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Are you trapped in a pattern of meeting a guy, going on a couple initial dates that feel great/exciting/hopeful but then things just…don’t go anywhere? You fail to launch. You get stuck in the casual dating zone. You could just be choosing guys who want something casual — or you may be making these mistakes that are keeping you in that casual dating zone.

Talking about dating

Nobody wants to feel like he’s just another drop in the bucket—another guy in a string of many. You may have some funny anecdotes from your last flings/boyfriends/whatever but don’t tell them to your new man. He’ll read that as, “She’s still in her ‘having fun’ phase.”

What to do about it

Feel free to tell your new guy how you’re more compatible with him than you’ve been with anybody else. This tells him you care about compatibility (and not just about, ya know, sex) without mentioning specific exes.

You don’t do the asking

If you’re still in the outdated mindset of, “The guy should always ask me out” and you make the poor guy initiate every date, he will for sure be exploring other options. You think, “He must know I like him, because I always say yes!” He’s thinking, “If she was serious about me, she’d ask me out sometimes.”

What to do about it

Easy: ask him to do things! Ask him to do things you care about, too. Invite him along to hobbies that matter to you. If you keep asking him to singles’ bars he’ll imagine it’s because you, well, want to be single.



You’re not cutting bait

If you want to get serious with a guy and you’ve been hanging out/sleeping together for a while, just ask him where this is headed. If you don’t ask you may be stuck in something dead-end for a long time.

What to do about it

Women make the mistake of thinking, “If I ask him where this is going, I’ll scare him off.” Pssst! I have a secret for you: he decided a long time ago if he was serious about you or not. You asking him won’t change his mind. It’ll just finally get you an answer.

You’re trying no to be “dramatic”

You avoid deep subjects with the guy. If your crazy, complicated relationship with your family comes up, you change topics. You think he doesn’t notice that? You’re doing it because you don’t want to be “dramatic”—you want him to think you’re all lighthearted and fun. He thinks you don’t want to get close.

What to do about it

You may need to start to open up. Look: guys have a radar for crazy. He’s already decided if you’re dramatic or not. He knows you can be happy and lighthearted. Now show him that you can be serious and vulnerable, too.

You’re going out constantly

This is a game that you play: you don’t want the guy to think you have nothing else going on besides him. You don’t want him to think you’re waiting around for him. So you go out of your way to be out with friends, posting on social media pictures of you at a bar, every night. You don’t even really want to go out this much. He reads this as, “I think she would just be bored by a relationship right now…”

What to do about it

Relax: if a man recognizes you are valuable and your time is valuable, he doesn’t need to see you out every night to know it.





You’re waiting too long to hang out

Hey, you need to spend time with someone to feel close to him! It’s really quite simple. If you’re letting a week, ten days, two weeks go by between hanging out with the guy, things will fizzle out before you can get a feel for each other.

What to do about it

Drink an energy drink, cancel some meetings and do what you need to do to make time and find energy to get to know this guy. You have no chance of seeing if this can be serious if you’re hanging out bi-monthly.

You’re not being demanding

If he cancels on you at the last minute when you could’ve made other plans, let him know you didn’t appreciate that. If he takes two days to return a call, let him know you didn’t appreciate that. There’s a good chance you just say, “It’s totally cool!” because you want to come off as totally cool.

What to do about it

If you want him to take you seriously you need to take yourself seriously. You’d be amazed how many guys just don’t realize they were being disrespectful, but when you put them in their place, they perk up. They take notice. They’re reminded that they need to work for your time. Suddenly, they want more of it.

Just don’t play…

Games! You called it. We all know playing games gets us nowhere, and yet we try to keep playing them. If you want to know if things are serious with a guy, act serious. I don’t mean frown all of the time, I just mean talk to him about the things you want to talk to him about, let him know you’re interested, be open, and don’t be afraid to just ask, “Is this going somewhere?”

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