Michael Middleton, 01.27.2017

Mixed Signals: The Very Definition of Relationship Confusion

Receiving mixed signals from men - for it is mostly men who are the culprits, though some women are guilty of it too - is easily one of the most frustrating experiences early on in a relationship when you've just started dating. When a guy sends mixed messages, it can confuse even the most rational, emotionally stable woman. Seeking clarity? Our advice article should help you take action...

The Emotional Pain of Mixed Signals

There are many different reasons a person could start sending mixed signals. Usually it's a sign that they're not sure what they want for themselves, but the concept is a little more complicated than that. Even if a person doesn't know what they want, they can still be ready for a relationship - ultimately, most people go through life with elements of self-doubt or uncertainty as to how their future will pan out. What these are vary from person to person.

What this doesn't account for is the strain on your emotions in the meantime - while you partner grapples with their own problems, it can leave you wondering why if they can't fully explain or it express it themselves. This might be easy to accept on a rational level, but if you still feel emotionally uncertain this is no comfort. The reason for this, of course, is one nagging thought that won't go away: 'What if he's just not that into me?'

How do you know if a guy is really interested? How do you know love truly is on the cards? Asking these hard questions and constant cross-interrogation of yourself like this are sure signs that his mixed signals have become a more serious problem.

The first thing to do is talk to a trusted friend - perhaps they can help you feel more positive about the situation. Are you misinterpreting those 'wrong' signals? A friend, family member or some other person - someone who is removed from the emotion of your relationship - will be able to give you an indication, and hopefully clear things up for you. Regardless, quality time with the people you love will also serve to give you a much-needed ego-boost after the negativity of this issue.

How Mixed Messages Waste Your Time

Fear of abandonment, trying to avoid being single or an over-eagerness to compromise are all natural reactions to not knowing where you stand, but they won't improve your situation. Keeping yourself available to be at a guy's every whimsical beck and call is no way to live. Fact is that if you follow wherever he leads, you'll never have a healthy relationship - start as you mean to go on, and know how to stand on your own two feet before falling head over heels in love with an unworthy guy.

One reason that men and women think differently about this topic is their proclivity to feel either 'free' or 'committed'. Some guys want nothing more than to maintain their free and easy lifestyle, and come in two categories. For the first type, whether it's work, friends, sports or other interests that keep them busy, the thought of devoting the entirety of their attention to a relationship scares the heck out of them. The second type of men just love being single.

It's only these second type of guys you need to be wary of. There's always potential to have a meaningful relationship with the first type - as long as you can accept that they have other interests outside of your love. If a guy's only passion is meeting new people and hanging out with the guys at bars full of hot girls, however, then that's a red flag! If it's a man like this who's sending you mixed signals that's a game changer: look at the facts in front of you and decide if his bad behavior will make for good love in the long-run. Chances are, probably not.

No-one likes having their time wasted like this, but don't fall into the trap of wasting your own time too! Bad habits to look out for; checking your digital communication channels too many times in the day (texts, email, however you message each other), stalking him on Facebook, Twitter or other social media, and game playing - his bad behavior doesn't give you license to act out. Whatever you do, try not to change your day to day existence before this relationship gets more serious - a change for the worse can happen before you even realise it!

Mixed Signals: Definition and The Search For Better

One final word on this topic: consider the dictionary definition of mixed signals. This one's taken from Merriam Webster: "a showing of thoughts or feelings that are very different from each other." Forgive yourself for being confused about their mixed signals. All people - women and men included - are negatively affected when they don't know where they stand. Take the view that if they're playing games with your love and affection, they're not worth the trouble.

Worst case, you can always ask a guy a direct question. The 'let's define our relationship' conversation is much-maligned, but useful if you need to know whether it's just dating or something more. If you confront a guy about him sending the wrong signals, you should be able to expect sympathy, understanding, and at the very least maturity. If you're too frightened to have this conversation, perhaps it's not the relationship for you - asking a guy to be more direct with you isn't asking for the world.

Take the time to heal before you embark on the search for something better however. Pay attention to your needs, be kind to yourself and ensure you're content in your own skin in order to be ready for love to enter into your life again.

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