Not all relationships are built to last. Of course, in the beginning, many relationships can feel like the one. Then, you get to that awkward 4-6-month range, and no one has brought up the conversation around “defining the relationship,” and things can start to feel, well, stagnant. It’s time to take the next step, but no one is initiating any forward momentum. Or, in an alternate scenario, you’ve brought up the topic of moving things into a more official place, and your partner has put off the topic or given you a roundabout answer. These are two very common situations people are faced with in the dating world. I’m here to unpack and help you navigate each situation, because, let’s be honest, I’ve found myself in both of them several times. I’m your unofficial expert in dating, so let’s get to work!
Can We Talk?
Asking your partner to have any sort of “talk” in a relationship is awkward, but it’s a necessary evil. We’ve all used the excuse, “I’m just going to wait for it to come up naturally,” but we all know it never really does. You sit and stew in relationship limbo until you ultimately sabotage the entire thing because you didn’t just say what was on your mind. Let’s avoid this doomsday scenario. When it comes down to it, there’s no cute way to bring up defining the relationship. My advice to you would be to take advantage of a low-key scenario where the environment is relaxed. Over dinner or a glass of wine at someone’s apartment is a low-stakes environment where you can both feel comfortable. There’s no time limit to the conversation, and there aren’t other people around who could interrupt or add outside pressure to the situation. You simply, and calmly, need to ask for what you want. The exact wording should be personal to you, but when there’s a break in conversation, you can say there’s something on your mind you’d like to talk over. If the relationship has been going in a positive direction, this shouldn’t catch your partner off guard, and the conversation should flow naturally no matter the outcome.
Okay, You’ve Talked, But with No Resolution
Unfortunately, this is a scenario I’ve found myself in more than once, which leads me to believe many people dating are facing this issue. Rather than your partner giving you a “yes, let’s be in an exclusive relationship,” or a “no, I think we should part ways,” you’re given some wishy-washy response, which leaves you even more confused than you were at the start. What I’ve learned is that this is usually not a good sign. This indicates commitment issues that won’t magically go away if you wait another 4-6-months. If you’ve heard “I’m just not ready for a relationship,” or “I’m so happy with what we’re doing now, can we just see where things go?” then that is red flag city. I obviously can’t speak for every couple and every conversation, but several months of dating should have a person feeling confident about moving forward to the next step. If not, it may be time to reevaluate.
Every relationship is personal and different, so take my advice and filter it through the lens of your own experience. However, don’t be blind to the responses and reactions your partner is giving you. If something feels off, it probably is. Happy dating!