“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love… but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.”
~ Mandy Hale
Though there is not a magic wand to wave to make someone commit to you, there are a few things you can do to change your thinking/communication about this topic.
Making these changes will help both of you understand each other’s perspectives better when it comes to deciding when to be exclusive.
What most helps with commitment is letting go of a timeline.
Many women set an expectation that commitment must follow after a certain number of dates or after a certain amount of time has passed (i.e. “After a month, I expect us to be exclusive”). We often erect mental timelines because we are afraid.
If you decide to end things because things didn’t happen fast enough for you, it can be a way to keep yourself safe from getting hurt because you’re ending it instead of him (when he didn’t meet your deadlines).
Unfortunately, life does not run on our timelines and neither do other people – they may have very different ideas! Trust that if the relationship has potential, you will see progress towards commitment.
Make an active effort to be present without thinking too far ahead to how things may be on the next date, a month from now, a year from now, etc.
There’s a quote that applies here which says the journey is more important than the destination. Even if your end goal is to have a committed partner, enjoy the journey to get there without concern for how the path may look. This will take pressure off of you and him.
However, if you are starting to seriously wonder and question where the two of you are headed, make sure to ask.
Women often worry about “pressuring” men and coming across as “pushy” if they want to talk about where the relationship stands. This does not have to be done in an interrogating way.
Instead of asking questions such as, “So where is this going?” or “Why haven’t you asked me to be your girlfriend yet?” ask questions like, “How do you think things are going between us?” or “What’s something that you think is going well with us and what’s something we can work on?”
These questions are less likely to lead to defensiveness when they are asked with genuine curiosity.
Make sure to be prepared with your own answers as well so you can share with him how you’re feeling, too.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
Short of using blackmail or overt threats, you can’t “get” anyone to do anything. Since neither of these tactics are helpful to a relationship, what you have left in the way of persuasion is pretty much nothing other than good old-fashioned communication.
People have different paces when it comes to commitment.
Some people are ready sooner; some people take more time. While there are various reasons for this, none of them necessarily has to do with the value of the relationship to either partner.
Sometimes people are dealing with factors such as jobs or education stress that make it harder to focus as much on the relationship.
A person may be dealing with children from a prior relationship, or financial stressors. None of that means that you don’t have the right to want what you want. It just may mean that you may not be able to get it right when you want it.
You have to put your thoughts and feelings out there so you can get feedback from your partner.
You are not making a demand; you are stating a preference. “I would like for us to take this relationship to the next level; how are you feeling?”, is an appropriate and useful way to approach the subject of commitment. There really is no other way to know where he’s at.
Of course, you could find out that he’s not really that invested in the relationship and has no plans to make a commitment.
In that case it’s not a question of timing; it’s about different levels of interest between the two of you.
That could be hard to hear, but isn’t it better to know if you’re investing your time, energy and emotions into a relationship that isn’t ever going to go anywhere?
Women are afraid to ask the commitment question because they are afraid of what they are going to hear.
If you are that afraid to know how he feels, your question may already be answered. You deserve to be with somebody who wants to be with you.
If it’s a question of timing perhaps you can be patient and give him more time.
But you do need to know whether he needs more time or if for him there will never actually be enough time.
Sally LeBoy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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