Knowing where you stand

You’ve made it to the crossroads, the complicated junction, where to go now? How fast to cross?

So many questions, thoughts and perceptions that it can all become a little overwhelming and confusing.  Knowing where you stand with someone you seek a romantic relationship with can feel, at times, unclear. People worry about moving too fast, not fast enough, ‘Do I like them more than they like me? Do I like them enough to label this? What if I tell them how I really feel, and I lose them?’. The one thing that’s certain is that almost everyone’s felt this way at some point in time.

The progression of a romantic relationship fails to change over time; it doesn’t matter if it’s the first romantic connection you’ve ever had, or you’re a mature dater, at some point in time everyone asks ‘Where do I stand in this new-found connection?’.

This is because people’s emotions don’t always develop in the same way or at the same speed as those of the individual they’re dating, and this can be for any number of reasons.  Some people experience intense feelings early on in relationships, whereas others may take time to reach deep connections.  A person’s relationship role models, their previous relationship history and their current emotional state, as well as a wide variety of other reasons, can greatly impact how quickly they commit to a relationship and how they approach the topic of ‘making it official’.  

Instead of focusing on what you think should happen or conjuring up a plan to ask the hotly-anticipated question, the real question should be ‘Does it feel right to progress this relationship?’ - whether it be that you’re already invested in the other person or you’re still at the point where you see potential, it should be about how that person makes you feel and less about the societal or personal pressure of enforcing a relationship on someone. Of course, clear communication is key, but you should also pay attention to the actions of your partner, as quite often we can gauge a person’s true thoughts and feelings through their non-verbal behaviour.

Heed your gut feeling and approach the subject when you’re comfortable you want the relationship to move forward, understanding that your potential partner might not be at the same stage as you, but this doesn’t have to mean the end of things. Giving that person the space and time to grow into their feelings will demonstrate your emotional intelligence and result in a relationship truly wanted by both parties. Naturally there’s a fine line between giving someone the time they need to reach the same emotional stage, and waiting around for someone whose feelings will never catch up. Unfortunately, you cannot ascertain which it’ll be until that point arrives - not even the person you’re waiting for knows - but being honest with one another gives your potential relationship a chance. However, in the famous words of Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, so keep your hearts open and your feelings honest and you’ll know where you stand, whether that be in a flourishing relationship or knowing it’s time to move forward in your search for the ‘One’.