“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
If you have found yourself in a dynamic that is just starting (whether you’re a few weeks or months in), it is sometimes hard to know if he is looking for a long-term relationship or just wants a casual connection.
If you have tried talking to him about this and he’s answered with “let’s just see where things go,” consider taking the following steps:
1. Reflect on the writings on the wall
The signs are almost always there if we are willing to look for them. Reflect on the following questions:
Signs he wants to keep things casual:
- He makes no intentional dates or plans with you
- He avoids deep conversations that require vulnerability
- He is reluctant for you to meet his close friends and/or family
- He engages in a push/pull dynamic, often feeling out of reach
- He has no problem canceling on you or not following through with plans
Signs he might be serious:
- He makes intentional and consistent effort to get to know the many facets of you
- He is vulnerable about his feelings, any concerns and open to hearing yours
- He asks and tells you about personal, professional and long-term romantic goals and dreams
- He appreciates the little things about you and shows you through his words and actions
- He has steadily let you into his life, introducing you to his friends, friends and interests
2. Clarify what you want
After reflecting on what signs you see, clarify what you really want.
Talk to him about values and what you both really want and invite him to ask you the same types of questions.
Don’t compromise your long-term values—for instance, getting involved in a casual relationship if you are looking for long-term commitment.
Stay open to discussing your values and where you are willing to meet in the middle, as well and what would compromise your own happiness.
3. Discuss both of your needs intentionally and move forward mindfully
Are you okay with getting into a committed relationship and taking the serious steps slowly, or are you looking for someone who is looking to jump all in with you? Don’t try to bend to someone else’s preferences—that would be denying yourself what will give you long-term fulfillment.
Be brave enough to ask for what you need and hear him out too—even if you are not on the same page.
Differences in long-term goals are normal – and so is being uncomfortable talking about it. Only when we lean into this conversations, can we truly understand ourselves and another person. Give yourself that chance. You deserve it.
Delia Berinde, MS, LPCC – www.lookingforwardcounseling.com
Step 1: Honestly ask yourself what you ideally want in a relationship with this guy.
Do you currently crave a partner that shows up when you need him?
- If yes, continue to the next steps
- If no, then you may share his perspective
Step 2: Communicate your desires authentically and clearly to prevent receiving mixed messages.
- Refrain from admitting that you want a committed relationship
- Pretend that you are not excited about him
- Wait to text him when you have something to say
- Stalk his social media to see who he might want you to be
- Try to make him jealous by posting pictures on social media to prove you are desirable
- Believe that you have psychic powers to reveal his reasons for his behavior.
Step 3: Analyze yourself, not him!
Protect your feelings by doing the following:
- Clearly communicate your desire to be in a relationship.
- If you are excited about him let him know as this will not change what he feels about you; however, his response to your excitement will give you information regarding whether the feeling is mutual
- Freely text the thoughts that are meaningful to you so you will know if he has similar values and feelings
- Use his social media to clarify what his values and interests might be and whether they are a match for you
- Use your social media to express yourself in an authentic way rather than trying to get attention from this guy
- Analyze your true desires and self-worth rather than trying to read his mind to determine why he is behaving the way that he is
Allyson Cole, PsyD – www.createoutcomes.com
First step is we have to be honest with ourselves and what our desire is in romantic relationships.
If we are open to something casual in a dating situation, then this response would be in line with our particular values and needs for that time.
Alternatively, if through introspection, our desire in partnership is for more of an exclusive partnership, we must first be honest with ourselves and identify that this is our desire. From there, I would recommend approaching the individual with curiosity.
Ask him, “Can you share more about your level of uncertainty?”
Reaffirm, and let the guy know that you understand and have compassion for his level of uncertainty and you would like to explore together where both of you are at.
Essentially the equation is: Be honest with yourself, ask your question, approach with curiosity, share a level of compassion for their experience, and state your desires and needs.
If you feel safe and comfortable, let him know that you want things to remain casual, or you want to move towards exclusivity.
