Language Of The Unavailable In Dating

Decoding The Language Of The Unavailable In Dating Profiles

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In the digital age of romance, dating profiles have become the canvas upon which we paint our ideal selves, presenting carefully curated images of who we hope to be and find in a partner. We swipe, click, and scroll through a sea of potential matches, searching for love, companionship, and possibly a spouse. In this vast digital landscape, however, lies a lurking danger: the language of the unavailable in dating profiles, often masking their true intentions beneath seemingly benign words and phrases.

The dating world is a complex terrain, where genuine individuals seeking meaningful connections coexist with those who are skilled in the art of deception. As someone who has dedicated my life to helping survivors of toxic relationships heal and thrive, I’ve witnessed the profound impact that manipulative individuals can have on their victims.

In this article, we will delve deep into the subtle yet significant language patterns found in the dating profiles of users, abusers, and the unavailable, shedding light on the red flags and hidden meanings that often go unnoticed.

Let’s dive right in…

The Alluring Art of Ambiguity

One of the most common tactics employed by users and abusers in dating profiles is the use of ambiguity. By presenting themselves in vague or generalized terms, they create a persona that can be molded to suit the desires of their target audience. For instance, phrases like “I’m open to anything” or “I go with the flow” might initially sound appealing, but they can also indicate a lack of commitment or a willingness to adapt to your preferences.

Those who wield these words skillfully can manipulate perceptions and lead potential partners down a treacherous path. The danger lies in the fact that the language of the unavailable in dating is not easily identifiable, as their language often appears harmless or even charming at first glance.

One of the most compelling aspects of deceptive language is its ability to evoke positive emotions. When reading such profiles, we may feel an instant connection, charmed by the seemingly genuine words that grace the screen. It is crucial to remember that abusers often excel in portraying themselves as desirable and irresistible.

Here’s an example of language used in a dating profile that doesn’t really say anything about the person on the screen:

I like going to outside concerts, wineries, and walking on the beach.  On weekends, you can find me either working out or riding my ATV near the mountains.  Want to know anything, just ask.

This sort of description is usually written by someone who, 1) can’t be bothered to write anything meaningful, and 2) can target a large number of prospects without saying anything compelling about themselves.  Individuals who are genuinely interested in building a connection tend to be more specific about their interests, hobbies, and aspirations. By contrast, those with hidden agendas often keep their true selves shrouded in ambiguity.

The Mask of Perfection

Another common tactic is the construction of a perfect persona. Users and abusers often use flattering language and present an idealized version of themselves in their dating profiles. This often manifests as an excessive display of praise and compliments.

The emotionally unavailable may use phrases like “I’ve been told I’m the best catch ever” or “I’m a perfect 10 looking for someone equally amazing.”  They may describe themselves as “charming,” “successful,” or “perfectly imperfect,” making it seem like they have it all together. While self-confidence is indeed attractive, an excessive focus on perfection can be a red flag.

It’s crucial to recognize that no one is flawless.  Genuine individuals are more likely to acknowledge their imperfections and vulnerabilities. Pay attention to profiles that seem too good to be true, as they may be hiding something beneath the surface. Authenticity should always be a priority when evaluating potential partners.

Love Bombing and Over-the-Top Praise

Love bombing is a manipulation tactic used by abusers to overwhelm their target with affection, compliments, and declarations of love in the early stages of a relationship. While this tactic is most noticeable during actual interactions, it can also manifest in dating profiles through excessive expressions of affection. Phrases like “I can’t wait to meet my soulmate” or “I’m ready to give my all to the right person” may seem romantic, but they can also be warning signs.

While some love bombing is overt and easy to recognize, others are more subtle and lesser-known. Let’s explore some of these love-bombing techniques.

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Signs of love-bombing 

Selective Vulnerability: Love bombers may strategically reveal personal vulnerabilities or insecurities to gain sympathy and create a sense of emotional intimacy. They might share a past trauma or confess to feeling deeply misunderstood, making you feel like their confidant and protector. While genuine vulnerability is a normal part of building a connection later on in a relationship, excessive and early disclosures can be a red flag.

