Is it a fling or the real thing?
In a world where we literally swipe through people to date like we’re online shopping, it can be (understandably) hard to find someone who is genuinely looking for a relationship.
Online dating is here to stay, but unfortunately, it can be messy and confusing for even the most seasoned dating pros. The biggest dilemma? Figuring out the answer to that age-old question: “Is he serious about me?”
How are you supposed to know if a guy wants an actual relationship rather than a quick hookup? How do you know if the man you met online isn’t serious about dating you before you meet in real life?
It’s not hard to match with someone and strike up a conversation, but how do you know if this person is worth your while?
No one likes their time to be wasted and if you’re online dating or using a dating app to meet people, there is a good chance you are a pretty busy person to begin with.
There is nothing more common (and frustrating) than talking to someone for weeks on a dating app only to find out they were just looking for a fling.
Or worse, they don’t have any intention of meeting you at all!
If only there was a way to know their intentions before spending hours getting ready for a date, right? Well, there is … we’ve compiled a list of ways to tell if the guy you met online is (or definitely isn’t) serious about starting a relationship with you before you meet in real life.
1. He calls you by your real name (not a pet name).
If a guy’s first message is anything along the lines of “Hey cutie” or “What’s up beautiful?” go ahead and unmatch them. There is a good chance that he just mindlessly copies and pastes this into every girl’s inbox.
Yes, I am aware that people on dating apps are usually talking to more than one match at a time, but let’s put this into perspective: You have never met this guy before, and he already feels comfortable calling you tacky pet names? Red Flag!
Even if you were out a bar, the chances of a guy being immature enough to walk up to you and say something like “How’s it going gorgeous?” are pretty slim.
Instead, chances are better if you stick to the guys whose first message to you is an ice breaker joke or something in relation to your profile (like, say, your actual name.) This is a sign of a genuine effort being made to engage in a conversation with you.
2. He’s not shirtless in all of his pics.
I don’t care how great his body might be, a guy sending you shirtless pics is like waving a flag that screams “I’M NOT LOOKING FOR ANYTHING SERIOUS”.
Beach pics are one thing, but if a guy has any form of a shirtless mirror selfie, please don’t give him the benefit of the doubt.
Think about dating profiles like this: if you’d feel uncomfortable showing your mom, he’s probably not the one you’re going to marry.
Look for guys who use their profiles to show off their personality. If he displays photos of him engaging in hobbies that he enjoys, or sends you a picture of him and his family, that is a good sign that he is interested in actually getting to know someone for longer than a night or two.
3. He’s reliable (and never flaky).
You’re in the middle of a great conversation with a guy online and then *poof* he doesn’t say a word. The next day he messages you something like “Hey! Sorry, I didn’t see your reply,” or “Sorry, yesterday got crazy busy. What’s up?”.
I have news for you, he did see your reply and yesterday did not get ‘crazy busy’.
If this guy doesn’t have enough respect for you to even politely end the conversation or keep it going, he is not worth your time. If he is interested in you and something really did come up, he will give much more of an explanation than a lame excuse.
This doesn’t just apply to chatting online or over the phone. If he can never make a plan or always flakes when you were supposed to meet up, he is wasting your precious time, baby girl.
If a man likes you and is mature enough for a relationship, they will take the initiative to ask you on a real date with a time and place. And guess what else? He’ll show up too.
4. He sends you full photos (not tightly cropped ones).
If it’s obvious that a guy has cropped himself out of a photo taken with another girl (probably his ex) he is not looking for his next girlfriend.
This guy put absolutely no effort into his profile and literally could not even bother himself to take a new picture of himself, seriously dude? It’s 2020, everyone has smartphones, you have the ability to take a selfie at any given time.
A tightly cropped photo could also be a sign that he hasn’t been single for very long, at least not long enough for him to have accumulated a photo of him by himself.
Even if this guy is looking for a relationship, you deserve better. If he can’t put effort into something as quick and easy as taking a picture, he’s not going to put much effort into a relationship either.
Stick with the guy who shows you photos that look authentic — preferably that show that he has a life other than with other girls.
5. You met on an app that’s meant to help you find love … not hookups.
Outside of red flags, try to avoid this problem altogether by choosing dating apps that are more likely to lead to a relationship to begin with.
Apps like Bumble allow people to put what they are looking for in their bio. You can choose from ‘don’t know yet’, ‘something casual’, or ‘relationship’, which makes it easy and obvious to see what they really want.
Hinge is another app that is geared towards relationship material. The app requires you to list more about your personality and even gives you ice-breaker prompts to use.
Regardless of the online dating app you decide to use, be mindful that not everyone is the same way they portray themselves to be online and proceed with caution. You are worthy of someone that treats you with respect and has your best interest in mind.
If it feels like you have to question their intentions, trust your gut.
Lindsey Matthews is an editorial intern who focuses on relationships, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.