Relationships

What to do if you’re ready for the next step, but he isn’t

At first, relationship milestones come fast and furious. First date. First kiss. First sex. First fight. First make up. First make up sex. And on and on. But, after a while, the firsts stop flying by. You two get comfortable and in a groove and are coasting along dating each other. And while that’s fine and dandy, there are much bigger relationship firsts, ranging from saying “I love you” to getting married, that need to happen to take you guys to the next level. It can be really frustrating when you’re ready to jump to the next stage of coupledom and he isn’t. Here’s how to handle it.

Talk to him

As unromantic as it may feel to talk things you think should be happening naturally, it’s actually really good and necessary. We all want our partners to love us exactly how we want and need to be loved with no guidance, but the truth is that no one’s capable of doing that. He can’t read your mind. And telling someone what you need doesn’t make it any less meaningful when they do it. So, don’t be afraid to bring up the milestones you feel approaching and how you want to handle them. Ask when he thinks he’ll be ready to move in together. Tell him you’d like to meet his family. Share your thoughts on taking your first vacation together. Once you talk to him, you might realize that it’s not that he’s not as ready for that next step as you are…it’s that he’s clueless! Happens all the time with dudes. They’re just not thinking about this in the same way we’re socialized to.

Do it solo

Some relationship firsts don’t have to be bilateral. If you’ve spoken to him about a milestone, told him you’re ready and learned that he’s just plain not, then think about taking that relationship step alone. While it’s not how it happens in the movies, both of you don’t have to hit every romantic milestone at the same time. So, if the milestone that you’re more eager about can be done solo, consider doing it alone. For example, you can say “I love you” to him, even if he’s not ready to say it back to you. You can introduce him to your family, even if he’s not ready to bring you home. Different milestones mean different things to different people. Just because you’re ready for something and he isn’t doesn’t mean that his feelings for you and faith in the relationship aren’t as strong as yours are. Of course, not every milestone can be done on your lonesome. You can’t move in together alone or get married alone. But, when it’s possible, be open to it.

Set your limit

To every thing, there is a season. Honestly, not 100% sure what that means, but I think it applies. What I mean is that everything has its time and when that time is over, that time is over. While I encourage being flexible and understanding that he may feel differently about certain relationship events, you do need to have limits. For example, you can’t date someone for a year without exclusivity. If you want to get married and he doesn’t seem open to that in any sort of reasonable timeline, you can’t keep dating him. Think about what milestones you want to reach and what your limit would be. Communicate those limits to him and then act accordingly if he doesn’t think he can hit your timelines or says he will and then falls short. It’s not going to be easy, but you’re doing the right thing for yourself and your future relationships.

It’s always important to enjoy the relationship stage you’re in, but I get the need to look forward to future stages. Hope this helps you figure your next few steps out.

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