Emotional Synchronization: Love bombers often mirror your emotions and interests to create a false sense of compatibility. They may suddenly express an intense passion for hobbies or interests they previously had no interest in, claiming to share your likes and dislikes. This mirroring can make you feel like you’ve found your perfect match, but it’s often a calculated tactic.

Future Faking: Love bombers may paint a vivid and idealized picture of your future together. They’ll talk about marriage, children, and a shared life full of adventure and happiness, even when you haven’t met them in real life! This creates a powerful fantasy that can cloud your judgment and make you more susceptible to manipulation.

Gift-Giving and Grand Gestures: While love bombing often includes extravagant gifts and gestures, lesser-known variations can involve subtler forms of gift-giving. For example, they might give you small, thoughtful presents regularly or send sweet text messages throughout the day. These constant tokens of affection can create a sense of obligation and dependency over time.

Praise Disguised as Criticism: Some love bombers will use a form of reverse psychology by disguising their praise as criticism. They may say things like, “You’re too good for me; I don’t deserve you.” While it may seem like a humble admission, it actually puts you on a pedestal, making it harder for you to recognize any problematic behavior later on.

Over-The-Top Support: Lesser-known love bombing techniques can involve offering an excessive level of support and assistance. They may insert themselves into your life as a problem-solver or caretaker, always ready to come to your rescue. This creates a dependency on them for emotional and logistical support or, at the very least, a sense of obligation.

Intrusive Behavior Disguised as Caring: Love bombers can be highly attentive, but this attentiveness can cross into intrusive territory. They may justify invasive actions, like monitoring your social media or texts, by claiming they’re just looking out for your well-being. This control under the guise of caring can be subtle but harmful.

False Empathy and Active Listening: Love bombers often excel at active listening and expressing empathy. They seem genuinely interested in your thoughts and feelings, which can make you feel heard and valued. However, this empathetic behavior is often a facade designed to gain your trust and emotional investment. This is why being mindful in the early days of meeting someone is crucial, instead of allowing ourselves to be swept off our feet and imprint onto strangers.

When someone showers you with intense affection before even knowing you, it’s essential to approach with caution. Love bombing can be a precursor to a more manipulative and controlling relationship dynamic.  While not all attention given to you in early dating means you’re being love-bombed, it’s a general rule that mature adults who are okay with taking their time with a proper vetting process won’t try to sweep you off your feet because they’re busy trying to get to know you. 

The Cryptic Clues

Sometimes, manipulators drop cryptic hints or use coded language in their dating profiles. These clues may be subtle but can reveal underlying issues. For example, phrases like “looking for someone who can handle my intensity” or “I’ve been hurt before, so be patient with me” might indicate past relationship trauma or unresolved emotional baggage.

While empathy and understanding are vital in any relationship, it’s essential to assess whether you are equipped to handle potential emotional challenges. The key here is transparency. If someone alludes to past issues, it’s fair to ask for clarification.  But, beware, too much talk about exes and emotional letdowns are generally not something that should be discussed when you first meet someone.

An Overemphasis on Physical Attractiveness

Physical attraction is undoubtedly a component of romantic relationships, but an overemphasis on looks in a dating profile can be a warning sign. Users and abusers may place disproportionate importance on physical appearance, using phrases like “looking for someone who’s a perfect 10” or “must be drop-dead gorgeous.”

While physical attraction is subjective and personal, it should not be the sole foundation of a relationship. Genuine connections are built on shared values, interests, and emotional compatibility. Be cautious of profiles that prioritize superficial qualities over meaningful connection and compatibility.  It’s also a good idea to avoid sending extra pictures of yourself.  If you have a decent variety of photos, including at least one full shot from the front, then if someone wants to know what you look like, they can ask you on a date. 

The Evasive “No Drama”

The phrase “no drama” is a common refrain in many dating profiles. While it can indicate a desire for a peaceful relationship, it can also be a red flag when used excessively. Manipulators often employ this phrase to discourage open communication and invalidate their partner’s concerns. It may be used as a way to dismiss any issues that arise in the relationship as “drama.”

Healthy relationships require open and honest communication. It’s essential to look for profiles that promote constructive dialogue and a willingness to address concerns rather than those that simply seek to avoid all forms of conflict.

