An article that addresses the confusion that can often result from casual dating and friendships when one of you wants more. This article discusses when and how to address this and avoid to avoid it.
By: Elle Alexander
December 4, 2016
If you’re even asking yourself this question, you probably already know the answer: Undefined.
What exactly does that mean, you might ask? Well, let’s keep it simple: You’re both still technically single. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been “talking,” or whatever that might entail. Acting like you’re in a relationship and committing to actually be in one are two entirely different things. Unfortunately, unless you set clear expectations from the get-go, there’s a pretty good chance you can expect things to continue on the same track. But you can’t go back in time, so what happens now? How do you move forward?
If you want a commitment and you feel like the other person might also feel the same way, this is definitely something that needs to be talked about so it decreases the likelihood of someone getting hurt later down the road. While it won’t guarantee it, it’s definitely a good start. (Again, what would have been better is if this was discussed PRIOR to becoming intimately involved with the person to begin with, but since time travel is not a viable option, it looks like you’ll just have to address the situation accordingly now.)
So how do you even initiate this conversation? When is a good time to do this? What do you even say without it being totally awkward? Well ladies, here’s another blunt fact: Guys usually don’t like this question or conversation. Why? Because it forces them to make a decision that they might not want or be ready to make and puts them on the spot. So with that being said, let’s realistically look at your “options.”
Don’t talk about it:
This is the easiest option, but probably the least productive and most confusing one in the long run. If you don’t talk about it, there are two likely outcomes that will occur:
A: One (if not both) of you will get possessive because the other one might be seeing someone else. Someone will then be forced to choose to make the commitment or to walk away, but now it’s too late because the other person has already met someone. And the other person has feelings that are being unreciprocated. Sucks, right?
B: It will continue to remain awkward and neither one of you will know what the hell is going on. You’re both free to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, and all that comes with that ( good and bad) Neither one of you really have a say so until you’re in a committed relationship (not one of these pseudo-relationships like you’re in now).
Feel the situation out first
Why is this important? Because have you ever had someone that reallllly liked you and you just didn’t feel the same way? It’s so uncomfortable and awkward!! You don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings but the only thing it does is make you feel all prickly and want to run because the other person doesn’t seem to get the hint…right? You don’t want to be that person do you? No. You don’t. And I don’t want you to be that person either, because it’s really annoying and it puts people in a weird position they don’t want to be placed in. So in order to avoid this, here’s what I’m going to ask you to do for yourself and for the other person.
If there’s any indication that the person likes you, they’ve probably at the bare minimum made comments to you to tell you that they enjoy spending time with you; you make them happy, they’re glad they met you…Etc. This is them basically telling you that they appreciate you and value your time. However, I’ve told my good friend’s things like this because that is how I feel about some of them but that doesn’t mean that I want a relationship. So you’re going to need a little more than that. However, respect and appreciation are always a good foundation for relationships so don’t be discouraged just yet. Let’s see what else you might want to look for.
Having someone tell you that you’re hot, cute, beautiful, etc.? Those are good indicators that they’re at least somewhat attracted to you, but it still doesn’t mean they want a relationship. You’re going to need more than that, too.
I think tons of people are hot but that doesn’t mean I’d ever want to date them. Some of them are complete assholes. My ex is one of them, for example. I would totally mess around with him because he’s sexy as hell but I would never want to date him again because he’s such a jerk. I know that doesn’t make sense to some of you, but my point is, looks aren’t enough. You can be physically/sexually attracted to someone without wanting a commitment. You don’t have to like someone to have sex with them. It’s pretty simple. Some people can actually separate sex from love. Crazy right? … (Super beneficial at times, though.)
So I guess the next question is then, is there more than just sexual chemistry? Does it seem like their eyes light up when you look at them? Are they going out of their way for you to show you that they care about you and doing things that a “friend” wouldn’t normally do? This might be a good indicator. But again, this alone isn’t enough.
“When WILL it be enough, then? If ‘this alone’ isn’t enough, how will I know?” You might ask…You’re probably so tired of seeing that phrase that by now, but don’t be discouraged. I got your back, so hear me out.
YOU will know when its time to discuss it. I promise.
If you feel like you have a nice combination of ALL of the above, then there’s probably a good chance the person at least feels pretty strongly for you. But before you initiate the conversation, really take the time to get to know them & find out what they’ve been through and how they feel about relationships in general. Then somehow try to have lighthearted conversation about what their goals are and what they want in their future without letting them know why you’re asking. These are always good conversations anyways because people light up when they think about their goals and wants. It’s a really fun thing to watch (and inspiring).
