15 Mixed Signals in a Relationship – and How to Deal With Them
In This Article
Communication is one of the major foundations of any relationship. Without it, no matter how much you love each other, your relationship will not thrive.
So imagine how difficult it would be to decipher what your spouse or partner tells you when they send you mixed signals?
Mixed signals in a relationship are confusing and tiring. You guess, analyze, and try to figure out what your partner wants to tell you without actually telling you.
What do mixed signals mean, and why do people do this?
What are mixed signals in a relationship?
Your special someone asks that you respect each other’s privacy but insists that you give your password. Maybe this person hates people who flirt, but you see them do this all the time.
These are just some mixed signals examples, but you already see how confusing it could be, right?
Are we playing games here?
Sending mixed signals means that someone is inconsistent with their actions and the message they want to impart.
It could be unintentional or just miscommunication, especially for new couples. Some people are not good with communication and can show you one thing but mean another.
However, some people are used to sending mixed messages. For example, a person can keep you available for them but won’t commit, just if they meet someone better. Sadly, the guessing game would go on in this situation.
Intentional or not, giving mixed signals is not good.
Instead of being happy and secure in your relationship, one has to deal with stress, uncertainty, and frustration.
Getting mixed signals from a girl or boy feels the same. It could make anyone feel confused and clueless about what’s going on. You would just end up asking yourself, why would anyone do this?
Why do people send mixed signals?
If you are receiving mixed signals from a guy or a girl you like, you might think you’re not good enough or worthy of being loved.
Stop those thoughts. You are not to blame if someone special to you gives you mixed signals in a relationship.
Mixed messages psychology means that the person sending them needs to straighten out their thoughts and wants.
Why do people send mixed signals in dating?
Most of us don’t know how to open up and communicate, so we give out mixed signals. What we want to say gets tangled with our emotions, doubts, insecurities, and feelings, thus creating confusing signals.
Related Reading: 20 Ways to Tell if a Men Is Confused About His Feelings for You
15 Obvious signs a person is giving out mixed signals
Clear and open communication is not that easy to build, especially in new relationships. You still need to learn each other’s personalities before connecting.
But what if you’re starting getting mixed signals in a relationship? Here are some of the common types of mixed signals.
1. They can get jealous quickly but don’t want to commit
What are mixed signals from a guy? Here’s one common example of mixed signals from guys.
He easily gets jealous, but he doesn’t want to commit to you. He clarifies that he’s not ready but acts like he’s your partner when someone tries to make a move on you or when you’re busy and happy with your friends.
This is already a red flag. You’re not yet committed, but he’s already controlling you and the people you should talk to.
2. They want you to open up but refuse to do it
A healthy relationship is all about being emotionally intimate. What if your special someone wants you to open up but can’t do it when it’s their time to talk?
This type of mixed signals from a girl or boy makes you feel isolated.
Your partner may still not be comfortable, so you can take the lead or encourage by saying words like, “I appreciate you.”
3. Asks you on a date, doesn’t call you back
He’s been asking you to go on a date, and finally, you said yes. You had a great time and felt like you’ve clicked. Smiling, you end the day hoping to have another date.
Then, nothing. He doesn’t text you goodnight or send you a message about your “wonderful” night.
How to deal with mixed signals like this one?
You can text first, but if you’re not comfortable, wait for about three days, then you can ask how he is doing.
Related Reading: 100 First Date Ideas to Make Your Date Memorable
4. They show eagerness to go out and then cancel last minute
You’ve planned your date for an entire week, and then your date cancels it.
Here is another example of mixed signals from a girl or boy that you might be seeing.
Ask for the reason and weigh if it’s valid or not. We can’t avoid emergencies, and it happens. But make sure you check if this person makes it up to you.
Analyze the situation and set boundaries if needed. If it’s something bothering you, you might decide not to continue dating.
5. Acts like you’re a couple but don’t want a label
This is one of the most common mixed signals in a relationship. You go out, make love, and spend time together. You’re a couple, right?
But what if your significant other doesn’t want to label your relationship?
Deep inside, this bothers you, right? No one wants to feel like they’re being used. We all want a label when we are in love, so what’s wrong?
This person might not be ready for commitment or want to commit. If you can’t agree, you know you deserve better, right?
6. Wants you to be loyal but does the opposite
You don’t have a label, but this person wants your loyalty. Oh, but this rule doesn’t apply to them. They still have their freedom since you don’t have a label.
Sounds unfair? It is, but still, many people are in this type of relationship.
Getting mixed signals from a woman or a man like this is a red flag. Think of this situationship and decide.
