Leading someone on in dating or relationship is when you act romantically interested in a person, lead them to believe that they have a chance to be involved with you in a relationship when you know they don’t.
This can be done by flirting, complimenting, and showing them attention when you actually don’t have any real intention of wanting a relationship with them. The main characteristic of leading someone on includes having intentions they’re not aware of. For instance, wanting to date someone just for fun and not wanting anything serious is okay, but only as long as both people involved are aware of that.
Some people argue that leading on can go as far as going on dates, showing affection, and giving hopes but secretly not being attracted to that person or having clear intentions to never be in a relationship with them.
1) How to know if someone is leading me on?
It can be hard to discern whether someone is leading us on or not. That’s simply due to the fact that people are allowed to eliminate the matches that are not compatible with them during the talking stage, but also during the dating stage and before they start a relationship with them. Check this article for more on the talking stage, the dating stage, and the difference between both.
So, there’s no real way of figuring out whether someone simply didn’t see value in going on more dates with a specific person or if they were leading them on for some time. If they have gone on many dates while they had the intention all along to walk away in the end and to never be in a relationship with that person, then they were leading them on.
However, the thing is that there’s no real way of knowing what the other person’s intentions are and what they plan to do. So your best bet is to guess accordingly to how they act around you. If they’re truly excited to see you, if they dedicate a lot of time to talking to you or being with you and if they seem invested in getting to know you, then chances are they’re not leading you on.
Another thing to consider and reflect on, if you have ever been led on, is what the person’s motives and reasons were for doing that to you. So, in order to prevent that from happening again, make sure you don’t give too much to people you’re not in a relationship yet with! This way someone who’s just pretending, will have no reason to stick around and waste their time when they already decided there’s no chance they’ll ever be with you!
2) Am I leading him on?
As explained, “leading someone on” is a phrase used to describe the act of teasing or playing with somebody’s feelings. It can be done in a playful way but in the end, it is very harmful to the person that has been led on. It’s a waste of their time, energy, and attention pointlessly and also a way of hurting their feelings and deceiving them.
So if you know for a fact that you’re not attracted to someone in any type of way, don’t intend to date them for long, or start a relationship with them, then it is better to imply that. When you decide that someone you’re talking to or dating is not for you, then you have three options.
Either make your intentions clear in a kind, apologetic way, ask them for a friendship rather than anything romantic or simply move on with no justifications. Obviously ghosting someone can be hurtful too, so it is better to nicely explain your position and let them go. Check out our article on ghosting later and how you can avoid doing that and pick better options.
Picking one of these three options is always better than leading someone to believe that they have a chance with you when you know for a fact that they don’t.
3) How to apologize for leading someone on, unintentionally?
If you realize that you have given someone wrong hopes or the wrong idea about your intentions or that they have been or are being led on by you, then it is better to stop and fix the situation.
The first thing to do is to mention that it was not done intentionally and to clarify your position in a gentle and kind way, to avoid triggering that person’s resentment and anger. Next, think about apologizing and make it clear that you have no intention of ever being involved with them in a romantic way.
This can be devastating to them at first but it will help them heal and move on quicker, rather than keep on clinging to false hopes and wasting their time. It will be great if you clarify what type of relationship you’re seeking from them and make it known if it’s only friendship.
4) How to stop someone from leading you on?
First, it is key to recognize when you’re being led on. As we explained earlier that can be tricky as there’s no way to know for sure what the person’s intentions were all along. However, if you think someone has led you on and you have a strong gut feeling about it then it is okay to believe your instincts and act to stop them.
For instance, if someone has been giving you mixed signals, being flirtatious, and making promises about the future but you find it hard to believe them then it can become confusing. If you’re guessing that someone is only acting in a specific way to obtain something from you then disappear then it is okay to try and demand explanations.
You can sit them down and ask them clearly what their expectations of you are, then listen carefully without interrupting them. Once they’re finished explaining their position, wants, needs, and motives you can make an informed decision about whether to believe them and whether your expectations of each other align!