Is Someone Leading You On?

Is your relationship legit or is your partner just leading you on?

Sometimes when a relationship starts intentions are good but, over time those feelings may change from active to passive. Or, maybe a partner was hedging their bets all along, wanting to have someone who’s “good for now”, but not interested in you for the long term.  Would you know if this was happening to you in your relationship?

People who lead others on are being manipulative. They prey on a person who cares about them and trusts them. They know they are keeping their partner in a state of suspended animation, but as long as it suits them to have the person in their life (for companionship or just for sex), they will keeping things going.

Often, women especially are led along by hope. Hope that their partner is the guy they dreamed about. Hope that his feelings will grow. Hope that things will change and get better (or go back to the way they were in the beginning). But, this is an especially good time to listen to your gut. If you’re not feeling cherished, loved or cared for by an equal partner while dating…something is wrong.

So, how can you tell if this is happening to you?

  • Does your partner keep you at arms length? They don’t let you get close enough for you to feel that you’re officially together or that you have a future together. This leaves you constantly wondering if you’re exclusive or where you stand with them. You rarely feel secure or sure about their feelings for you.
  • Do their words and actions match? They say things to make you feel that they love you and have a future with you, but their actions show the opposite. They are rarely the one moving the relationship forward. They say yes to things and don’t follow through.
  • Are you doing all the work? They respond to your calls and texts, but rarely initiate. They agree to see you as long as you make the plans. You might even be paying for all the dates with him.
  • Is there subtle evidance of other people in their life? They are busy on weekend nights? Do they call you at the last minute to go out or for a booty call? Is their phone is off when they are with you or they get lots of calls and texts that they don’t answer when they are with you?
  • Are you being told to wait or that they are not a good bet? People like this try to keep your expectations low. They bemoan their uncertainty about relationships in general, they tell you that they might be a bad boyfriend/girlfriend or suggest that you’re just friends even when you’re sleeping together.
  • Is sex the only thing on the menu? They are happy to sleep with you, but are unwilling to offer you anything more. They make excuses if you ask for more (they are too busy, they are uncertain, they can’t make decisions).
  • Is your partner actively working to preserve the status quo?  Especially if you’re long-distance -they are fine with the status quo and aren’t trying to see you more often, move to be near you or escalate the relationship. If you’re local, they want to keep the relationship as just dating or just sex and don’t want to “put labels” on you or what you mean to one another.

This kind of one-sided relationship happens to just about everyone at one time or another. You may even have found yourself leading someone on – whether intentionally or not. But, how do you handle it if you suspect that someone is leading you on?

  1. Call them on it. Don’t let someone waste your time or as Greg Behrendt says in the book, He’s Just Not That Into You… “don’t waste the pretty!” Force the issue and ask flat out what their feelings for you are and share that you expect them to be a more active partner. Then set a date and see if they do what you’ve asked or if they have just paid you lip service yet again, and ignored the conversation.
  2. Walk Away. If you stick around when you realize that someone might be leading you on, you’re basically telling the other person that you’re ok with being treated as “less than.”  If you stand up and walk away, there’s a chance that they will not want to lose you and make things right. If they let you leave, you just saved yourself a whole lot of wasted time and emotion. You’ll get the answer you seek either way when you walk away.

Have you found yourself being lead on by someone? What happened? How did you handle it?

Photo credit:’ Flickr photostream


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Categories: Tips


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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