As we grow, mature, and change, our relationships do, too. At least, they should. Relationships that don’t evolve are stagnated in a constant awkward, in-between, “not-quite” state. This hurtful, confusing situation arises when a couple is going through the motions and appears committed but without confirming they are.
Relationships need time and nurturing to develop. But “not-quite” relationships don’t progress, leaving those involved full of questions. Are we exclusive? Would he care if I invited him to my family event? Would he get upset if I didn’t? Is it weird to call him just to talk? If these questions sound familiar, you’re probably aware that they arise as rapidly as the confusion that overcomes you when it becomes clear that you don’t know the answers.
Relationships can exist with blurry lines in gray areas for months or even years. But one thing is clear: you don’t know where the relationship is headed, and your partner has no intention to discuss it. Though no two relationships are the same, here are five general signs your relationship is stuck in the “not-quite” stage, along with some tips on how to create the life you deserve with a partner who deserves you.
- You obsess over your texts.
We’ve all experienced the pressure of wanting to send that perfect text to that special someone. And although communicating via screens has become the norm in our culture, it can sometimes be more stressful than talking face-to-face.
If texting with your partner has devolved into an endless loop of memes and screenshots, and you obsess over every word of the texts you do write, you need to take a step back. Perhaps you feel you need to prove to him how clever you are. Or you may worry that something you wrote will scare him away. Regardless, you need to understand that texts aren’t that big of a deal and address the underlying issue. If a guy ends your relationship over of a text you sent him, the truth is that he would have left you anyway. Relationships that move forward involve texting in a healthier context.
- You confide in him, then feel as though you should apologize.
Whether you had a stressful argument with your friend, or you were rejected for the promotion at work, your immediate reaction was to talk to your partner about it. But the moment you opened up, you felt the need to apologize. Whether you regret sounding over-dramatic, or you wish you didn’t exhibit so much vulnerability, there’s a deeper reason why you hesitate over being transparent.
Next time you regret being open, you need to be more honest with yourself. Why are you’re uncomfortable revealing who you are? Why is it so difficult to share what upsets you? Is it related to how you perceive your relationship? Are you just a private person? Answering these questions will give you clarity in the situation, which will provide guidance regarding what you should do moving forward.
- It’s not clear where the relational boundaries are.
Every type of relationship involves some type of commitment. A significant issue with “not-quite” relationships is that it’s not clear if a commitment exists, or if there is a commitment, there’s no clarity regarding its depth. It’s understandable to feel confused about how to perceive a relationship if you aren’t sure what to make of it.
Is it okay to flirt with the cute waiter? Is it fickle to swipe right? These questions are simple on the surface. But they become more complex when you’re seeking definite answers in a relationship filled with uncertainty. So, just ask. This may not sound pleasant, but equally as unpleasant is not knowing the answers. Boundaries give relationships structure, and you need to know where they are in yours.
- You only know him superficially.
You may be familiar with your partner’s daily routine, so you know where he works and what he eats for lunch. But you’re clueless about anything more personal than knowing his favorite Saturday morning coffee shop. You can’t expect him to share his entire life story on your first date with him. But a certain symptom of “not-quite” relationships is realizing that the things you know about your partner have more to do with day-to-day details than the more important matters in his life.
What are his goals in life? Where does he picture himself in ten years? What was his childhood like? If you’ve asked open-ended questions like these and still struggle to dive deeper into meaningful conversations, you need to figure out why. Healthy relationships take on many forms. But in all of them, the ability to communicate is the key to success.
- You avoid discussing the relationship.
The “what are we?” discussion is one that many people dread. But avoiding the discussion because it’s too soon to have it is completely different from avoiding the discussion because it’s too late to have it.
“Not-quite” relationships can be based on many different things, but they usually are not based on a future together. A person who’s not willing to commit to you will not want anything to do with a conversation about commitment. Don’t blame yourself. You deserve so much more than a relationship that your partner is afraid to define. So, don’t shy away from discussing the issues that are lingering in your mind. A guy who desires a future with you will be eager to invest in the relationship. In the end, you will find the good things that you deserve, and you won’t have to coerce the person who is the right one for you.
Have you resolved a “not-quite” relationship situation? Feel free to share your story in the comments section!