If you're interested in taking your relationship to the next level -- whether it's dating exclusively, moving in together or getting engaged -- waiting for the situation to evolve on it's own might not do the trick. To progress in a relationship, you'll need to take a bold leap of faith and express your feelings honestly.
- Skill level:
Determine whether or not the feeling might be mutual. This isn't always a simple task, but your partner's actions will help you find the answer. If the woman you're dating still sees other guys, it might simply be that she doesn't know you'd like to be exclusive and is insecure about taking the lead. You could get the results you're looking for just by broaching the subject. On the other hand, if your long-time girlfriend has made it clear that she's not interested in moving in with you, you probably won't be successful at pursing your agenda. Listen to your heart and your gut; only you can know whether sharing your feelings is worth the emotional risk.
Accept that you may be rejected. Relationships are a two-way street, and your partner might not feel the same way that you do. Even in a long-term, committed relationship, two people can disagree about the direction they should take together, and the right timing for doing it. A rejection doesn't necessarily mean you're in a dead-end relationship, it just means you aren't going to get exactly what you want, exactly when you want it.
Express your feelings. Have a conversation with your partner and let him know how much he means to you. Explain all of the wonderful things he brings into your life and make it clear how valuable he is to you. Unless your boyfriend is aware of your true feelings, there is no way to be sure that you'll get an honest response from him about the direction you'd like to see your relationship take.
Ask for the commitment you're looking for. In relationships, change rarely occurs without one person acting as the leader. Sometimes, one partner isn't resisting the change, but simply needs an emotional nudge to move forward. Don't pressure your partner, but do ask for what you want as plainly as you possibly can.
Compromise with your partner, if it's appropriate. While she might not be willing to move into your apartment now, she might agree to reopen the discussion in a couple of months, or might agree to living together now, but only if you move into her house. Because a relationship takes two, it's impossible to have everything turn out exactly the way you want it to, but you might not mind your partner's perspective in the end.
Tips and warnings
- Stay true to yourself. A healthy relationship flourishes only when you're honest with your partner and ask for what you want.
- Playing manipulative games to incite guilt or jealousy never helps to move a relationship forward.
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