Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 07-14-2018 Comments: 0
We have a certain amount of trepidation when it comes to dating, mostly because we don’t know what to expect. Have you ever felt confused about what your date is thinking, whether or not he feels the same about you? Maybe you’ve wondered where things are headed, and if you’re wasting your time.
Let’s be honest. Would you be more comfortable if your relationship had a label – an official status? Maybe you want to acknowledge that the object of your affection is your boyfriend. Having a label gives deeper meaning to your relationship and how you feel about each other. It’s also less confusing.
Unfortunately, it’s often not that simple.
Many daters want to take a far more casual (and far less risky) approach to dating. They don’t want to label a relationship because that immediately makes things more official (and more serious). They want to get to know you without this kind of commitment.
But what about you? Maybe you differ – you like labels because they provide a sense of security and a reason to pursue the relationship. A label allows you to be vulnerable and open your heart. Many of us need this reassurance before we’re willing to show our cards.
So what do you do when one of you wants a label and the other doesn’t?
To me, dating a new person is kind of like visiting a new country. You have to figure things out – the language, the culture, whether or not you enjoy the place – before you decide you want to stay. In other words, it’s important to have a sense of adventure first and do a little exploring, getting to know each other, before you decide to set up camp.
This means that it’s important to communicate. You’re both navigating new terrain together, so there are no right or wrong answers here. Following are some tips to help you and your beau understand what you both want. After all, it’s not the label per se, but what you both desire in a relationship that’s important.
Understand why you want to label the relationship.
It’s important to truly understand your intentions for wanting to label the relationship. A label won’t necessarily make the relationship more secure, especially if your partner would rather keep it casual and is doing it just to please you. So ask yourself: do you want a label because you want a boyfriend, or do you actually want THIS person in your life? There’s a difference.
See if you can make allowances for you two to figure out what you want together, and come to an agreeable solution. How long have you been dating? If it’s been a year and he’s still not interested in moving forward to a committed relationship despite knowing what you want, then perhaps it’s time to take an honest assessment and determine if you should let him go. This is an example – the timeframe is up to you.
Communicate what you want.
When it comes to dating, we play coy. We wait for the other person to make the first move, whether it’s asking you out on a proper date, saying “I love you,” introducing you to his friends, or calling you his girlfriend. But here’s a new approach to take: don’t wait, and don’t be coy. Remember, you are both in control – this is your decision, too. If you want a commitment, then let him know.
It’s also important to understand why he wants to avoid labels in your relationship. Assess the facts: Is he newly divorced and wanting to take things slow? Has he told you he wants an open relationship? Listen to what he says. Don’t make assumptions, or think that he’ll change his mind down the road. Your willingness to compromise (and his) are key. Be honest with yourself and each other.
Accept his decision.
If you’ve talked it through, and you would like to call him your boyfriend but he still doesn’t want a label, then it’s up to you to accept how he feels. As much as it hurts, perhaps he isn’t sure you’re the right one and he’s keeping his options open. Or maybe he’s not looking for anything more than a casual relationship, and having a label means things are moving in a serious direction. When you acknowledge that you both have different ideas about the relationship, it enables you both to move forward in your own lives.
If he really wants you for a partner, he will be willing to commit, and the label won’t seem so important. You won’t feel the need to make him express his love for you by declaring you an official girlfriend, because you will both be on the same page as far as how you feel and what you want. You’ll be moving forward together.
But remember: this takes time. Get to know each other before placing demands on the relationship. Communicate your desires along the way. Try to resist the urge to put pressure on yourself or the new relationship. Instead, cultivate a desire to enjoy being together, and see where things go.