7. They promise to be there for you but don’t do it
Mixed signals from a guy with a girlfriend or vice versa can include broken promises. They promise to be there for you but are nowhere to be found.
This is heartbreaking, especially when you’re experiencing problems and want the person you love to be there for you.
While there can be instances that they have work or problems of their own, keeping one’s promise is important and proof of their love.
Related Reading: Breaking Promises in a Relationship – How to Deal With It
8. They say you’re the one but still communicate with their ex
Mixed signals in a relationship include the feeling of not being the only one who has their partner’s attention.
You may have a label, and your partner promises everything to you, but you see them constantly sending messages to their ex. What would you feel?
They demand loyalty but can’t do it and always have an excuse.
Talk to them and let them know that this bothers you. Explain your situation and see if anything changes.
9. You don’t act as a couple outside
How would you feel if your partner refuses to act sweet when there are other people?
What are mixed signals from a girl or a boy who doesn’t want to look like you’re in a relationship when their friends are around?
Aside from being hurt, this is another red flag. You can directly ask your partner or ask for permission like, “Is it okay if we hold hands?”
Related Reading: 30 Red Flags in a Relationship You Should Never Ignore
10. Says they miss you but won’t make time for you
Here’s another mixed signal in a relationship, it is when your partner is all sweet and says they miss you but won’t even make time for you.
This person is busy, but we all know that you can still make time if a person is important to you, right?
Mere words are empty. We want actions to prove that the love they are saying is real.
11. Going from hot to cold
When you entered the relationship, guessing games aren’t included.
Your partner could be all over you and be so sweet and caring. Then, they would suddenly be cold as ice for a couple of days.
“Did I do something wrong?”
This is the common question you might ask yourself. If you’re a new couple, give time, but let your partner know about this and what it makes you feel if you’re dating for a while.
Related Reading: What Does It Mean When a Guy Says He Misses You
12. They send lots of messages, then reply with one word
Waiting for a person to reply is not fun. Mixed signals in a relationship can start like this. He might send you a text, and then when you text them back, they send one-word replies.
There might be an explanation for this behavior. They might have the time to send you texts and then get busy, but what if it happens often? What if they reply after 2-3 days?
You need to figure out what your real score is. Talk to them or find the perfect time to make things clear.
13. Wants privacy but won’t give it to you
Giving each other privacy is essential in a healthy relationship. But what if it only goes one way?
Your partner wants you to respect their privacy, but you don’t have that luxury. This person is wonderful with words and explains why it’s important to have privacy, but they do the exact opposite.
Again, the way to clear this is through open communication.
Related Reading: How Much Privacy in a Relationship Is Acceptable?
14. Their sex drive doesn’t match yours
Your partner sexually teases you. Tempting, right? It ignites the fire inside you. The only problem is that your partner doesn’t act on those words.
This could be confusing and hurtful.
Though, ask or open up to them first. There can be times when these mixed signals are unintentional and can be caused by medical issues.
15. They would be all over you, then disappear for weeks
You’re doing great, and then they ghost you. After some time, you find yourself moving on, and there they are, sending you more mixed signals in a relationship.
Love shouldn’t be like this, it shouldn’t feel like a game, so if it does, know that you have to take mixed signals as a no.
Move on and don’t let this person play around with your feelings.
Dr. Raman, a licensed clinical psychologist, talks about the term “ghosting” and its effects.
How to interpret and deal with mixed signals
Is it possible to learn how to respond to mixed signals? Should one leave a relationship when there’s confusion and mixed signals?
If you and your partner have just started dating, don’t expect a smooth-flowing relationship. Mixed signals in a relationship this early are common. After all, you’re getting to know each other at this stage.
Before you start feeling resentment, you need to analyze the situation first. This includes checking your behaviors as well. What if you’re also giving your partner mixed signals?
Once you’ve cleared that up, it’s time to focus on how you two communicate. Give each other a chance and work together.
If everything doesn’t change, then that’s your cue to leave.
Don’t think that you were not good enough or lovable. Maybe you’re not connected, and you fell in love with the wrong person.
You shouldn’t let this dictate how you see yourself or handle your next relationship. Disappointments and heartbreaks happen to all of us. Don’t let it discourage you from loving again.
People rarely give mixed signals in a relationship just because they want to play guessing games. It doesn’t mean that your partner is narcissistic; rather, this person might not just be good at expressing their thoughts and feelings.
After all, it is you who will interpret their actions.
So what’s the best course of action? Analyze the situation and talk. Work on your communication so you won’t have to give each other mixed signals.
Better communication will lead to a healthy and happy relationship.
Share this article on
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.