Before you initiate that dreaded “what are we?” talk, check for these signs to see if there’s potential for growth or if you’re just wasting your time.

No deep conversations

Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says when we feel comfortable in a relationship, we have no issues sharing our dreams, hopes and fears with our partners. If your man is not engaging in meaningful conversations with you, he doesn’t feel comfortable opening up or he’s just not interested in sharing his real feelings with you.

Human behaviourist Dr John Demartini says, “If he loves communicating or conversing with you about future activities you both look forward to doing together, then it’s a good sign.” Clinical psychologist Liane Lurie agrees: “A potential mate always gives you the significant information; sometimes you have to be brave enough to recognise the red flags.”

You haven't met his friends

Quinsee says this is a major warning sign because when we really care about someone, we want the whole world to know, especially if it’s our new partner.

We want to show them off. “We do this for various reasons: we seek the approval of our friends and family, and we want them to know that this is someone special who we plan on having around for a while, perhaps even a very long while. If your new partner is not doing any of these things then he’s either got something to hide or he’s hiding you. If your relationship has to be a secret you shouldn’t be in it.”

On the other hand, Lurie says there’s no need to rush into anything. She says as women, we often make the mistake of wanting to do everything at once, just because we’re thinking with our hearts. Meeting someone’s family and friends can actually be a serious step. He may be an introvert, or wants to take things slowly. Maybe he’s aware that you met in December when most people are in a good mood, and he’s waiting to see if you’ll stick around as well.”

It's just about sex

If the relationship is purely centred around sex, and those interactions leave you feeling empty, then he may not be in it for the same reasons as you, explains Lurie. However, as Quinsee says, it’s normal for a relationship to be a lot more physical in the beginning due to the novelty and excitement of it all. Nonetheless, if it’s only about the physical aspect, he may just not be interested in getting to know you outside of the bedroom.

Demartini says relationships must be about more than just good sex. “A man must also be open to being intimate, tell you that he loves you, and enjoy your company as well.”

He is unreliable

The atmosphere of the festive season is casual and fun. Although this may be the vibe with your summer fling, the caution, especially if you want more from the relationship, is identifying whether your December bae is there for you outside of just the fun.

Lurie explains that in a relationship you deserve someone reliable and dependable. Sure, you are an independent, strong, beautiful woman but we all have our damsel-in-distress moments and need to know that he’s not just in it for the fun times. The test of his commitment is whether he shows up for the difficult stuff and is willing to stick around before, during and most importantly after. It’s a true test of character.

Not trustworthy

For any union to work, there must be trust. Lurie advises you to first question whether your lack of trust is marred by your own bad experiences in previous relationships, or does something within your gut unsettle you around him? “Remember that words alone do not earn trust. Behaviour and honest communication are the building blocks of trust. This past December, did he show up when he said he would? Or did he not keep to his word? Has he ever done anything to betray your confidence? Was it a genuine mistake or otherwise? Trust ultimately forms the foundation of a relationship. Without it, you may be setting yourself up for heartache, conflict and many a sleepless night,” says Lurie.