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He is Not Moving the Relationship Forward – 2 Relationship Experts Share Exactly What To Do

by Anita Gadhia-Smith – PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW, Margalis Fjelstad – Ph.D., LMFT

He is Not Moving the Relationship Forward

“Ladies, the right man for you will pursue you. Actively. He won’t leave you wondering whether he’s into you or not.”

~ Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale The Right Man For You Will Pursue You Quote
Anita Gadhia-Smith
  • If you feel that your partner is not moving the relationship forward, first ask yourself, where do you want the relationship to go? 
  • Do you know him well enough to know whether you even want a serious relationship with him? 
  • Do you know what you truly want in your life? 

These are the first things to ask yourself before you struggle with moving the relationship forward.

Sometimes, women are fixated on a goal of marriage or having children because of age or a biological clock. 

Make sure that you are not rushing or just checking off a box in your life plan, and that you are partnering with someone who can truly be a good partner before you try to move the relationship forward. 

Partnering with someone is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, and it can make all the difference between a miserable life or a fulfilling one.

The next thing to do is to take your own inventory. 

  • What are YOU doing to move the relationship forward? 
  • Are you deepening the intimacy between you by loving your partner well? 
  • Are you communicating with each other? 

Everyone has different love languages, and we have to be able to speak the same language as our partner, and learn to love and be loved in a way that is understood by both parties.

If you are clear that this person is a good match, and that you want to move forward, communicate this at an appropriate time and do a check-in on whether you’re both on the same page. 

If your partner is unwilling to move forward, he may not be the right person after all.

You can’t force someone to love you or to want what you want. You can’t make a commitment-phobic person commit. You want a compatible partner, not a project. That means that you have similar values, goals, and maturity.

Relationships are not easy, and they always require work. 

But if you keep hitting a brick wall and banging your head against it, you may want to consider moving on. Give yourself a time limit, and then decide when you are no longer willing to invest your valuable time. Time is the most valuable commodity we have; it’s the only thing that we can never recover. Use it wisely.

Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com

Margalis Fjelstad

Increasing commitment in a relationship is usually a mutual process with each person finding the connection more and more fulfilling and automatically signaling each other of their growing allegiance. 

However, this movement forward is not always in sync because of different agendas about the relationship or simply the different pace each person has about moving toward long-term commitment.

Frequently men push for more sexual intimacy and women push for more assurances and willingness to accept responsibility from the man. 

In addition, people get into relationships for different reasons. Some just want to date and have fun, for some it’s primarily sexual, for others it is a serious process of picking a long-term mate. 

You may already know that your agendas are different. If that’s the case, and you want to have more intimacy and commitment, it’s important to bring that up. 

It is not fair or honest to try to manipulate him into making more of a commitment than he wants. 

And, in the long run you’ll probably end up with a relationship that you don’t really enjoy anyway. So, talking about what you each want can save you both time and hurt feelings.

If you don’t know where each of you stands, then it’s important to find that out. 

In our current culture, it appears that many women fear that asking for more commitment will guarantee that they’ll lose the relationship. 

If you honestly believe that the man in your life would end the relationship because you want to talk about your commitment and the direction of your relationship, then you probably want to consider if he is marriage material. 

Of course, how you bring up this discussion is also important.

No one likes to hear complaints, demands, or emotional volatilities. 

And the phrase, “We have to talk,” sends shivers of panic up the spine of most guys. 

Actually, it usually works best to be in a calm state of mind and simply have a conversation. You could start out with listing the things you like about the relationship, and ask him to do the same. You can then move on to asking him where he sees the relationship going. And you could share with him where you’d like things to go. 

If you aren’t on the same page, then ask him what he sees needs to change in order to move forward. 

Just listen. Don’t argue. But, of course, share your hopes and dreams—and what you’d like to see changed as well. 

Be respectful of his hopes and goals as well as of your own. 

If you’re headed in the same direction, great. If you are going at different speeds, then try to understand why, and maybe see where you might meet in the middle. 

If you truly have different agendas, then you have to pick what is best for your life goals, which may mean leaving this relationship and finding someone who is on a similar path to yours. 

Be gracious and considerate. Just because you have different goals, doesn’t mean that either one of you is a bad person.  

Negotiating a relationship isn’t about winning and losing. 

It’s about coming to an understanding of what each person wants for their own life and seeing if that meshes with the other person. Forging a life-long partnership, friendship, and love relationship involves a myriad of elements. 

Just getting married isn’t the goal. 

Being in a supportive, caring, mutually beneficial relationship over time takes real insight, self-awareness, and communication and is worth the effort to get there.

Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com

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