When is a good time to ask if he wants a relationship?
I’ve been dating someone for about a month now, and I’m wondering when is the right time to have the relationship talk? I want to know where this is going for him, because I don’t want to keep seeing him if he’s not looking to turn this into a commitment. On the other hand I don’t want to scare him away by coming across as too needy or serious, especially if he’s still trying to decide. Or maybe he does already see this as a relationship, but he hasn’t formally said so yet. I don’t know. It’s confusing!
We get together a couple times a week and text almost every day. He’s sweet and fun to be with, and we take turns paying when we go out. We started being intimate after our third date, but aren’t super affectionate in public. I’m still unsure if that’s because it’s just how he is, or what.
Should I bring up that I want a relationship? Or just see if he decides this is what he’s looking for and brings up the topic of exclusivity first?
When it comes to starting any relationship (whether it’s romantic, a work relationship, or even friendships) my advice is to always start off by modeling the tone you’re looking for long term – which should be open and honest.
People shouldn’t be put off by your willingness to be upfront about your desires and intentions from the get go, and by being transparent about who you are and what you want from life you’re more likely to get exactly what you seek much faster. People who aren’t on the same page as you move on, while those who share your values and appreciate your traits stay and become part of your growth.
This is important to remember when you’re out there looking for the love of your life. I often say fear is the most expensive emotion you’ll ever have, and when it comes to dating one of the big costs of fear is the time you’ll lose. If you’re too afraid to speak your mind you end up staying in the wrong situations far too long, and you’ll miss opportunities to find someone who’s on the same page as you.
A first date is the ideal time to have the conversation regarding where this is going, especially if the chemistry is there, you see long term potential, and want to see if this can develop into a committed relationship. Think that’s too early? Consider this: do you know if you were just looking to fool around, or if you were dating to find a long term partner yet? Well, so does he.
We all go through phases in life when it comes to relationships. Sometimes we just want some no-strings-attached fun, and sometimes we’re past that phase and are looking for someone to settle down with, buy a home with, and start a family with. Those are two distinct and very different mindsets, but when it comes to looking for someone to share either of those our behaviours look very much the same. Meet someone we’d like to get together with, and see if it works out.
But the burning question is, are they on the same page? My question to you is, why guess?
To answer your question, have the conversation the next time you see him. If you “scare him away” ask yourself what exactly did you scare off? Someone who wasn’t looking for the type of relationship you were? Someone who didn’t feel he found enough compatible traits and values to pursue anything more serious than a casual fling? If that’s the case, aren’t you better off not being tied down to this guy, so you can find a man who’s looking towards the future the same way you are and sees you in his plans?
Don’t think that more time will equal a deeper commitment, because what you might not know is he’s already made up his mind regarding what extent he’s willing to commit. Don’t think you know what’s going on in his head unless you directly ask. Assuming if often how we end up spinning in relationships that go nowhere because guys who are just looking for something casual will avoid bringing up the topic of commitment, hoping they can keep the sex coming for as long as possible. They know the moment you’re certain he’s not going to lean in for the long term you’ll start thinking exit strategy, and he’ll have to get to work finding his next fling again. I call this “the hoping game”, where you’ll hope the time, energy, and expense you invest will pay off and turn this guy into the committed man you’re looking for.
But if he’s already made up his mind about what you mean to him, it’s best to find out sooner rather than later. Remember, knowledge is power. Know what’s on his mind, so you have the power to make decisions that are right for you.
Going forward, have the conversation within the first couple of dates, and definitely have it before kissing. Why before kissing? Because for most of us women kissing is very bonding, and if we’re not clear about who this guy is and what he wants it can create a lot of confusion.
The rush of chemicals released when we kiss imitate drugs like Meth and Ecstasy in our brains, and we feel so warm and fuzzy and excited it’s hard to separate these induced feelings from reality. Are you falling for this guy because you know enough about him to really be falling for your shared values and his amazing personality? Or are you being swept along by your body’s flush of warm tingling happy biological responses to touch?
If you haven’t taken the time to get to know each other before that first kiss takes place and haven’t straight up asked where he is in his life and what he’s looking for, no wonder you’re confused. And confusion sucks, doesn’t it? It can absolutely paralyze you, because you’re afraid that one step in the wrong direction can blow over the delicate house of cards you’re describing to me.
So start your dates off on the right foot. Lay out your desires without demanding he meet them. You’re just letting him know what you’re looking for, and giving him the freedom to choose whether he wants to figure this out with you. If he’s looking for something serious he’ll appreciate meeting a woman who’s honest about herself, and if he’s not he’ll move on and leave you free to find a man who’s already on the same page.
So how do you have that conversation? Simple. Here’s your script:
“I really like you! You’re fun to be with, so funny and attractive, and I love how easy it is to talk with you. I’d love to see where this goes! I want you to know, I’m not looking for just a fling, I feel it’s the right time in my life to find that long term relationship. Eventually I want to (get married, buy a house, have babies, whatever you see for yourself long term) and I’m looking for someone who’s looking for the same things. It’s too early to tell if that would work out for us, obviously! But I don’t want to waste any more time, and I don’t want to kiss someone I don’t know and find out we’re not looking for the same things. If you’re just looking for something casual that’s okay, it’s good for me to know that right away, before I get attached. I’m just not there at this point.
If you’re for something long term I’d love to see how things go with us before we have our first kiss. This way we can figure out if we’re even compatible before confusing it with kissing. I think three months is the perfect amount of time for us to see how we get along, and if we still want to kiss on this date (three months after your first date) then we’ll have our first kiss!”
What this conversation does is tie your behaviours with your intent. Listen, if all you want is fun with no intent for a long term relationship then by all means go have fun! I seriously have absolutely nothing against that. But if what you want is a committed relationship and you’re wondering if this might be the one, then not kissing for three months means guys who say they want commitment but really don’t move on, while men who are looking for a relationship will appreciate the time you give them to gain clarity too.
Yes, they’ll protest. “I can’t wait three months for a kiss!” they’ll say. So let them know, they don’t have to! But you’re waiting to know someone before kissing them, because you don’t want to make mistakes and waste time on people who ultimately aren’t going in the same direction you are.
Actions are what show true intention, not words. So if your actions say “I’m not playing around” and he stays, his actions are clearly showing HIS intent. And this is how you avoid confusion when it comes to dating.
Chantal Heide is an Author and Motivational Speaker, focusing on dating and relationships. Her books Comeback Queen, Fake Love Need Not Apply, No More Assholes, After The First Kiss, and Fix That Shit are available on Amazon. View her BOOKS page for more information. Be sure to sign up for her mailing list to be eligible for free giveaways.