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So, you’ve got feelings for someone and you think it could turn into something amazing – but they’re not in the same place as you.
Maybe that’s a physical place (you met online and are waiting to meet up due to living far apart), maybe it’s an emotional place (they’re scared of committing), or maybe it’s availability (they’re with someone else).
Whatever it is that’s preventing you from being with the person you love, is it worth waiting for them?
You’re probably not surprised to find out that there isn’t really an easy answer to this question. It depends on a huge range of factors, and only you (with a little help from them) can really get to the bottom of that question.
That being said, we’ve put together this article to help you process your thoughts and feelings, and figure out what’s really going on.
Use this piece as a self-reflection resource and take your time to think about whether or not it’s worth waiting for the person you love.
If you’re waiting for them to be ready…
The person you love might be single and might have feelings for you, but they might not be ready to take the leap and start dating you.
Even if they’re interested, they might not be in a place where they want to date anyone. This can be down to a huge number of factors, both short-term and long-term.
Waiting for someone to be ready in this kind of situation takes a lot of patience, and it also needs a lot of communication.
If you both know how each other feels, you need to talk about things regularly.
We’re not saying that every conversation needs to be a dissection of your feelings, but it’s good to figure out where you stand.
If you know that they need a set amount of time, it can be great to wait it out and know that you get to spend time with them when they are ready.
You might already enjoy knowing that there’s that level of commitment and that you can have something to look forward to.
Maybe you can just enjoy spending time with them while they figure out how they feel – but you need to make sure you’re actually okay with that, because nothing is guaranteed despite what they may say or promise.
We’re not suggesting that you give them an ultimatum, as this is unfair, but it’s important to put yourself first (however hard that may feel) and make sure you’re okay with what’s going on.
Are they going to date other people while they figure out if they’re ready to date you, and how do you feel about that?
Some people don’t like the idea of being not-single, even if they think they’ve found the person they want to be in a relationship with. It might mean they want to date around and ‘get it out of their system’ before they settle down.
You need to ask yourself if you’re okay waiting – and if you also want to date while you’re waiting.
The risk is that one of you finds someone else in that ‘in the meantime’ dating phase that you want to be with more – you need to decide how you feel about that possibility.
If you’re waiting for them to be single…
If the person you’re in love with is in a relationship with someone else, you’re probably feeling very confused. We’ll break this particular predicament down even further as it’s very complex!
You know they have feelings for you.
Okay, so you like someone and they’re with someone else – but they’ve told you they have feelings for you.
In one sense, yay! Mutual feelings are brilliant and you’re probably buzzing with excitement. In another sense – what?!
It’s super confusing to be in this situation – if they like you, why don’t they just break up with their partner and get with you?
Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
They might be sticking with their partner because they’re married or have children, which is a whole other issue.
They might be staying with their partner because they’ve been together forever and it’s familiar and safe.
Maybe they’re still with them because they still love them, despite also having feelings for you.
In this situation, you need to be really honest with them. Explain that you know it’s difficult but you need to know where you stand.
Maybe agree to give it a set amount of time (like a couple of months) so that they can figure out what they want to do.
Don’t be disheartened if they don’t immediately end things with their partner and come running to you – it doesn’t always work that way, and it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.
The way they react and the decisions they make during that time will let you know if it’s worth waiting or not.
You don’t know how they feel.
If you’re waiting for someone to come out of a relationship so that you can pursue your feelings for them, you need to be realistic about what will actually come of it.
It’s romantic to think that they’ll end things and run into your arms, but it’s unlikely to happen if they don’t have feelings for you.
If they’ve never expressed that they have feelings for you, you might be waiting for nothing, sadly.
It’s hard to admit to yourself because it’s so easy to make excuses in your mind: “She loves me, she just needs to be single and then we can be together” or “I know he loves me, he’s just distracted by his wife so he doesn’t realize.”
We can convince ourselves that someone is unhappy with their partner and is just waiting for us to make a grand gesture and sweep them off their feet, into a world of happiness and love. Unfortunately, they might not feel the same way back.
You can ask them if they have feelings for you, being respectful of the fact that they are with someone else.
Maybe tell them that you’re confused and need closure, whether that’s knowing that they also like you, or being told that it isn’t going to happen.
