How To Define A Relationship On Your Own Terms

By: Amy Estes |


Most of us have been there: things are going along swimmingly in a new relationship, you have one too many glasses of wine and BOOM. He (or she!) stops calling and the relationship is suddenly over, all because you asked a heavy question like, “Where is this going?” or “Are we official yet?” or dropped the l-word (I’ve done all three — don’t be embarrassed).

Here are some more successful ways to define a relationship and get what you want, without completely ruining the early phase.

1. Temper your expectations. I really like definitions, plans and confessions of feelings. If we’ve been successfully going out for a few weeks, I wanna know I’m your girlfriend! In my last relationship, I slowed my roll a little and waited it out. Sure, I wanted to define things earlier, but instead of getting my hopes up and stressing out about the relationship, I waited. I was hopeful and invested, but without the pressure of needing a title. It worked. If you’re thinking, “OMG WE ARE GETTING MARRIED” and the other person is thinking, “Wow, I like them a lot” than it’s not gonna work. Keep a practical eye on things. If it’s right it’ll work out.

2. Listen to your head, not your heart (or other areas). It can be easy to mistake infatuation or chemistry for love. Just because someone is killer in bed or makes you laugh doesn’t mean it’s a love connection. Give it time. My boyfriend and I had a rocky start and he waited ten months to tell me he loved me. At first, I was offended, but later on, I realized that he was making sure he really and truly felt that way. It meant a lot more than someone saying it early on out of those butterfly feelings we all get at the start of the relationship. Use your head to look at the positive and negative side of all things. It can also work in the reverse: we can get hurt feelings but sometimes if we look at the practical side, it’s obvious that the other person is showing they care with their actions.

3. Know yourself! If you’re looking for something super serious, you should probably communicate that somehow. You don’t have to announce that you’re looking for marriage and babies on your first date, but you also don’t want to stay with someone who is looking for casual sex. Be aware of what you’re after, and don’t be afraid to move on if you’re not getting what you want.

4. If it ain’t broke…  If things are going well, why push? If you’re happy and they’re happy and you seem to be getting along, is there any reason to push things just for the sake of having a title? Dating should be fun. Enjoy! You’ll get that title soon enough.