What to do if he’s not ready for the next step, but you are

next stepBoys mature more slowly than girls. It’s a fact of life we’ve known since some twerp pulled our ponytail on the playground and thought it was flirting. That immaturity follows gender lines way into adulthood. And it gets more annoying along the way, especially in terms of relationships. It’s hard to be with someone who isn’t feeling the same emotions you are or in the same life stage, even if you are similar ages. A lot of my girlfriends complain about this when they’re ready to move in together or get married. Their long-term boyfriend doesn’t feel ready yet. It’s a real struggle a lot of couples go through. So, here’s some advice for how to deal.

Talk about it

It’s really important to communicate throughout your relationship, but especially important when you’re at meaningful junctures and about to take steps forward. Talk to him early and often about your feelings and expectations and ask him about his. You want to know what page of the relationship book each of you is on. It’s really important that these are talks, not fights. The goal of this communication is to hear each other out, not yell about why each of you is wrong. Make sure you share your thoughts and feelings and, now this is the hard part, listen to his.

Set timelines

If both of you aren’t on the same page about when to take the next step together, then talk about timelines. These aren’t ultimatums or drop dead dates. These are little benchmarks for when you’ll check in on this topic again and see where you both are. That way you won’t be constantly discussing the same topic or stewing about the issue, wondering when he’s going to bring it up again. Figure out timeframes that work for both of you and agree to them together. I’d even set little calendar reminders to make sure we don’t miss it or aren’t thinking about not missing it too much.

Decide what’s important

If you guys have talked and then talked again and there’s no sense of you coming together on a decision, you need to decide what’s important to you. And here’s a hint about what should be most important to you…YOU! Put yourself first. Can you really be happy with this man if you never move forward? Can you partner with someone who isn’t able to compromise to make you happy? I’d vote no. As hard as it is to break up with someone you love, sometimes that’s the best move if you don’t love the relationship any more. Or don’t love where it’s heading. What’s important is that you make the decision yourself and don’t use it as a threat with your man. “Move in with me or I’m dumping you,” isn’t going to get you anywhere. You don’t want to bully him into relationship progress, do you? You’ll find a man who’s on your wavelength. I promise!

Good luck getting on the same page with your fellow. Sometimes all it takes is a few conversations, but sometimes it takes a whole new man. Wishing you the best during this tricky time!

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