Just like women, men don’t always mean what they say. Looks can be deceiving, and so can words. But sometimes, a man means exactly what he says. Take, for instance, the statement: “I’m not ready for a relationship.”

It’s tempting to ignore the underlying message behind these words. Tempting to believe that YOU can be the one to change his mind—to convince him that a relationship with YOU will be different from every other one he’s had. That a relationship with YOU is exactly what he wants, whether he knows it or not. That YOU will be the one to prove him wrong about his own desires.

“I’ll just show him that I’m what’s best for him!” women tend to think in response to any anti-relationship claim.

WRONG! WRONG! DAMN IT, YOU’RE WRONG!

It’s a complete waste of time to pursue a man who leads with a warning about his relationship hesitation if what you’re after is indeed a relationship. If he says he doesn’t want to date you seriously and you’re looking for a significant other, move on. Don’t view his unwillingness to settle down as a challenge or an opportunity to show him how great you are, or how much you can love him. Don’t fixate on anyone who declares that he’s not a romantic option for you from the outset. Don’t convince yourself that if you can’t have this one guy, you’d rather not have anyone at all. Foolish conclusions will poison your heart.

If a man tells you he doesn’t want a relationship, please trust that that’s the case. I don’t have to tell you what happens when you decide to chase a man who states outright that he’s relationship wary. He will take as much as he can from you before moving onto his next victim. Some men lead with “I don’t want a relationship” primarily to test the waters —to see how far they can get with a woman without making any real commitment at all. They want to challenge your standards, and sometimes your morals. They will watch and wait, eagerly, to see just how much effort you’re willing to put into making them want you in the way that you want them. It’s plain ol’ psychology. A dating Jedi mind trick. A game.

Watch out for the warning signs, and don’t let yourself get played. If you do choose to move forward with a man who doesn’t consider you relationship material, don’t give the guy as much attention as you’d reserve for an actual boyfriend. If he’s not man enough to make you his girlfriend, you’ll have to be woman enough to walk—or run—away.

There are plenty of other men out there in the world who are looking for exactly what you are. When a man actually wants to be with you, you’ll know it because he will be—and without second thought. Committing to a woman and staying faithful to her is easy—as long as a man truly wants to do it. Remember that, and don’t let yourself get suckered into anything less than what you deserve.

By r.h. Sin for ThoughtCatalog

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