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Moving Beyond a Talkingship

When you're serious about finding a partner and aiming for a genuine connection, the dating experience can be frustrating. With numerous choices and a multitude of great experiences, it ultimately boils down to two individuals who are willing to commit and support each other. However, finding such a connection and co-creating a fulfilling relationship can often feel impossible. Frequently, individuals encounter a situation where they meet someone special, yet they question whether they hold the same significance for that person or if they are merely being used to avoid loneliness. While this person enjoys receiving your morning texts, going on dates, and spending time with you, the relationship never progresses beyond that point.

I have worked with clients who believed that by remaining faithful and committed to their partner, they could somehow win them over or encourage their partner to desire more. The problem with this line of thinking is that people are not motivated to change if they are given everything they want. Always being available to provide a shoulder to cry on or a safe place to stay if they face housing issues may seem like loving actions. However, if someone is using you to avoid facing reality, they will likely remain stagnant. They will cease making efforts to improve themselves, avoid being transparent about their feelings, and neglect putting in the effort to impress you.

Let's face it, if a relationship continues for over a month without any progress towards making it real, it's time to take a step back. People generally dislike being held accountable, and your actions will make it harder for them to use you as a support system when you're seeking a genuine relationship. Here are some suggestions you can start implementing to either encourage your partner's commitment or create distance between you two.

  1. Stop exerting excessive effort to please them. Instead, be authentic and avoid rushing to their aid or constantly praising them. Speak the truth, and if they don't appreciate it, let them learn to cope with it rather than expecting you to save them.

  2. Refrain from giving yourself away if you are not their priority. It's crucial that their actions align with their words. Talk is cheap and easy, so if they genuinely care about you, they should prioritize spending time with you, making plans, and investing equal effort into the relationship.

  3. Clear signs of care should be apparent. You shouldn't have to search for hidden meanings or question whether this person truly cares about you. People tend to express their feelings openly and honestly. If you feel strongly about them, but they don't reciprocate, it's time to walk away. Waiting for them to catch up to your emotions only enables their passive behavior, locking the relationship into a mere exchange of words rather than a genuine commitment.

  4. Advocate for yourself. Building healthy trust in a relationship involves both partners feeling that their opinions and feelings matter. By expressing your needs and desires instead of merely going along with everything, you reduce the chances of being stuck in the friend zone or an unfulfilling relationship where one partner relies on the support of the other. If the person you're dating cannot handle the truth and only wants to hang out to avoid being alone, being in a relationship with them would be a miserable endeavor. Spare yourself that burden and end it.

  5. Value yourself enough to walk away. If you find yourself trapped in a stagnant relationship where you're constantly providing emotional support without any progress, it may be because you feel you deserve it or underestimate your ability to find a partner who is equally committed. Address these feelings before entering the dating scene to avoid getting stuck in talkingships. Practice advocating for your needs and goals in life. The more you commit to what you want by setting goals and actively working towards them, the higher the chances of meeting like-minded individuals who desire and value a genuine relationship.

Dating has become more complicated and has undergone significant changes. However, one aspect that remains unchanged is the ability to discern whether someone is willing to commit to a relationship. Usually, you can determine this within four to six weeks after the first date. If you don't observe any signs of commitment, you have two choices: either walk away now to meet new people or risk remaining in the friend zone.


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