You have met someone new or finally started dating someone you have known; either way, you are happy and over the moon. You feel ready to make this relationship last in your heart, but you feel something is off in your gut. Of course, you dismiss your initial feelings because you want love so much in your life. You start telling yourself you are just being paranoid and simply overthinking the situation. But still, you are not feeling at ease even after your self-talk. You tell yourself that not everyone is as secure and ready for romance the minute they meet. Indeed, you are correct in your assessment that some relationships start mostly physical and never seem to become romantic, while others just start slowly and take more time to develop into something serious.
The lack of readiness is often why many folks have backup lovers and do not dive into new relationships. And of source, there are people who just want more than one option. There are some clear indications to help you sort through the confusion and help you make smart decisions. I have prepared a list with some straightforward tips to help you determine if your person of interest is right for you or simply just wasting your time.
Signs You Are His Second Choice
- Inconsistency – The person sees you at irregular intervals and often has a dozen excuses for not keeping a steady schedule; some reasons include working late, being out of town, being sick (again), and no babysitter coverage.
- Last-minute drop-in dates/No weekends – They prefer spontaneous last-minute dates, usually during the week, rarely on the weekends. Rarely ever do you have a weekend date because they are busy. Typically, they claim they are doing things that make it impossible like working, taking care of kids, taking care of their parents, etc.
- Vacations alone – You have been dating for more than six months, and they decided to take a vacation without inviting you.
- Lying – You catch them in a lie, especially when dating others.
- Broken dates – You are never entirely sure they will keep a date because they often cancel at the very last minute and usually with a lame reason.
- Last priority – They are available for others more often than for you.
- Baby mama/papa in the picture – They will change their plans at the last minute if their ex calls them, even if it is not related to the kids.
- Talking to an ex – They have regular conversations with their ex, even though they have no kids or business together.
- They have tons of “best friends” – They keep tons of female or male friends you have never met.
- They are still married or continue living with someone – They have not divorced or separated from their significant other and claim to remain because of the kids or cheap rent.
- An active profile on a dating app – Their dating profile is still very active even though you have been together for over six months. Even worse, their profile photo is very recent, even a photo you took of them!
- You don’t know their friends – You have been together for more than three months, and you have never met any significant friends of theirs.
- Never been out in public with them – Your dating consists of indoor, private activities only, more often at your place.
- Always working – Their lives consist primarily of long workdays, and they barely have free time for themselves, let alone you. They may not be dating anyone, but you are not a priority, which means you would rarely see them even if you lived together.
- Never video chat – Only seems to text you throughout the day, but rarely do they video chat.
- No home visits – You have never been to their place, even though they claim to live alone.
- Talks to you only when at work – Rarely do they ever contact you in any form in the evening or weekends.
- Spends a lot of time with friends – Every moment they have free, they are out and about with some friends doing fun things without inviting you.
- Non-disclosure of personal stuff – Barely share any details about themselves. At times you wonder if you are dating a secret agent.
- Actively dating – They continue to date and have encouraged you to do so, even though you do not want that type of relationship.
- They never share their feelings towards you – They have yet to tell you how they feel. At times you feel like you are the only one having feelings in the relationship.
- They do not add you to their social media – Their social media is a mystery to you. You have not been added, nor can you see their profile even though they have one.
- Mostly communicates by text messages, often at weird hours – They text you out of the blue and seldom at hours that you are available or awake. Never available for a phone call though.
- Text on the run – It often feels like they are texting on the run, and seldom when you can reply or are available to have a real conversation. It almost feels like a bathroom text, the type someone does when they have company.
- Chronic emergencies – Often have crises that force them to leave their dates earlier or not show up at all. Someone always needs their help, or something has gone wrong.
- You have not met their family – They talk about their family, yet you still have not met them despite that you have been together for more than nine months. They simply have not introduced you to them, making you feel like you are not permanent.
If you find that you have checked off a lot of the indicators above, I will say you have a compelling case of being the Backup Lover, which means you are not the main person in their romantic life. However, before completely giving up, I have some survival recommendations to help you through this ordeal.
Tips to Help You as the Backup Lover
- If someone consistently breaks a date, I recommend you take time off and let them sort out their schedules before bothering you again. If you tolerate broken promises, it will be a constant issue in your relationship.
- Ask direct questions rather than wait for them to disclose things. Do not be shy to ask for details, especially if you are confused, and try to figure out the missing pieces.
- If you have been dating for under six months, give things a chance to develop.
- Find out how long ago was their last relationship; if they say less than six months, I would say they are still in transition, which means your relationship needs more time to solidify.
- Set boundaries when it comes to talking to exes or doing anything that makes you feel uneasy.
- If you are unclear about your relationship status, you need to ask what you mean to them.
- Do not hesitate to ask for more from a potential partner. However, if a person tells you they are not ready, then determine how long you are willing to wait.
- If you wish to be exclusive, say so and do not accept less.
- Always let them know what you want since no one is a mind reader, (not even a psychic advisor!)
- If they make plans without you, ask if you can come along. If they refuse, ask them to explain; let them know how you feel when you are excluded.
- Keep in mind that many individuals are friends with their exes and folks of the other sex. Friendships are valuable parts of our lives, and I recommend they introduce you to their friends sooner vs. later in the relationship.
- Not everyone is comfortable disclosing their past and needs time to feel safe before they can share. You can open the door by asking questions but do keep in mind that some individuals have a lot of shame issues and will only share when they feel you won’t run for the hills when you hear the truth.
- When there are shady behavior patterns, do address them early. The more you avoid addressing behaviors that make you uncomfortable, the more those patterns will continue.
- If someone still lives with their partner, whom they claim is now an ex, I recommend waiting until they have moved out or ask to be introduced. It is a red flag if they refuse to introduce you to their ex’s partner.
- Refuse last-minute dates, especially if they only visit you late at night and never take you out.
I am not promoting giving up entirely since it is natural for most people to hesitate when they first meet someone. The initial dating periods of a relationship will lay out the foundation for the type of relationship you will have. If you tolerate certain behaviors, it will be assumed you are ok with their treatment of you; therefore, handle things early before getting invested emotionally.
Slow-starting relationships are more common than we realize, simply because not everyone is ready or brave enough to connect on a romantic level. Many relationships start mostly physical and never seem to become romantic. Everyone connects at their own pace when it comes to love or intimacy. Though not everyone is secure and ready for romance the minute they meet, you still have the right to want what you want. Remember, someone’s lack of relationship readiness should not place you in the eternal waiting line.