If they’re not ready for a relationship, should you wait?
Relationships are all about timing. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a position where you want to level up, but your partner isn’t ready. They may have strong feelings for you, care deeply about you, and potentially see a future with you, but they’re not ready for the serious commitment you desire. So what does it really mean when someone isn’t ready for a relationship? Well the answer depends on your situation, but it is normal for some people to take longer than others.
Each romantic relationship goes through its own stages. Love is not the same for two couples (which is great news if you don’t want your ex to repeat). Because each individual has their own process for determining their commitment desires, the future of any relationship may have different opportunities. It all depends on where you came from in the past and what you want for your future. Should we wait? We consulted with experts Jeremy Nicholson, MSW, Ph.D., Linda Bloom, LCSW and Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. to learn more about some key points to consider before making your decision.
Meet the expert
- Jeremy Nicholson, MSW, Ph.D. is a Doctor of Social / Personality Psychology, specializing in relationship dynamics.
- Linda Bloom, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in relationships.
- Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who focuses on treating men and women with midlife developmental issues, including an interest in emotional development.
Read on for expert advice, as well as some pros and cons, when waiting for someone to be ready for a relationship.
The benefits of waiting for your partner to be ready
While it can be difficult, there could definitely be some benefits to waiting until your partner is ready for a relationship.
Waiting lets your partner see how much you care
Your partner might need more time to decide if they’re ready to make a serious commitment. Maybe they just got out of a long-term relationship, or they just aren’t moving as fast as you are. By giving your partner time to make their decision, you are not only respecting their wishes, but also showing them that it is worth the wait.
When you support your partner through the process, it allows them to see how much you care about their needs and respect their needs. Nicholson suggests asking a few questions to determine if one should settle down. “Is this the right time for you to have a serious relationship? Is your date or your sweetheart ready for a long-term monogamous commitment? Such considerations can impact both orientation and the quality of your future relationship together, ”says Nicholson. .
The wait is hard, but for the right person, the result can be worth it. Give your partner enough time to get to know you and show that you are as serious as you say you are.
Make sure your partner knows they are in a safe space to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Communication is the key.
Waiting allows you to connect more deeply
A longer build-up can also lead to a stronger bond down the road: both parties have fully weighed their options, and when they do engage, they are free from reservations or doubts. When you give your partner more time to seriously engage, you set the stage for a more meaningful connection with each other.
Bloom adds that healthy engagement requires a process of building and cultivation. “The ease of being firmly bonded is an asset not only for our relationship but also for our life in general.… The higher level of trust gives us peace of mind.”
Waiting can help solidify your partner’s decision, but more importantly, it creates a healthier dynamic for lasting relationships. In fact, rather than rushing into a major engagement, doing it slowly creates a connection that you both will strive to maintain.
The cons of waiting for your partner to be ready
Waiting for your partner to be ready can certainly have some downsides. Deciding whether the pros outweigh the cons will be helpful in deciding whether to stay and wait or not.
Waiting can be emotionally draining
On the other hand, if you’re worried that your partner is afraid of commitment, it’s important to keep your emotional health and well-being in mind. You may feel stressed, anxious, or dissatisfied that your partner is not investing as much as you are. Waiting for someone who doesn’t want a relationship at all could put you at risk in the future.
When you feel stuck in the middle, take the time to consider whether this person is really worth the wait or if you are just there to see the result. If you aren’t completely convinced that they are the best match for you, the stress of not knowing may not outweigh the rewards.
Waiting can make you unavailable to others
It is also important to consider that waiting for your partner might prevent you from suing other people. If they’re emotionally unavailable, they might not be able to provide you with the commitment and support you’re looking for.
Keep a few considerations in mind: Does this person really demonstrate what it takes to build a lasting partnership with you? Or are you in love with the idea of being together? If the latter is the case, you might be better off breaking up to find new relationships that can meet your desires.
“When a person feels less ready to commit to a relationship, they are less likely to act in a way that supports their stamina and a positive, lasting connection,” adds LaBier. If that person isn’t (and doesn’t intend to be) “the only one,” you might be preventing yourself from finding what you really want. Make sure you don’t close the door on meaningful opportunities with someone else.
When a person feels less ready to commit to a relationship, they are less likely to act in a way that supports their stamina and a positive, lasting connection.
Waiting can go on forever
If your partner is not ready for a serious engagement, it is important to discuss your desires with them so that the waiting period does not last indefinitely. Nicholson suggests that when you are considering forming an engaged couple, it may be more helpful to decide if you are actually acting like one.
“If you are currently in any relationship, it may also be important to consider how you actually behave towards each other. In general, people who are willing to commit tend to behave more. open to their partner and that improves the relationship, ”says Nicholson.
Even though you might think that your partner only needs a short time to make up their minds, you might end up waiting months, or even longer, if you haven’t discussed your position.
Should you wait for your partner?
Once you’ve factored in those points when you’re unsure of your partner, it’s time to look internally to make your choice.
Are you able to wait for that person to decide what they want, even if it means being in a constant state of limbo? If you can’t imagine a future without them, then it might be fair to give them the time they need. Just be careful to think of yourself and make sure that the relationship you build can lead to a healthy partnership (rather than a dynamic where your needs are ignored).
Be sure to communicate your own deadlines for the relationship: your happiness matters too.