When you’re confident in what you bring to a relationship, you won’t feel desperate for a man to claim you as his girlfriend. You’ll also be selective about who you even pursue a relationship with. As you date, you’ll initiate taking things slow so you can really get to know a guy before investing in him. Because, rightly so, a relationship has to be a mutual investment; it can’t work if it’s one-sided.
Dating is supposed to be fun. But, it should be fun in the sense that it lifts your spirits and makes you happy. “Fun” shouldn’t be confused with the reckless abandonment of your standards. But, that’s usually the dilemma single women face. There is a difference between letting the guy take the lead in pursuing you and letting him define the relationship on his terms.
We all have a deep desire to be wanted, but you should have enough self-worth that you don’t need to be wanted by just anyone. Instead, you should only care to be wanted by someone who sees your value, respects you, and sees a future with you.
Whether it’s weeks, months, or years into an unlabeled relationship, if you’re distraught over what you actually are, here are 3 basic qualities your relationship should have.
1. Continuous Effort
Truly, when it’s a good fit, you won’t find yourself confused about what’s going on. A relationship should just naturally progress. If you see a future with him but you’re not sure that he’s on the same page, don’t be afraid to ask. If he has said that he isn’t looking for anything serious or if he hasn’t mentioned what he wants at all, now is the time to step back.
If he isn’t making a continuous effort to develop the relationship, don’t wait around making excuses for him.
There’s no problem with taking a leap of faith by going out with someone - you won’t know unless you try. However, it’s important that you walk away early when you recognize you both want different things. You seeking a more serious relationship, and him wanting something casual isn’t a point for compromise. If your relationship feels unstable, trust your gut.
One of the easiest red flags to identify is when a guy isn’t giving you a sense of continuous effort. Ask yourself, who is doing all the work? Call it old fashioned, but it’s okay to let a man pursue you. Be honest with yourself, isn’t that what you really want? Don’t believe the lie that there aren’t good guys still out there who want to pursue you.
Of course, no one should have to do all the work, but if you find yourself being the only one making an effort here, it’s time to give it a rest. The reality is, if a man wants to be with you, he will find a way to be with you. If he isn’t making a continuous effort to develop the relationship, don’t wait around making excuses for him. Take initiative by having the confidence to not allow anyone to string you along.
Duh! Is he seeing anyone else?! No, you’re not crazy for wanting clarity. If you’re investing in someone who seems to be talking to a lot of girls, still hanging out on dating sites, and leaving his options open, then guard your heart.
Picture those horse racing games at a carnival. You and this guy are sitting side by side, both thumbs pressed on the water gun triggers. You’re really going for it, you're laser-focused on hitting the target. You see your horse moving closer and closer to the finish line. Feeling proud of yourself, you look over at him but his horse is so far behind. You didn’t notice until now that he hasn’t been as determined as you to hit the target. He’s just having a good time. This is when you need to ease up, relax, and remember that you’re not in this race alone.
If a guy is falling in love with you, you won’t have to twist his arm to be exclusive.
When it comes to a relationship, you can’t win by yourself and you definitely don’t want to drag someone across the finish line. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, is this someone you even want a relationship with? Someone who has you confused about his feelings for you? Don’t let yourself get so distracted with trying to win over his heart, that you forget how equally important it is for him to be vying for yours.
Stop investing in any guy who can’t commit to you. If you’ve been waiting for a providential sign to break it off, here it is! If a guy can’t decide if being single is better than being with you, he’s absolutely, without a doubt, not the right person. Again, this goes back to having confidence - demand more than being someone’s friend with benefits. Love requires total commitment. If a guy is falling in love with you, you won’t have to twist his arm to be exclusive.
3. Public Knowledge
Look, if his friends don’t know about you, it isn’t a solid relationship to him. This doesn’t mean you should be freaking out that he’s not posting pictures of you on social media, but it should be a red flag if you feel hidden. If it's a relationship he’s serious about, he will naturally want people to know.
It should be a red flag if you feel hidden.
Actually meeting friends and family comes with time, not pressure, but at the very least it should be public knowledge that he’s dating you. If you’re eagerly telling people about him but he’s not doing the same, then you aren’t on the same page. Not only should you have confidence in what you bring to the relationship, but so should he. Don’t you want to be with a man who is proud to call you his?
There’s a reason why people say, “when you know, you know.” Relationships shouldn’t be this confusing. The bottom line is whatever you want to call your current situation, if it lacks continuous effort, exclusivity, and isn’t public knowledge, then it isn’t a relationship. It’s time to move on, put the past in the past, and learn to be more confident by only dating men who are worth your investment.