How To Read Mixed Messages

Women's Dating

How to Read Mixed Messages

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Probably the most common question I get here at has to do with confusing signals sent from a romantic interest.

Both men and women alike send cryptic messages about their level of interest, especially in the early stages of dating, that can make a suitor downright jittery. They might even wonder if they should proceed or not.

First off, know this:

Every great love affair begins with anxiety about whether one can capture the heart of the object of their attraction.

That anxiety, combined with sexual attraction, is the heat that eventually becomes romantic passion.

If you think about it, every great love poem, song and artwork depicts a kind of unrequited and uneasy love, a deal that was not yet closed.

The first step to understanding mixed signals is to contain yourself and wait. You won’t get an answer by bombarding your love with texts and phone calls. In fact, that may scare them away.

We all like to think we are falling for a higher status partner, and if you look clingy and needy at the beginning, you won’t look like a higher status mate.

Take days or even a week between a contact and your date may wonder what other romantic opportunities have your attention.

At the beginning, wait and see is the best approach.

Having said all that, there are people who have a come closer, go away attachment style.

These people really don’t trust love and when things get too close, they may react with either a disappearing act or a sudden quarrel that pushes you away.

They will reveal themselves after a few months of dating, and my only advice is to comment on their behavior in a non-accusatory way. He may not even realize he is doing it.

The good news is if someone with this kind of anxious attachment style falls for someone who can bond in a secure way, they can actually be healed through your consistency.

But if the dramatic games of pulling back and fighting are hurting you, it may be best to cut your losses and part ways.

“Ask yourself if this relationship is

hurting you more than helping you.”

It’s important to pay attention to behavior more than words.

Many people have a hard time connecting feelings to words.

Is your love crush showing up? Do you two have fun dates or just bedroom frolics? Is there a lot of phone time where you talk about real things — family, life goals, and values? These are the big indicators that he is into you.

In the end, listen to your stomach. If your date’s inconsistent behavior or emotional avoidance gives you an uneasy feeling in your gut, then you have to pay attention to that.

Ask yourself if this relationship is hurting you more than helping you. If it doesn’t feel like a comfy home for your heart, you may have to bravely walk away.

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