She Doesn’t Want to Label Our Relationship. Should I Wait?

Dr. Wendy Walsh Dr. Wendy Walsh • 9/25/14

Reader Question:

I have been dating this woman for 11 months and we consider each other VERY good friends. She does not want to put a title on our relationship. We do have sex and we do tell each other “I love you.” We are physically in a relationship, but mentally we are two single beings. I couldn’t ask to be dating a better person — my soul mate.

Should I wait and see what happens, or should I begin to explore other possibilities?

-Franklin (New York)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Franklin: I’m glad you’re here to show people that staying in undefined relationships is not limited to one gender or another. There are as many men living in relationship limbo as women.

I have three bits of advice for you, the first of which is mainly intended for our readers, because it’s unfortunately too late for you. The conversation about relationship definition should happen BEFORE the onset of sexual activity.

First, sex can be a passionate turning point in a relationship if words of love and commitment are expressed in advance. When sex happens too early, it more often evokes apologies and regrets.

Secondly, at this stage of your relationship, this is an opportunity to grow closer emotionally and discuss her fears of becoming a public couple. You might get to know much more about her interior self.

But by the sounds of your email,  I wonder if your concern about living in relationship limbo for too long is an acknowledgement that your lives are not combining.

People enter long-term relationships because they can accomplish so much more when they combine skills, finances, intelligences and biology (to create children).

If it feels like her hesitance to commit is linked to a desire to keep an exit door open, I would call her on it. Demand a commitment. And be prepared to look for a real partner if that is what you desire.

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