Look out for key words. For phrases like I’m not ready for a relationship right now.
His actions don’t negate his words. It doesn’t matter if he invites you out with his friends or if he cooks you breakfast on the mornings he actually stays over. If he told you from the start that he’s happy living the single life and doesn’t want to settle down just yet, then you have to believe him.
You can’t make up a story in your mind about how he’s only saying that because he’s scared, because he doesn’t want to get hurt again. Maybe that’s the truth — but if he’s not ready, he’s not ready. You can’t change that fact, no matter how strong your connection is.
Live in the moment without putting too much focus on the future.
When he sends you a good morning text at 10 AM, enjoy that he was thinking of you on that particular day, but don’t expect him to send another sweet message tomorrow.
When he introduces you to his parents, be happy that he’s comfortable enough to show you off, but don’t daydream about spending the holidays with them and calling them your in-laws.
Try to enjoy every second that you spend with him, so when your ‘relationship’ eventually ends, you’re happy about the memories you made instead of disappointed about the future you never got to have.
Keep in mind that you’re still single. You aren’t in an official relationship.
It might feel like you’re betraying your almost boyfriend when you flirt with other boys, but there’s no label, which means you’re allowed to go out with whoever you want. You’re allowed to text other people until 2 AM and accept their drink offers.
If that makes your almost boyfriend uncomfortable, then he obviously has strong feelings for you, which means you can start a real relationship. You can ditch the almost.
But he can’t have you all to himself if he doesn’t want anything official. He can’t refuse to date you but get angry when you date other guys. That’s not the way relationships work.
Don’t take things too far.
You know how much you can handle. You know whether sleeping with him will make your feelings for him grow even deeper, if it will trick you into believing he’s the only boy in the world for you. And if that’s the case, don’t do it.
Keep texting him. Keep flirting with him. Keep doing all of the things that you’re comfortable doing. Just don’t take it a step too far and fall hard for him.
Until he gives you proof that he’s actually willing to commit to you, keep things casual.
Never stay with someone who makes you feel shitty about yourself.
If your almost boyfriend gives you a confidence boost because of all the compliments and kisses he gives, stay with him. But if he makes you feel even more insecure about yourself because he’s flaky and refuses to commit, then leave him behind.
Every relationship, even almost relationships, are meant to make you happier.
If you’re complaining about him every day and crying over him every night, then it’s time for you to find someone new. Someone it doesn’t hurt to love.
Holly Riordan is the author of Lifeless Souls, available here.
Article originally posted by thought catalog.