirmed coffee date — once you figure things out.
15. You're honestly happy with your life just the way it is.
"My life would be perfect if only I had someone to share it with" are words you've never uttered, or even thought. Maybe you're afraid to mess up a good thing or maybe you're not giving life as part of a duo a fair chance, but being utterly content with things as they are is a good sign you're secretly afraid of dating.
Do you see yourself in any of these things? Ask yourself honestly if you're afraid of letting someone get too close.
Maybe you really are just happy, busy or disinterested. Or maybe you're scared.