Dear Love Drive,
I'm currently "waiting" for a guy who's still learning how to fully commit to me.
We've been together for 2.5 years and I've felt this feeling of waiting for about 6 months; I can probably handle doing it for another 6 months. Then I'm done.
What's the best thing for me to do in the meantime?
I want to support him as longer term relationships are new territory for him.
Waiting Around, 27, W
Hey Waiting Around,
What Can You Do For You?
I love your question, because it's framed squarely in what can you do for yourself rather than what you can do to make your boyfriend commit, which we all know, is pretty much nothing at all.
Some might say you probably shouldn't wait and flush the guy right away. If he hasn't committed to you after 2.5 years, then what makes you think he'll commit in the next 6 months?
And, that's a great question. But not one we're here to answer today.
I'm not going to touch on men's fear of commitment issues, because it might make me question why I'm still single after so many years, and it's such a nice day out that it would be a shame to ruin it while ruminating about my potential fear of commitment. We'll leave that to my future therapy sessions, thank you very much.
Your question falls more in the category of self care and how to talk to your boyfriend about what commitment means to you.
You might not know this about me, but I'm a huge fan of self care.
I Don't Do Anything I Don't Want To Do
Several years ago I invited two friends to a birthday lunch. It was just going to be the three of us having pizza. At the last minute, one of my friends cancelled. When I called him to ask why, he said he wasn't in the mood. I pressed him a bit and tried to guilt trip him into coming. He stopped me and said,
"Shaun. I don't do anything I don't want to do."
I was hurt, and I thought he was being a huge asshole.
Until I realized that he was prioritizing himself over me, and that's a critical component of self care. It's a fine line between selfishness and self-care. He was demonstrating strong boundaries and I admire him for that now.
Instead of showing up to pizza regardless of his feelings and being resentful throughout lunch, he spoke up and established a boundary. I respect him so much for it now.
I have a feeling that you're already taking quite good care of yourself, solely based on the fact that you're asking this question. Keeping the focus on yourself shows a great deal of emotional maturity that most people lack in this type of situation.
Balancing Self Care While Supporting Your Partner
Honestly, I'm impressed.
If my partner wasn't showing the same level of commitment as I was, I'd be outta there at the first sign of commitment mismatch. But I'm black and white like that. I have a hard time with grey zones. Probably another reason I'm still single. The reasons are stacking up my friend!
I commend your desire to want to support your partner in his lack of experience with long term relationships. You sound like a sweet person, and you're showing more understanding than I probably would in your situation.
The question remains however, what's the best thing for you to do?
I'm not sure there is anything to do, other than to keep taking care of yourself, prioritizing your life and your happiness, and supporting your partner in his journey to finding out what it takes to fully commit to him.
Shape Up Or Ship Out
You should tell your partner what fully committing to you looks like. We're not mind readers and a little direction can go a long way in getting what you want.
Since your partner doesn't have much experience with longterm relationships, and it sounds like you do, you might want to share with him what fully committing to you looks like. There's no rule or guidelines for what commitment looks like, so tell him what you expect and see if he's willing to meet you there.
The great thing about relationships is that you make up the rules. If you're happy waiting six months for him to figure it out, great.
But consider telling him that he has about six months to figure it out or you're going to part ways. It sounds awfully like an ultimatum but it's really just a strong boundary about what you need in this relationship. And strong boundaries are a sign of self care and will prevent resentments down the road.
Good job, keep it up, and I'm rooting for you.