If it’s the latter, it’s good to know what the reality is so that you can start working on lessening your feelings toward them and moving on.
If you’re waiting for things to be possible…
Maybe you’ve met someone online and, due to geographical issues, haven’t met up yet.
You’ve been chatting for a while and you know there’s something there – you’re both attracted to what you know of each other, and you like how they look in their photos.
Are you meant to put everything else on hold for who you think this person might be in real life?
If you think it could genuinely work out, we’d suggest meeting up (safely!) as soon as you can.
The longer you leave it, the more you’ll start to fill in the gaps you don’t know about them with your dreams and fantasies.
The danger there is that you end up falling in love with someone you’ve half created in your imagination!
Of course, they might be like that in real life, but you might end up waiting for someone who doesn’t really exist in real life the way that they do in your mind.
Actively waiting for someone means not dating anyone else on purpose. Passively waiting for someone means you’re open to other things if they come up in the meantime.
In our opinion – it’s probably best to passively wait for someone, because you shouldn’t turn down something else amazing if it comes your way.
Remember that things aren’t guaranteed with the person you’re waiting for, and you might not want to risk a genuinely brilliant person who is standing in front of you for the idea of someone you’ve never actually been with properly.
Imagine turning down someone who is amazing for the idea of the person you love, only to find out they’re not exactly as you thought they were.
You might then regret turning down a real connection for a virtual connection that just didn’t work out in reality.
Of course, there could be other reasons why a relationship isn’t possible right now – they might be in the final year of law school, caring for a sick family member, or in a job that requires them to travel a lot.
If there simply isn’t the time to make a relationship work right now, it doesn’t mean there won’t be time for one in the future.
But, as with a virtual connection you might be waiting for, you probably shouldn’t overlook other opportunities for a really happy relationship when you can’t be sure the person you’re holding out for will actually be available to date when they say they will.
If you’re waiting for them to commit to you…
If you’re already dating the person you love, congratulations! It’s great to be with someone you really care about – but do they feel the same way?
You might notice that you’re always the one to make plans and reach out first. Maybe you’re always the one who says ‘I love you’ first, or maybe you’re the only one to say it… ever?
If you’re waiting for the person you’re already with, you’re in a tricky situation and you’re probably struggling to know what to do.
They might genuinely have the same feelings for you that you have for them, but struggle to communicate that. If they have been in bad relationships in the past, they might not be good at letting their guard down or being honest about their feelings.
You shouldn’t put pressure on them to say ‘I love you,’ and it’s unfair to have high expectations of their actions.
Be patient and respectful of how they feel, and try to remember that this fear is due to past experiences, and isn’t reflective of how they see you.
Saying “It’s not fair that you compare me to your ex” might feel valid, but if they’ve had a toxic ex or been in an abusive relationship, for example, they have very valid reasons for taking their time in terms of expressing how they feel about you.
If you feel like they’re holding back because they just don’t feel the same way, that’s a different situation. They might not feel the way you do, and you need to figure out if you’re okay with that.
Some people are just happy to be with the person they love, and accept that they will never get that love back in the same way, or that things might be short-term.
If you’re not okay with that, you need to have an open discussion about it with your partner. Discuss what they see for the two of you in the future, and ask if they need more time to figure out how they feel.
Try to keep the pressure off here, as hard as that may seem, because the more you put on them, the more likely they are to lie out of guilt or panic, which just makes things more confusing.
Deep down, you already know what the answer is and you know what you need to do – either stick it out and give them time, or trust to your gut, know your worth, and move on if you just know that they can never give you what you want.
Overall, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you wait for the person you love.
Remember that you have time to decide how you feel and what you want to do. This doesn’t need to be a decision you make overnight!
Reading articles like this can help you cut through the fog in your mind and really start to think more deeply – and realistically.
Chat to people you love and trust about how you’re feeling, but remember that they might all give you differing advice!
Ultimately, your reaction to different advice will tell you a lot about how you really feel. If someone says “don’t bother waiting, it’s been too long already” and your gut agrees, then go with your gut and walk away.
If your friend tells you to wait and stick it out, and you instantly feel relieved, you might have just been waiting for ‘permission’ from someone else to follow your heart and wait for your loved one.
You’ll know what to do – trust yourself and do what is best for you.
Still not sure whether you should wait for this person or move on with your life? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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