relationship advice for men

Is She Ready to Commit? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

 

iStock-629605642 copy.jpgShe might be interested, but is she willing to commit? To know for sure is a time-consuming process. Standing by until she’s ready or doing every little thing to change her mind will challenge your patience and sanity. Those loving feelings you have now can snowball into frustration and resentment if your partner’s intentions stay ambiguous. To avoid pursuing a woman who isn’t ready to commit, ask yourself the following questions:

 

  1. Is she emotionally available?

 

Intimacy begins with trust, and wounds of the past can make trusting someone new very difficult. If your partner struggles to communicate her feelings, she might be protecting herself from another heartbreak or letdown. If your partner constantly rehashes stories about her ex, she’s not ready to commit emotionally. As long as she fixates on the demons of her past, she’s still living among them. Over time, she’s more likely to let go of the anger or sadness, but as long as she’s processing, give her time. Your efforts to be her knight in shining armor are impressive, but they won’t be fully appreciated until she’s moved on from the past.  Keep in mind that this one is all about degree – though you don’t want write someone off too quickly, you should also move on if the wounds seem too fresh.

 

  1. Does she want you to be the best version of yourself?

 

Everyone has blind spots; does your partner take time to help you discover and improve the ones that are problematic? If so, she’s showing a willingness to invest in your well-being.

 

Maybe you’ve slipped back into workaholic tendencies. Maybe you’re struggling with aging parents. Whatever it is, it’s a problem you can solve together. You’ll notice her feedback doesn’t feel like criticism. Instead, she spends time figuring out the root cause of the problem in a calm, non-judgmental way. If she’s looking for the best long-term fit, she will want her partner at his best—even if it involves tough conversations.

 

  1. Does she make an effort with your family?

 

Everyone has a couple challenging relatives but, no matter how much we may wish otherwise, they’re still family. A woman who’s interested in a long-term relationship will take them as they are. She’ll let your overly political father vent, she will let your perpetually unemployed brother crash at your apartment, and she won’t hold it against you.

 

If the relationship is casual, she’ll avoid intertwining herself in your life. She might meet your friends, but family requires a different type of effort.

 

A woman who is ready to commit will do her best to make a solid impression. She will help your mom figure out FaceTime. She will spend 45 minutes talking to your dad about his fishing trip. She might have 100 more interesting ways to spend her time, but she wants to cultivate relationships with the people who’ve known you the longest. Because your family is an extension of you, she will make them a part of her life.

 

  1. Does she allude to a future?

 

If commitment is on her mind, she’ll start gauging your interest in future plans. Testing the waters about kids or marriage can be too forward, so listen for softer cues. She might want your thoughts on pet ownership or ask about your lease. If vacation days are numbered, she might ask about holiday plans well in advance.

 

If she’s trying to make long-term plans, she sees you in her future.

 

  1. Does she introduce you to friends?

 

Meeting the friend group is another way she will integrate you in her life. If you’re playing a bigger role in her life, she’ll want her leading ladies to know you. Watch for invites to group outings or impromptu meet ups where she’s already with a close friend. If she’s inviting you to high exposure events like company outings, family gatherings, weddings, she’s also publicly acknowledging that your relationship has legs.

 

  1. Does she want to impress your friends?

 

Just like family, your friends are an extension of you. Because these people are important to you, they are important to her. If she believes that you are the best long-term partner, she’ll want your friends to see her as your best match. Their opinion of her is not something she’ll take lightly. To make a good impression, she might make an extra effort to befriend a colleague’s wife or take initiative to plan a couples’ trip.

 

  1. Does she demonstrate willingness to compromise?

 

When the relationship shifts from an “I” to a “we”, your partner will make decisions differently. Because she’s focused on what’s best for the relationship, her needs are best met when both of you can come to an agreement, even if the outcome is not exactly what she had in mind. If she’s only looking for casual fun, there’s no reason for her compromise. Without a future, there’s no need to make sacrifices.

7 Ways to Nurture Your New Relationship

 

iStock-541824336 copy.jpgOne of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the opportunity to share life’s joys with someone else. Unfortunately, so much of us are conditioned to seek the things—and the people—either out of our reach, or that might seem to satiate what we see as the current shortcomings in a current relationship. It is easy to start believing the grass is greener instead of investing in what we have. To save time, we want to know who “checks all the boxes”, and are quick to nix a future with anyone who might not follow the image we had in mind. For these reasons and so many more, we unintentionally jeopardize and sabotage our relationships.

