You’ve been there. You finally meet someone you “click” with and almost want to pinch yourself sometimes at how happy you find yourself since you two started dating. You smile when you hear your phone “ding” notifying you that a text just came in and then see that it’s from him. Your mind is suddenly occupied with nothing but him, it seems.
You’re replaying every moment of your last conversation, the way he gently kissed your lips as he said goodbye…and you find yourself fantasizing about the next time you get to see him. It almost seems too good to be true that he seems just as into you as you are into him.
So, after weeks or even months of this, it would make sense that you would just assume neither one of you is seeing anyone else or would even say yes to a date with anyone else. You definitely have, in your mind, staved off all others and emotionally committed yourself to only dating this man. But…since you’ve actually never talked about it…how do you really know the status of your relationship?
This is truly one of the most stressful and confusing parts of the early months of dating for most women.
So, maybe you’ve found yourself struggling with the following…
- Why is this so confusing?
- The horrible bind you are in and how to best handle it.
- Understanding why it’s necessary to know the impact it has on you and your relationship moving forward.
The confusion…is real. Why on earth would you think that since you have been texting/talking daily and spending so much time together for weeks or months since you’d first met that either one of you would want to date anyone else. What the two of you have is so great. You have amazing chemistry, the sex is like nothing you’ve ever had before, you have so much in common, and you have so much fun together.
You try to even imagine where either one of you would fit in time to talk to anyone else in between all of the other things you have going on besides each other. You tell yourself there is no way he would even want to date anyone else, so you don’t even bring up the conversation about if the two of you are dating other people. You honestly just assume it.
In fact, after about 2 weeks of dating him, you completely took down all of your dating profiles and emotionally devoted yourself to him. Only you never told him that. You figured he just knew because of the way you have been together. After even more time together, you figured your assumption was right, but there is still a lingering question in your mind as you realize he never has called you his girlfriend or introduced you as such.
You even start to wonder how you would introduce him to people at your next social event. So, you think about if it is time to just ask him where your relationship is. You think it’s really no big deal, really. After all this time, it’s just a moot point, right?
Having “The Talk” When Dating Someone Special
So, you decide to ask him the next time you’re out if you two can talk, and you are a bit taken aback by a reaction you have never seen by him before. It is almost like you asked him to go skinny dipping in -10 degree weather in the dead of winter. He stutters a “I guess. What about?” So, you say something like: “Well, I was just thinking that we’ve been dating for some time and spending so much time together and getting along so well. And I know I haven’t been seeing anyone else and haven’t wanted to because I am so happy being with you, so I was just wondering if you’re feeling the same and where our relationship is going. I guess I have been assuming we’ve been committed for some time, but then I realized we never talked about it, so I wanted to bring it up”.
You may actually not want to ask if you can “talk” because for some reason that may actually “freak” some guys out and make things sound too serious. And, you may just want to be super casual about the topic and say something like “You know, the funniest thing happened the other day. I got asked out and I realized we never even talked about if we both stopped dating other people. I just have been so into us and have been having so much fun with you that I haven’t even wanted to. I guess I kind of assumed with all the time we’ve been spending together that you also weren’t still dating other people, but I guess I should have asked instead of assumed. I really do want it to be just us, so I guess I need to know if you’re on the same page as me”.
Now, you may actually get a response like: “Well of course you’re my girlfriend”. Or, you may get a complete shocker and be stunned by a blank stare and a “umm… well, I am really not ready for something that serious right now. I thought we were just having fun and a commitment is just something that takes a lot longer for me to make with anyone.”
If you get the second response, unfortunately you’re not in the minority right now. For some reason, there seems to be a difficulty with men being able to have “the talk” and them being completely freaked out by a woman bringing it up first. The words “commitment” and “relationship” also seem to be somewhat triggering and frightening to some men, as for some reason they equate these with marriage.
Let’s be clear here…
You have every right to want to be in an exclusive relationship where you are only dating, having sex with or communicating with one man—or not. If someone “freaks out” because you assertively communicate your needs, desires and wants in a relationship, then this is not the right relationship for you.
There is a difference between imposing your needs, desires and wants on someone else way too soon (say in the first couple of weeks before you actually know one another) and then getting mad at them for not meeting them. But, honestly, if it has been months and the two of you have been regularly having sex and spending time together, it makes sense that you would want to know if the two of you are only dating one another.
And, certainly, if nothing else, for health reasons alone, you have every right to know if he is or wants to date other people. You have every right to protect your heart and your body.
The reason this can be extremely confusing is because actions speak louder than words. Just because someone has not uttered the words “commitment”, “girlfriend”, or “boyfriend” does not negate the amount of time, effort, energy they have put into being with you. Nor can those words take away from the passion, chemistry and emotions you feel for the other person. It can be extremely painful to have committed yourself to the relationship only to find out that the other person never did and wasn’t planning on it.
If this happens, you really are left in a bind. Do you leave because you find out you aren’t at the same level of commitment at that time? Or, do you continue doing what you’ve been doing, waiting things out and hoping that he will catch up with you at some point. You were really so happy with everything.
So, do you leave that now that you found out he might not be ready to only be with you? Can you handle staying with him knowing that he might be talking to or dating another woman when he’s not with you? Do you hope that he goes out with other women and realizes that nobody compares to you and it will be worth continuing to stay with him?
There really are so many things to consider. And, it really comes down to who you are and what you can handle. But, don’t feel bad for wanting or needing a commitment. It is a necessary foundation for a healthy relationship and you have every right to ask for it.
In the dating realm, commitment refers to a relationship where the two of you are only dating and having sex with each other. If there is no commitment, the foundation of a relationship is shaky, at best. Women, in particular, need to feel safe and secure in relationships. Otherwise, their anxiety takes over and, let’s face it ladies, we can overthink pretty much everything and drive ourselves a little mad at times. This can wreak havoc on any relationship.
If you don’t know your man is committed to you, and you know he’s open to dating other women, for instance, you will be much more likely to over-analyze why he did not respond to your last text and re-read over and over again his last texts trying to find the reason why he’s ignoring you; trying to figure out if he’s ready to leave you or if his feelings for you are still as strong.
You might spend your time stalking his social media, even calling his phone with a blocked number to see if he answers. You’d call your girlfriends for support and be an anxious mess until he finally resurfaced. If, on the other hand, you felt safe and secure, you’d more likely tell yourself he’s busy with work and will get back to you when he’s free and go about your day not thinking about it.
The main thing is that it IS important to always communicate openly and never assume anything with anyone. Knowing is better than being in the dark and possibly being blindsided and getting hurt. A lot of women, unfortunately, are afraid to “scare the man away” by bringing up “the talk” and therefore don’t and don’t end up in the relationship that they want and need in order to feel safe and secure. It is ALWAYS ok to be true to yourself and want to be in a mutually loving, healthy relationship where you both get your needs met.
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Dr. Frankie Bashan is a renowned relationship coach and dating expert. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with over a decade of experience working with couples and individuals, with specialized training in the field of trauma. Dr. Frankie is the CEO & Founder of LittleBlackBookMatchmaking.com, which specializes in personalized matchmaking for singles, and the CEO & Founder of LittleGayBook.com, which focuses on personalized matchmaking for lesbians and bisexual women and has successfully connected couples across the United States for the last two decades. You can learn more about Dr. Frankie’s work at her website below and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.