The Victim Mentality

Some individuals manipulate their dating profiles by adopting a victim mentality. They may present themselves as wounded souls who have been wronged by past partners or life circumstances. While genuine vulnerability can be a sign of emotional intelligence (in an appropriate context, of course), manipulators exploit this by playing the victim card to elicit sympathy and gain control.

Profiles that consistently portray the individual as a victim, with phrases like “I’ve been hurt too many times” or “I always end up with the wrong people,” should be approached cautiously. Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of mutual respect, not on the need to rescue or fix someone.

The Elusive “Good Vibes Only”

Similar to “no drama”, many dating profiles feature the phrase “good vibes only,” suggesting that the person is looking for positivity and happiness. While this may seem innocent enough, it can be used to silence legitimate concerns or emotions. Abusers often employ this phrase to invalidate their partner’s feelings, especially when they express discomfort or dissatisfaction within the relationship.

Healthy relationships encompass a range of emotions, both positive and negative. Beware of profiles that prioritize positivity to the point of denying the complexity of human emotions. A willingness to discuss and navigate challenges is a sign of emotional maturity and a strong foundation for a healthy partnership.

The Unsettling Language of Control

Control is a central element in manipulative relationships. Manipulators often employ subtle language patterns that hint at their desire for control. Phrases like “I prefer things my way” or “I don’t like it when people challenge me” can indicate a potential for controlling behavior.

Language of control can also take the form of subtle aggression or negativity masked behind seemingly innocent phrases. For instance, someone who says, “I don’t have time for drama or emotional baggage” may be signaling their impatience or intolerance for any emotional expression or vulnerability. This could result in a dismissive and unsupportive partner.

Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, compromise, and communication. If a dating profile suggests a lack of willingness to consider different viewpoints or a desire to dominate, it is essential to proceed with caution.

The Ghosting Predisposition

In the world of online dating, ghosting—disappearing without explanation—is an unfortunate reality. Some individuals may subtly hint at their propensity for ghosting in their dating profiles. Phrases like “I prefer to keep things simple,” or “I’m not into drama, so if things aren’t working, I’ll just disappear” can be an indication that they are not committed to open and respectful communication.

Ghosting can be hurtful and emotionally damaging. It’s important to prioritize profiles that emphasize mature and considerate ways of ending a relationship, should it come to that, rather than those that hint at a willingness to disappear without explanation.  While it’s reasonable to avoid unnecessary drama in dating, these statements can also be used as excuses to disappear without accountability. If someone’s profile suggests an aversion to addressing issues or conflicts, be prepared for potential ghosting in the future.


Dating profiles can be fascinating windows into the lives and personalities of potential partners. However, it’s essential to approach them with a discerning eye, especially when deciphering the language of the unavailable in dating. While not all ambiguity or flattery is indicative of malicious intent, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and trust your instincts.

Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, open communication, and genuine connection. When evaluating dating profiles, prioritize those that reflect these qualities.  Be cautious of red flags, such as excessive perfectionism, love bombing, or cryptic language. By understanding the language of the unavailable, you can navigate the online dating world with confidence and increase your chances of finding a truly authentic and meaningful connection.

Whether you’re currently deep in survival mode or just bracing for it, showing yourself some kindness and learning to regulate your emotions can make a big difference in the dating world. It’s never too late to kickstart some self-care. But here’s the cool part: making self-care a regular thing in your life and making plans to keep yourself well can not only help you handle survival mode better but help prevent it as well.

If you’re highly sensitive and in need of finding way to alleviate the overwhelm and stress, The Highly Sensitive Person Workbook can help.  We will cover the Highly Sensitive Person and identify the 4 common qualities of HSPs (depth of processing, overstimulation, emotional intensity, and sensitivity to subtlety). We then dive into each of the 4 common qualities to better understand the unique challenges for HSPs as well as the many gifts. Identifying coping skills is a predominant theme throughout the workbook + so much more!

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1 comment
M says May 21, 2024

Future faking is definitely what I experienced! We have to see if their words line up with their actions.
Also, it’s important to verify certain things…are they married (but hiding it?) Do they have kids (but are hiding that too?)
Do they live with anyone? Is there a criminal history you should know about? It’s more like doing an informal background check to avoid anything unpleasant later.

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