- If he responds with openness and understanding to your question and your request, that gives you information that he shares a level of maturity to be able to handle hard conversations.
- If he shuts down or evades the question, that also gives information that this individual may have challenges with intimacy and healthy communication.
Janet Bayramyan, LCSW – www.road2wellness.co
The early stages of a relationship can be exciting. There are many positive reasons why it is valuable to take the relationship slow.
Taking it slow may help you differentiate between real feelings versus infatuation. It may help you to recognize potential red flags once the initial “wonder love” feeling has decreased in intensity.
Taking it slow gives you the opportunity to build deeper levels of intimacy and connection, to explore your values and boundaries.
This is the stage where you start to develop the relationship dynamics, how you influence each other, and how well each of you face vulnerable conversations.
But what do you do when you ask your partner about taking the relationship to the next level and he replies, “Let’s see where it goes, I don’t know yet”?
There are several factors to consider.
Remember, throughout the life of every relationship there will be some form of figuring things out.
Have you considered his perspective?
How much do you know about your love interest and his past? A failed relationship may cause someone to approach future relationships slow.
Can he talk about that fear of being hurt? What are his typical past relationship patterns? It there a theme, such as a fear of commitment? What beliefs did your potential partner learn about relationships growing up?
What are your relationship patterns?
- Do you typically “rush” into relationships?
- Have your reflected on the why, are there any attachment or abandonment injuries in your past you are trying to heal through the new relationship?
If so, you may want to explore your past injuries in more depth.
Are there red flags?
Take a closer look at the dynamics you have already created with this person.
- Is he busy all the time?
- Does he remember details you have shared with him? Do dates revolve around his interest and not yours?
- Does he repeat the same stories repeatedly?
- Have you met his friends and spent time with them?
- Are you able to have vulnerable conversations?
- Do you feel like a priority to this person?
Know your own worth.
If you have reflected on some of the questions above and are ready to take the next step into a more committed relationship, you have the right to express your needs and desires.
Notice if behaviors change after this tough conversation.
Does communication decrease, does he reach out to you less, does he stop using terms of endearment?
If so, and these dynamic changes start to impact the way you feel about yourself, please know your own worth.
Ultimately only you can decide when is enough time to give the potential relationship before going separate ways.
If he is unwilling to define the relationship, do not be discouraged.
Whatever his internal reasoning is, that is because of his internal world and not a value judgment on you. Do not let someone else define your worth for you.
Mandy Squires, MS, LMFT – www.interconnectionstherapy.org
There is a major challenge in the premise of this question.
The Woman, after a few weeks or months of dating someone “asks him about whether he wants to keep it casual or more serious”. The Challenge is that the premise implies that the man gets to decide.
The truth is:
- Past: Women did not have a voice
- Recent past: Women found their voice and said ” F- U”
- Today: Women have their voice and it now time to say: “Let’s work together”.
I have been a feminist since before I was born. My mother got a divorce in 1956 when I was a year old. She joined the army so she could go to college. She had her own business at the age of 24. I say all this because I have been immersed in feminism my whole life. My mother was ahead of her time. It is no wonder that I was motivated to put myself through 8 years of college by waitressing. (what they used to call it).
It is important to know that the sexual harassment scandals and challenges are more than just about sex!
The problem is about equality or lack thereof.
Typically, these challenges reflect erroneous attitudes and beliefs that both men and women carry that men are better than women. Certainly, the problem can be experienced in reverse but in most cases, and in most places, Men are seen as the higher species.
I believe the answer to this and every problem is so ridiculously simple.
The answer to all challenges: Accept that we are all equal to one another, not better than or less than but equal.
Thus, the man and the woman are invited into a place of equal voice.
And, if this is true, then the answer would be for the woman to make statements based on her own inner truth.
She may say to him, “I am thinking our relationship is moving to a higher level than just casual. I would love to have a discussion about this; would you be willing to?”.
If he then says, “well, let’s see where it is going”, she could respond by saying, “that works for me, for now however, I am also going to be going out with others”. OR, she may say, “that does not work for me”. But again, the woman gets to express her views too.