 

Strong relationships take work and self awareness. The strongest relationships are built on a firm foundation between two partners who share the same values. To nurture a new relationship or breathe some new life into the one you’re currently in, try the following:

 

  1. Foster dependability.

Can you count on your partner to do what he or she says they’ll do? Can you be relied upon in the same way? If you are unsure if your partner will have your back during the hard times, you might ask yourself, “what’s missing?” You or your partner might not be taking the relationship as seriously as it should be for long term viability.

 

Take your promises seriously and only say what you’re sure you can deliver. If for any reason you fall short, acknowledge your mistake. Try to anticipate your partner’s needs in advance, so you can practice dependability without expectations.

 

What it looks like: Knowing that his girlfriend had to get her oil changed, Paul offered to pick her up from the mechanic to spare her a long wait time. When he arrived to pick her up, he asked the mechanic about the flashing engine light and proceeded to fill her tires with air. Though his gesture was a simple one that took 15 minutes, his actions spoke volumes about his commitment and dependability.

 

  1. Honest communication.

Be honest with each other at all times — even if the consequences may somewhat hurt the other person. When your partner is communicating, listen with an open mind, without interruption, and notice the tone of their voice and facial expression. Not all conversation is verbalized; sometimes your partner will tell you everything you need to know without any words.

 

What it looks like: Annie knew it was ridiculous to feel jealous of her boyfriend’s attractive female coworker, so she kept this to herself. “Why bring drama into this? Obviously, they just work together,” she thought noting her own insecurity. When she learned that her boyfriend had an upcoming work trip with the attractive coworker, she started acting distant and passive aggressively. Finally, she fessed up. “I’m sorry to say, but I feel jealous and insecure.” When her boyfriend learned what was going on, he reassured Annie and suggested that she join for the next happy hour so she could meet all of his coworkers.

 

  1. Asking for emotional support.

Expressing vulnerability is the cornerstone of building an emotionally supportive and sound relationship. Talk to your partner about the things that scare you, that embarrass you, that challenge you. Talking about these uncomfortable things is not just an exercise in your communication skills, it is an opportunity to build trust.

 

  1. Fine tune the romantic intimacy.

As your communication skills improve and your relationship evolves, so will the way you express physical connection. If you refuse to communicate about what you want in the bedroom, be prepared to have a less than fulfilling love life. If you intend on staying in a monogamous relationship, give your partner a chance to satisfy your needs.

 

  1. Balance alone time with partnership.

The cure for trouble in a relationship is not always more face time. It’s important that both people feel they can take space when they need it and return to their partner without anger or resentment waiting at home. It’s important to honor the urges we have to be by ourselves, but realize the impact our absence can have on our partners. If you feel an urge to be alone, make it easier for yourself and your partner by letting him or her know in advance that you need some time. Some reassurance that your absence is not the result of anything he or she did will help a new partner understand your needs without confusion.

 

  1. Assess the way you fight.

In any serious relationship, disagreement is inevitable. Arguments will arise, and they may escalate into some heated conflict. If you find yourselves disagreeing often, ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this?” Sometimes the need to be right will stress the relationship in ways that are neither necessary or helpful. You will not be able to control your partner, but you can control the way you approach conflict.

 

What it looks like: A former client called crying after her boyfriend stormed out after an argument. “Every time we talk, I end up having to repeat myself, and finally I lost my mind and told him, “’You never listen to me and that’s why this relationship isn’t working.’” After calming down, the client realized that, when she lost her temper, she couldn’t acknowledge her boyfriend’s efforts to understand her. Instead of attacking his short comings, she started the conversation appreciating his efforts before moving into new ways they could improve the relationship together.

 

  1. Maintain your sense of self.

Do you lose yourself in a relationship? Establishing and maintaining your boundaries is necessary to keep your standards firm and your self respect intact. Letting a partner decide what you should and shouldn’t tolerate will lead to resentment from you and loss of respect from your partner. To compromise your personality to “fit” your relationship will ultimately ruin any chance at long-term sustainability.

 

These tips will help you nurture and build a strong, loving relationship, but they will only work their magic with consistent reinforcement. The effort and sacrifice will pay off, however, when you find yourself in a loving, sustainable relationship.