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

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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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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