- Getting into a new relationship can be difficult when you and your partner aren’t on the same timeline.
- INSIDER spoke with a relationship expert to find out what to do when your partner isn’t ready for a relationship.
- You should be open with your partner about what you want, and be ready to compromise.
Sometimes the worst thing at the start of a new relationship you’re enjoying is when they tell you they’re not ready for anything serious. While it often feels like an excuse to keep from committing, there are ways to work with your partner to figure out what works best for both of you.
INSIDER spoke with relationship expert and columnist April Masini about what to do when your partner wants to take things slower than you had in mind.
If you want something more than your partner is up for, don’t torture yourself.
Masini said, “If you’re living on a timeline with a ticking clock that is getting louder, you have to date smart. If you’re choosing someone who’s not on the same timeline you are, move on.”
If this sounds too hard, remember that the situation of dating someone on a different page than you is also hard.
“This is hard for many people because they don’t want to accept their own realities. But living with anxiety because you want one thing and your partner wants another, and it’s a deal breaker (or is becoming one), is way worse,” she added.
Let your partner know what you want
When figuring out where things are going, it’s best to remember to communicate.
Masini said, “Your partner may not know what you want. You may think it’s obvious, but it may not be. Don’t leave fate to chance. Talk. Don’t point fingers. Don’t blame. Be frank.”
“Long-term relationships require negotiations. Ask your partner what they want, and what they think you want. And sometimes, your partner may want the same thing you do, but wasn’t communicating it well. Miscommunication over the long run is tragic. Don’t fall victim to it,” she added.
Be open to compromising
If you and your partner want to keep seeing each other, there is probably a way to make it work for both of you.
Masini shared, “I’m not a fan of ultimatums, but I’m a huge believer in making deals within a relationship. Long-term relationships work because both people want different things and they respect each other and each others’ desires. They meet in the middle, or the give here and take there.”
She added that making deals in relationships is what can make a relationship last.
Give yourself a margin of time to make a decision
Depending on what your partner wants, take some time to figure out your next move.
Masini said, “Give yourself six months or three months or one month, whatever works for you, to figure out whether you would rather stay in a casual relationship with this person, or move on to find a commitment on lock with someone else.”
Don’t rush into making a decision just because you feel like you should.
“Anxiety over these issues happen when people feel pressed for time. If you make a plan and are articulate with yourself about it, you’ll be more likely to make a smart decision,” she added.
Make sure your desires for the relationship are reasonable because everyone has their own timeline. It’s also important that you respect your timeline might be different than theirs.
Masini said, “Someone you’re dating may want a commitment, but they need six months or a year before they’re willing to commit to anyone. This is their timeline.”
Take every factor into account
Did your partner just get out of a long-term relationship? Are they going through something that’s caused them to decide they want to take things slow? Is work really piling up for them?
Masini recommends you make sure you’re remembering that there are other factors to take into consideration, that may make your relationship better in the long run if you choose to remain casual for a while.
Ask your “people”
Masini said, “Ask … the ones you trust, whether they’re best friends or family members, if you’re on the right track or losing it.
Everyone might have a different opinion but they can all help you come to a clear-headed decision about whether the relationship could work in the future.
“If you push someone who wants a commitment, but needs a certain amount of time, you’ll blow things up. Ask your friends to help you get a reality check,” she added.
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