Ask a Straight Guy: How Can You Tell If Someone Is Looking for a Serious Relationship?

Is Someone Looking For a Serious Relationship

After a long hiatus the #AskAStraightGuy dating column is back. If you’re not familiar with the concept, or somehow managed to forget all about it (*cough* shame on you), let me bring you up to speed… Whenever I have a dating dilemma I always turn to Monica Welburn‘s boyfriend Oli. Why? Because he knows exactly how the mysterious male psyche works, and always gives honest, no-nonsense advice.

Last year we decided to start a dating column and help clarify your romantic quandaries. The response was great, but life quickly got in the way and we failed to keep up with your questions. But now, after a long break, #AskAStraightGuy is back. And this time I’m sharing my thoughts along with Oli.

So, to kick things off, here is a reader question that is oh so relatable…

How can you tell if someone is looking for a long-term relationship?

Hi. I’m 29-years-old and have been single for the past four years. Most of my friends are in long-term relationships, engaged, married or just starting to think about having children. These are all milestones I would like to reach too, but lately I’ve been stuck in a dating-rut.

The problem is that all of the men I’ve dated recently have been shockingly immature. And everyone on dating apps just seems to be there for a bit of fun. I’m not in an immediate rush to get married and have babies. But I also don’t see the point in wasting time on men who aren’t looking for a long-term relationship. How can I tell whether someone has serious intentions or not? – Poppy


I’ve watched so many friends and clients go through this exact problem over the years [Editor’s Note: Oli is a hairdresser]. And I think it’s good that you’re not rushing. Yes, you may want marriage and children in the future, but there’s no point getting all of the things you desire if it’s with the wrong person. That would just be short-term gain for long-term pain.

Women don’t realise that men have these exact worries too. There’s this myth that guys want to be eternal bachelors. And maybe some do. But the majority of my single, male friends in their late-twenties and early-thirties openly-admit that they really want a girlfriend. They also feel like they’re missing out by not being in a relationship.

So how can you tell if someone is looking for a serious relationship? Ask. Maybe not on the first date, but the quicker you can have that conversation the better. The older we get the less time we waste playing games, so you’ve got to be a bit cut-throat about it and move on quickly if someone isn’t looking for the same things as you.

Unfortunately it’s just a process of weeding through a lot of guys until you find the right one. It’s a waiting game, and you don’t know when it’s going to happen. But when you do find the right person you’ll know.


Have you read Man Repeller’s avocado theory? It suggests single men are just like avocados. You can never quite tell when an avocado is ripe. The process is as follows: not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, EAT ME NOW, too late. This formula also applies to men and their desire to have a serious relationship.

I have dated a lot of un-ripe avocados. I have also dated a few ripe avocados.

In person it’s usually fairly easy to distinguish between the two. Ripe avocados will plan dates in advance, make reservations and reply to your messages in good time. Un-ripe avocados just want to “go with the flow” and make plans at the last minute. Ripe avocados are usually starting to put down roots. Un-ripe avocados typically live with a group of their guy friends and say things like, “I really like my job, but I’m thinking about quitting and moving to Vietnam for a year.”

On dating apps it can be more difficult to tell whether you’ve got an un-ripe avocado on your hands. But ripe avocados always provide detailed bios with a list of their interests. And their photos do not include beach raves or multiple group shots of “the lads”.

I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you’re wasting time. But try not to let those “shockingly immature” guys of the past cloud your judgement. It sounds like you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, so trust your gut instincts and try to remain open to meeting new people. Hopefully a ripe avocado awaits in the not-too-distant future…

What would your advice be in this situation? And have you been in a similar position? Leave a comment below to have your say…

If you would like some straight-talking advice from Oli you can submit a dating dilemma to [email protected] (please put “Ask a Straight Guy” in the subject line). We can of course keep identities a secret. 

Photo by Shay Cochrane


  1. I think a reasonably honest conversation is the best way to go. Because even if the guy (or a girl) wants a serious relationship, their definition of what it exactly means may be… quite different then ours. Me, for instance – I am one of these ‘awful’ women that cannot imagine getting married and having babies absolutely EVER, but I am still committed to a relationship no less than if I would. This sort of thing is very important to clear up front as otherwise, as brutal as it sounds, one side of the party ends up wasting time in a relationship that will sooner or later fall apart anyway.

    • cocos_tea_party says:

      I TOTALLY agree, and that’s such an important point you’ve raised. In this situation “serious relationship” is determined by wanting to get married and have children, but you’re so right. Even if you don’t want to get married and have babies you can still be searching for a committed, long-term relationship. So it is very much about being open and honest with the person you’re dating.


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