Is there ever a right time to ask your partner where your relationship is headed?
By: Ashley Berges
In relationships, uncertainty is inevitable, and most of us want the confidence of knowing where something is headed. Both women and men ask me at what point it is ok to ask this question. We pack so much into the four words: “Where is this going?” that we’re terrified of our partner’s response and terrified of looking like we care too much.
Any time we open ourselves up to another person and tell them our secrets or become intimate with them, we make ourselves vulnerable (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Falling for someone, in a sense, can feel like the lights have been shut off. Instead of relying on our pragmatism and instinct, we have to feel our way through the dark and hope that the other person is standing there when things become illuminated.
Some of us do this too soon. We become sidetracked and love the feeling of love. So we rush into a relationship and end up feeling out of control. We need answers. We need to know that the romance, hours of phone calls, and dinner dates aren’t going away.
Recently, a client told me that she met an incredible man. They spent three weeks together non-stop and she was sure that she loved him. It was very fast, but she was happy and wanted things to continue. But then, a work trip took her out of town and when she returned, he seemed distant and almost cold. After days of worrying, they met up at the Old Monk and he told her that he needed time and space. Often, the faster a relationship begins, the quicker it can fall apart.
Instead, if we take the time to establish a true connection, we’re able to talk and understand one another. Even when you’ve cultivated a relationship, if you both aren’t truly communicating you may not know where you stand. When the lines of communication are fuzzy, we feel we need clarity and that’s when this question comes into play.
So where is all of this headed? My question to you would be: Why do you feel you need to ask this question in the first place? It seems to me that we should have a say in the relationship as well. When we realize we count and that we haven’t rushed into anything, we innately know where we stand.
A year ago, a client came to my office and told me she had been with the same man for 10 years and she wanted to get married but didn’t know what to do. I asked her if she had discussed this with her boyfriend. She told me she was holding off. I reminded her she’s been dating him for a decade. I then asked her why she was with him, she wanted to get married, have children, and knew if she was to start over again she may run out of time to have children. After our second meeting, she met with him and told him what she wanted.
If you have to ask the question, there are a few factors to consider. First, how do you honestly feel about the relationship? If you want to take this relationship to the next level then it’s time to understand why you don’t know what the other person wants. Have you been listening? Have you been picking up on actions and mannerisms? If you’ve been listening and paying attention and you still don’t know where they stand, then it’s time to speak up, but look within for answers first. If you’re feeling overly confused, you may need to step back and evaluate the situation. Did you rush into things, do you feel scattered and worried? If so, communication is crucial and critical to your situation.
Ashley Berges is a Dallas-based life coach, family therapist, and syndicated radio talk show host of Perspectives with Ashley Berges, which can be heard on 570 AM KLIF and 660AM KKSY. She has written three books; her most recent is The 10-Day Challenge to Live Your True Life. Visit her website at www.ashleyberges.com.
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