Two thirds of adults have fallen victim to ‘love loiterers’

New research has revealed the average person spends almost eight and a half months of their love lives in limbo, where they invest time in romantic interests only to find their dating hits a dead end.

Top time-wasting tactics include putting minimal effort into arranging dates (67 per cent), takingover 24 hours to reply to your messages (60 per cent), cancelling plans last minute (57 per cent) andof course, claiming their phone battery has died (52 per cent).

Failing to remember basic facts about you (44 per cent), checking their phone regularly while on adate (44 per cent) and not deleting their dating apps (40 per cent) are further signs you might betangled up with a time waster.

And some love loiterers even go as far as to blame astrology - with almost a fifth (18 per cent)blaming Mercury being in retrograde for their shifty behaviour.

There appears to be clear differences across genders

Women are 20 per cent more likely than men to have dated a Love Loiterer (76 per cent v 56 per cent), but they are also five per cent more likely to admit they have been a time waster than men.

Plenty of Fish Relationship expert, Shannon Smith, said: “We know many singles are looking for a special, authentic connection and someone who isn’t going to waste their time indulging in the early stages of dating with no intention of committing long term - especially so since lockdown.

“We’re excited to help people get their love lives out of limbo, take back control of the dating game and save themselves time in the process.”

The research by Plenty of Fish also revealed time-wasting has been prevalent during the pandemic.

While the legacy of lockdown left 72 per cent of singletons looking for a serious relationship, three quarters (76 per cent) admitted to ghosting someone since lockdown started.

And half (52 per cent) of the 1,789 singletons surveyed say they were left high and dry by their pandemic partner once they were able to return to dating venues.

Taking it's toll

Dating a time waster can take its toll, making Brits feel less confident (47 per cent), suspicious of the people they date (44 per cent) or even leading them to stop dating altogether (14 per cent).

But there may be a silver lining, with 44 per cent of singletons believing that dating a time waster has made them realise what they want from a relationship.

And more than a third (35 per cent) have become more serious about finding a good relationship since leaving a Love Loiterer.

What’s more, more than a quarter (28 per cent) now ask all romantic interests about their intentions during the early stages of dating, in an effort to sniff out time wasters from the off.

In addition, despite most Brits admitting to having dated a Love Loiterer, only a quarter (26 per cent) feel able to spot the signs of a time waster.

However, when it comes to friends and family, our time-wasting antennae are much better, as two thirds (66 per cent) of us can spot when our nearest and dearest are entangled with a Love Loiterer.

What day of the week a date is scheduled for seems to be a good test of a time waster too.

Almost forty percent (39 per cent) feel if someone suggests meeting on a Monday they’re just not that into you, one in six (16 per cent) say dating on a Tuesday is best for meeting people you aren’t quite sold on, while Friday tops the list of days that indicate someone is very interested (31 per cent).

Plenty of Fish has combined expert advice from relationship guru, Alix Fox, alongside real-life timewasting tales, to help singles sniff out a time waster.

The most bizarre excuses given to Plenty of Fish members include:

My ex-wife is stuck on the motorwayMy tractor broke down so I had to sleep in a field last nightI had a really bad blister and I lost my bank cardI couldn't work out how to answer your call on my phoneMy car set on fire on the way to meet youI’ve moved to another country for workI couldn’t get a dog-sitterI’ve just had my wisdom teeth outMy cat has diedMy dog ate my homeworkI had to wash my hairIt was raining too muchMy mates need me at the pub so they're not drinking aloneI’m toilet bound and worried I’ll have an accident if I leave the looMy goldfish died

Alix Fox said: “Sometimes we wilfully ignore whole bunting strings of red flags when it comes to the people we fancy, so paying proper attention to early warnings can save you from a lot of heartache in the long run.

It’s worth performing the simple litmus test of asking ‘Is the way my match is behaving respectful, and enjoyable?’ Things like cancelling arrangements last-minute without good reason, dilly-dallying on getting dates in the diary, and spending more time checking their messages than actually connecting with you during a rendezvous are inconsiderate, inconvenient and uninspiring…so they’re good clues that someone’s not for you.

As the research from Plenty of Fish shows, too, we can be better at clocking substandard treatment when it’s happening to a pal, so asking yourself what you’d advise a friend to do if they were in your situation can be a useful exercise as well. Remember: if they’re not showing you R.E.S.P.E.C.T., there are P.O.F. in the sea!”