One of the wisest relationship coaches I ever learned from told me this:
“Make statements far more than ask questions.”
Suzanne Carter, MA, LPC – www.unitywholenesscenter.com
So, you have found yourself in a bit of a situation with your current love interest.
The man you have been seeing for several weeks now has expressed interest in you and you want to move forward.
You’re finding yourself curious as to whether he wants to keep it casual or pursue a serious relationship.
All you want is definition and clarity, right?
When you muster up the courage to bring up this conversation with the man, he says: “Let’s see where things go – I’m not sure yet.”
Needless to say, this probably isn’t the answer you were looking for, and you are finding yourself just as confused as you were in the beginning with the lack of definition.
The good news is that you are not alone.
Many women just like you have found themselves in the same predicament, which has likely left you wondering what should I do now?
First and foremost, as much information and opinions as your co-worker, best friend who has been in a relationship for a decade, or Mom might provide you with, there is no way to figure out where the relationship you are currently in is going if you don’t talk to the other person about it directly.
Yes, that does mean having that awkward “So, where do we stand and what are we?” conversation, but would you rather have a difficult conversation for several minutes or continue to ruminate about the relationship status? Take your pick!
Although I think that things are completely dependent upon context, I think it’s important to be weary of the fact that this person is reluctant to make things official and likely has some sort of reason for stringing you along without fully committing. It seems as if it would make for an easy let down.
Perhaps this “let’s see how things go” could create an easier exit strategy if things don’t work out.
Or maybe he is waiting for something better to come along, even though he is content with the relationship. Perhaps the convenience is something he doesn’t want to pass up on for the time being.
If someone wants to see what else is out there before making the commitment, you might want to consider the importance of self-respect and being with someone who truly appreciates you and is certain about their relationship with you.
Some things to remember:
- You have a say in this, too – don’t forget that
- When asking the opinions of others that you are close to, realize that you will get feedback and answers based upon their life, worldview and experiences, not those of your own.
- Don’t ever convince yourself that you are crazy, needy, annoying, or unlovable – you are just a human being, in a vulnerable place, who likes someone and wants to believe that you are not the only one in the relationship that wants to move forward with things.
- You are responsible for your life and the choices you decide to make. If you find yourself in a relationship that isn’t making you feel good about yourself, or isn’t adding to your life in a positive way, you might want to reconsider.
Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC – www.eltigbamindset.com
When a man says “Let’s see where things go” this could mean several things.
He could genuinely want to take things slow so you both can get a better sense if your relationship will deepen. Or this could be his way of saying he’s not ready for commitment.
If you want to know how to respond – the key is to get in touch with what your authentic truth is.
- How do you know within yourself if you are ready to deepen in a relationship?
- Are you needing reassurance from him?
- Is there something you’re needing more of in the relationship to feel satisfied and secure?
- Not to see other people? More time with him? More emotional or physical intimacy?
- What is it that your heart is really desiring in a relationship?
When you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you can then ask yourself: do I need this now to feel ok, or do I genuinely have space to wait for what I need?
A healthy relationship can develop when both partners are able to express their needs open and honestly.
This doesn’t always mean that everyone gets their needs met in every moment – sometimes there is a give and take. What allows the “give and take” to work is a commitment from both parties to come back to whatever each person is needing in due time.
If you are clear on what you need, you get to make your requests, including a request around how you want to continue to communicate on an ongoing basis if he isn’t ready to meet your needs immediately.
If you find yourself continuing to make requests, and he is unable to meet them, it might be time to honor your heart and move on so you can find someone who is able to meet you where you are.
It can also be helpful to notice if this is a pattern for you.
Do you often find yourself with men who are emotionally unavailable to commit to you? Or are you often unclear on what you really want in a relationship?
If so, it might be time to seek some support with a therapist who can support you in finding your empowered embodied self so you can begin calling in what you truly want in life.
Rachael Collins, MA, LPC, R-DMT – www.rachael-collins.com
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