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Taylor Swift recently told Vogue UK “Dating or finding someone is the last thing on my mind…I kind of run from it when it presents itself.” But you don’t have to be a Grammy-winning superstar with a hot new album to flee from commitment. Here, five questions that can show someone’s dating true colors.

October 29, 2014

“Dating or finding someone is the last thing on my mind…I kind of run from it when it presents itself,” Taylor Swift told Vogue UK earlier this month. But you don’t have to be a Grammy-winning international superstar with a hot new album to flee from commitment. Regular folks—men and women—can be just as gun shy.

Some key signals from your first few meetings or dates can reveal volumes about whether someone’s emotionally unavailable or open and ready to go the relationship route, says Gilda Carle, PhD, a New York City-based therapist and author of Don’t Bet On The Prince!

Here, five questions that can show someone’s dating true colors:

Why did your last relationship end?

If they badmouth their ex, be wary: it’s a sign that they’re projecting their own issues onto their past partner, Carle says. You should also be cautious about vague generalities about the breakup like “I was too young” or “I didn’t know what I was doing” or “We wanted different things.” “It’s not always the specific things people say but the information that they leave out that’s most telling,” Carle explains.

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How do you get along with your parents?

If he rolls his eyes and mutters something disparaging about his dad, or she badmouths her mom, run. “A good relationship with a same-sex parent gives someone more self confidence, which leads to them feeling more comfortable with who they are," Carle says. "People with poor relationships with their same-sex parent tend to be angrier and more insecure.” Ditto how they feel about the opposite sex parent (for straight folks). “The opposite sex parent is the first role model they’ve ever had for men or women, so if they are trashing them, it’s a good indication about how they feel about the opposite gender in general,” Carle says.

How would you describe yourself?

“I once was on a date with a man who kept describing his dog as a real manly dog who was on the hunt all the time—by the time we’d finished the appetizers, it was clear he was talking about himself,” Carle says. But the way he or she talks about material possessions is also key: “If she seems more concerned about a drop of red wine that she got on her Coach clutch or a chipped fingernail than what you’re telling her, that’s a sign that her focus is on objects, not relationships,” Carle says.

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Do you work really long hours?

Former mayor and business mogul Michael Bloomberg raised eyebrows last month when he told reporters he goes back to work to avoid “staying home and talking to Diana about feelings,” but his words about his long-term girlfriend are telling.

“One reason so many people throw themselves into work is to avoid the intimacy of a relationship,” Carle says. While at first it may seem exhilarating to date a master or mistress of the universe, if they use office deadlines as an excuse to break plans or not call, tread carefully.

So, what did you think about George Clooney getting married?

Or “What do you think about Beyonce and Jay Z renewing their wedding vows?” Of course, your date might simply not care about celebrity romances in general. But assuming they've got at least a passing familiarity with Hollywood headlines, their reaction can hint at their views on life partners in general.

“Clooney’s the epitome of the quintessential bachelor who never appeared to want to settle down,” Carle explains. And Beyonce and Jay Z represent a couple who are determined to get through alleged rough patches together, without resorting to divorce.

If your date grimaces and changes the subject, or makes a joke like “I don’t know what they were thinking,” take note. “There are these little subtle hints early on that reveal the person you’re sitting across from isn’t truly looking for a commitment,” Carle says.

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