“Be ready for love when it does come. Prepare the field and be ready to nourish love. Be loving, and you will be lovable. Be open and receptive to love.”
~ Louise Hay
Relationships occur at many different levels.
There are pleasant acquaintance relationships, team sports relationships, work relationships, friend relationships, hanging out relationships, dating relationships, committed relationships, and of course, lover relationships.
So, if you like him and you’re letting him know in some way, you are taking the first step toward a relationship.
It’s up to you what level of relationship you want to pursue, and you probably don’t know what level you want to reach until you get to really know him. Remember, you always get to choose whatever stopping point you want.
It will help you both if you pay close attention along the way to what you feel, what you like and dislike, and you’re willing to be honest with him about what is working or not working for you.
The first step is getting to know him.
When you start to like someone, your body language and emotional responses change automatically. Notice how you feel and how he is responding.
Interactions feel really good when you are getting to know someone whom you like. Your tendency may be to revel in the good feelings and ignore or discount your uneasy or bothersome reactions.
On the other hand, if you’ve been deeply hurt by a past relationship, you may respond with extreme caution and not much spontaneity. Either way, pay attention to how YOU feel and let yourself tune into those more covert feelings. It will give you a more balanced view of how you feel about him.
If you like his behaviors or qualities, let him know.
Also, if somethings he says or does bothers you, let him know before you get fed up. Get more information by asking him what he was thinking, feeling, or intending.
Don’t shy away from asking for more information about his life, experiences, interests, and especially his passions. These give you a picture of how he lives his life, what he spends time on, and where he puts his energy. Balance things out by sharing as much about your life as is comfortable.
Relationships build step by step by each person sharing more and more personal and intimate feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
When you first know someone, you start sharing public facts and information. If that seems comfortable, you begin sharing stories, experiences, and personal opinions. Eventually, as you feel more relaxed and safe, you begin sharing more private information.
Sharing either too much immediately or very little for too long creates discomfort and usually creates a stopping level for the relationship until you get more in tune with each other.
Every relationship is like a dance.
When you feel you’re in sync with each other, it feels enjoyable. However, if things fall very much out of sync, it’s best to step away and get your balance again. Hurt and anger happen most often when one or both partners in the dance insist on having things their own way.
As you go along progressing in your contacts with each other, keep paying attention to your own as well as his reactions.
- Does it feel like a dance? Or does it feel one sided?
- Do you feel you’re getting to really know him?
- Do you feel he’s understanding and getting an accurate impression of you?
- Do you feel seen and acknowledged?
- Or do you feel pressured, out of balance, anxious?
Pay close attention to whether you like him the way he is or wish, want, or expect that he’ll eventually be different as the relationship progresses.
Don’t discount ANY feeling you have along the way.
Too often there are red flags early in the process of getting to know someone that get ignored or disregarded that should have told you that this is the culminating level for this relationship. Be aware at each step toward more intimacy that it is a step that you want to take.
If it isn’t, slow things down.
Don’t call or text as much. Don’t share as much. Discuss your concerns with him, but if you still don’t feel comfortable, then stay at the level where you do feel good. If you want more intimacy, share that as well.
The leveling off point will be more mutual if you’ve been honest at each step along the way.
So, like him, get to know him, and keep checking in with yourself and with him about how things are progressing for each of you. Who knows, you may end up with a friend, a hang out buddy, a past acquaintance, or a life-long love. Take a chance or not. You get to choose.
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com
Relationships are risky business.
It’s taking a chance on yourself and someone else by entering a messy and sticky situation where feelings and emotions conjure the intensity of love, happiness, joy, unhappiness, pain, and pleasure-simply the things that come along with relationships.
Why enter something so intense if you are not ready?
I can only imagine that’ll add another complicated layer to an already beautifully complicated situation.
The most beautiful part about growth is allowing yourself to do so while being disciplined enough to reject all distractions that are just plain unneeded at the time.
It is making a conscious and wise decision not to bring a person into a situation if you knowingly feel unready. It is taking the high rode to your pleasures and being responsible to your heart while possibly reducing damage to another person.
Relationships are experiences we share as humans. However, entering one is making a responsible decision to healthily tackle the challenges that come along with that experience.
We owe it to ourselves to look introspectively at our relationship patterns, our strengths and our areas of growth to be the best possible mate we can to someone else.
There are numerous ways one can approach not being ready; however, not wanting to miss out on an opportunity with someone.
Being honest about where you are in your process will allow the person of interest to decide the best course for his or her path.
A conversation could naturally set the relationship at a slower pace or be the reason not to pursue it. Either way, a choice has been made that’ll ultimately lead to growth and understanding which is the breath of having a fulfilling relationship, and understanding overall, the healthiest relationship we should have is the one we have with ourselves.
Tilisha Harrison, LCSW – www.linkedin.com/in/tilisha-harrison-lcsw-36329027
To have a healthy relationship, you need two people who are aware that they are individuals forming a commitment that is equal, respectful and fair.
That means both want the same things and are willing to do what is necessary to create the mutually satisfying union.
If you are not ready for this, you need to evaluate some things about dating and relationships.
1. When you are seeing somebody, of course you should enjoy each other’s company by having fun, playing together and sharing common interests and outings.
While this seems obvious, many couples fall into a routine that becomes boring, predictable and automatic, which tends to downplay the significance of the relationship. Instead, be in the moment, and appreciate your time together always.
2. Open up the conversation to have a heart-to-heart with him.
Find out if you really do care enough to commit, because you don’t want to lose him. For him, not knowing where you stand or where it’s going can be very counter-productive.
3. Consider couples counseling.
In a safe, neutral environment, you can both speak about your concerns and fears and, hopefully, come to some mutual awareness. If you each make some personal changes, the dynamic of the relationship can change. Or at least you will understand each other better, which will also improve your feelings towards each other.
4. Just know that many relationships don’t start out as “love at first sight” romances.
Over time, you get to know the wonderful attributes, qualities, quirks and personalities of each other and that brings you emotionally and physically closer. So, while you may not be ready now, things may ultimately change.
Your relationship should give you some comfort, security and enjoyment. So, you need to figure out what you truly want at this stage of your life. Ask for help if you need it. But it’s really up to you to make an informed decision whether to stay or to leave.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Are you sure he’s ready for a relationship? Maybe he’s also in the getting to know you phase. Maybe he’s also looking to just keep it casual.
Timing, while not everything, is a huge part of creating a relationship.
Because people are at different stages of their personal development, it stands to reason that they will have different needs regarding the timing of a relationship. I think this is important to remember because if somebody isn’t ready to take things to the next level it might have very little to do with how you feel about each other. The timing just may be off.
However, it’s important for both people to be upfront about their expectations.
When you are ready for a commitment, you don’t want to be spending time with someone who is just looking for a good time. There’s nothing wrong with just wanting a good time, but both people need to be on the same page with that. Very different expectations can result in huge disappointments as well as feelings of rejection and betrayal.
I don’t think you have to talk about expectations immediately.
If there’s no chemistry, there’s probably no need to explore the future. Anyway with on-line dating, it’s usually pretty clear what people are looking for.
If you’ve been seeing each other for a while, you probably need to talk to him about your current expectations.
You can tell him that you like him but that you’re not ready to take things to the next level and then let him tell you his thoughts and feelings. If he’s wanting more, you can see if he’s willing to take things slowly to see if your feelings grow. But his needs have to be a part of this process.
You don’t want to lie to him and you certainly don’t want to lie to yourself!
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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