Do you seem to keep throwing gutter balls when it comes to relationships? If you’re searching for commitment, it can be frustrating to be in a relationship that seems to be going nowhere. Do you recognize either of the following scenarios?
You’ve known each other for a while, and it seems like a good level of compatibility exists between you. The other person has shown some romantic interest but has expressed that he or she doesn’t want to start a relationship.
You’ve been seeing someone frequently and you have a romantic connection. Everything is going really well, but you don’t know where your relationship stands. Every time you start to talk about it, the other person changes the subject immediately.
If you’ve faced either of these situations, you’re not the only one. College is fast and loose, and students often have very different ideas about what they want from relationships and sometimes have difficulty communicating their needs. If you’re not satisfied with the status of your relationship, speak openly and calmly to the other person but be prepared to accept that he or she might feel differently than you do.
If you’re frustrated—and the time seems right—consider asking your love interest questions such as these:
These questions can help you clear up any gray areas. The other person may just need time to get to know you better, or he or she may want to focus on other aspects of life at this point. Either way, if you show respect for his or her feelings, you can leave the door open to further commitment down the line, or make a decision to move on without damaging your friendship. In addition, learning early in a relationship what’s important and your partner’s beliefs, values and goals may prove helpful in avoiding some misunderstanding and miscommunication down the road.
Forming a strong friendship prior to a romantic relationship will help to provide a solid base. A good way to do this is to participate in activities that you both enjoy, and taking turns sharing favorite activities that may be new to one of you. Focus on getting to know one another and building a connection before building any kind of romantic expectations. Keep in mind that the first step is friendship; at this stage you don’t need to be thinking about lifelong commitments. If things are going well, try not to lose yourself completely to the excitement—make sure that you are still spending time alone and with your other friends.
If you’ve had a disappointing relationship experience, don’t let this bump in the road stop you from meeting more of your peers. Take some time to reflect on the past relationship and process it. There might be something to be learned from relationships, either about yourself or others. Surrounding yourself with friends may provide the necessary support and social outlet while you stay open to the possibility of meeting new and interesting people. Shake things up a little by joining a student organization or attending activities in which you are likely to meet people you haven’t met before. If you keep doing the same things, you can only expect the same outcomes. Keep things new and interesting.
It’s important to keep in mind that you’re likely to go through many make-ups and break-ups before you find the right match. Honest evaluation can keep you from wasting time trying to force a relationship with someone who isn’t ready or interested, and this will keep you from missing out on other friendships and opportunities.