You might even find out that you don’t actually like this person as much as you thought, or hell, they might even make you fall more head over heels. But one thing is for sure. People like to feel understood and appreciated. They generally like it when others make the time and effort to get to know them and once somebody opens up to you (if they’re willing to do so), it helps create a bond between the two of you and that’s something that is hard to get rid of in the end. Doesn’t always mean you’re supposed to be together romantically, but not everyone is. Worst case scenario? You’ve at least got a new friend out of the deal, right? If they haven’t ruled out wanting a relationship to you verbally, then you’re generally in the clear.
When Shouldn’t I bring it up?
If someone outright says they like being single or doesn’t want a relationship, then It’s pretty clear that you’re not the one (At least right now, that is). I know that sounds a little harsh, but think about it.
People that might potentially want to date you (even if they’re not completely sure yet) aren’t going to say things like that because they wouldn’t want to jeopardize scaring you off. Saying these things is a conscious decision, so if the person even slightly thinks there might be a chance of ending up together these things won’t just “slip” out of their mouth. If you’ve heard things like that from the person you like… forget it for now and move on. Don’t even mention it or bring it up because it’s not going to change anything. Eventually if they decide that they DO want to be with you, as I mentioned in option 1, they’ll let you know.
If you’re sleeping together and the person is still indicating that they want to be single then sweetie, there’s a good chance they’re just using you for sex because again, the above rule applies. Are you okay with just having sex and nothing more? Don’t even answer that because I can do it for you right now. No, you’re not or you wouldn’t have read the “what are we” post I wrote looking for answers to that question. Not that there’s anything wrong with being FWB if that’s what you want, but it’s not.
If you’re asking what are we or how do I know, and he’s made it loud and clear that he likes being single or “isn’t really looking for anything right now,” then he’s keeping you around to have sex with while he keeps his options open. Because trust and believe that if a man wants to be with you, he’ll show you AND tell you. You shouldn’t have to sit around and question where you stand in someone else’s life. If you are, be clear about what YOU want and expect, draw some boundaries and quit giving it up without a commitment if that’s what you’re looking for. Because if he’s not showing you clear indications that he wants only to be with you, and you’re giving him the benefits of a committed relationship without actually being in one? You’re the only one committed to it, dear.
So how can you avoid this dilemma in the future?
Well, for starters, don’t expect that you can turn sex into a relationship. Has it happened? Yes. But maybe before you take that jump, at least get to know where you stand and find out who they are as a human being and what they want in their life. People have no problem expressing what they want unless they’re afraid and usually, if it’s something they want bad enough, they’ll find a way to get it. If it’s not you, you really don’t have the right to be mad about it, either (Especially if you allowed it!)
The classy thing to do when someone doesn’t feel the same way you do is to wish them the best because you’d want them to do the same. Not everyone is meant to be together in a relationship. Sometimes, it’s okay just to be friends with good looking people. You don’t have to date them.
I hope that if you are reading this, though, that the person you like feels the same. But what I’m telling you is, even if they don’t… it’s going to be okay. That doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, that you’re ugly, or that you’re going to be single forever (as if that’s a bad thing). It just means they have different preferences/tastes for romantic partners and you’re not what they want. We don’t get to choose who we are attracted to, it just happens. So quit beating yourself up over rejection. Learn how to move on and become a better YOU for YOU. That’s the most attractive quality a person can have aside from a good heart, anyway. Then in the future, when you probably least expect it, the right person will see how focused and goal-oriented you are and will say, “She’s the one.”
But really, there’s not a damn thing wrong with being alone. So many people look at this as a negative thing and feel defective if they’re not in a relationship. Don’t be silly. You now have so much freedom to do what you want, when you want, with who you want. You are in charge of your life. You can do whatever you want with it. So go enjoy it and have fun and quit worrying about someone who isn’t worrying about you right now. Be your own best friend, be your own life partner. Be true to you first. There’s not a damn thing wrong with that.
And if you do want to be in a relationship, do yourself a favor to avoid a lot of unnecessary heartache and pain. Wait for the person who makes you feel special and treats you like “the one” and you’ll never question that persons true intentions or feel confused. That’s so much better than settling, isn’t it?
Good luck. Let me know how it goes!