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Are you in a relationship? I’m not talking about the one where you are seeing someone but it’s not “official”. I’m also not talking about friends with benefits. I’m definitely not talking about your dating situation that has carried on for months with no commitment in sight. I am referring to an agreed upon, mutually exclusive, and healthy relationship. Either you are in a relationship, or you are not. It’s no more complicated than this.

I am not here to judge or tell you that the situation you may be in is right or wrong. If you aren’t in a relationship and both of you are happy with this arrangement, great! But if you are in a situation that is not a defined relationship and you are also not satisfied with this, then read on, because its time to think differently about your participation in this interaction.

Yes, I said your participation in this situation, not theirs.  

First, we are not defined by our relationship status. Having a significant other should not be our end goal for a life well lived. Movies, social media, music, and even well-intentioned relatives might say it differently, even throwing our single status in our face, questioning if we want to be single forever. This is not a post to remind you about your single status or to promote forcing a relationship. My hope for you is that when and if you want to be in a relationship that you are equipped with the confidence and knowledge to set yourself up in the best position to have your desires met, and enter the relationship gracefully.

Second, although I am not one to blame society for our personal challenges, dating, relationships, and societal expectations surrounding couples have changed a lot in the past decades. Long gone are the days of couples dating with the intent of marriage. Years have passed us by when couples dated exclusively for a relatively brief period of time and then the next logical step was a commitment relationship. Today, many people are “seeing each other” for years without any formal commitment, avoid marriage altogether, skip over the dating process, and find themselves stuck in “friends with benefits” arrangements that seem to last a lifetime. All of these scenarios have become more acceptable, even expected behaviors in today’s relationships. But is it?

So, what is the status of your situation? Are you single, dating, in a relationship, or married? We aren’t talking about the importance of titles here either, we are talking about the adult ability to commit to people and events in our lives. There is something to be said about a grown woman or man who is afraid of committing to anything in their life, or aspects of their life. As we leave childhood and enter adulthood, commitment is not just a skill but a life requirement. We must be able to commit to our families, careers, relationships, financial and spiritual stability, and of course simple things like signing a lease for your apartment. Commitment is hard for many people because it seems so permanent, requires accountability, and they fear the loss of freedom. In many ways, commitment may involve these things, but a genuine and healthy commitment allows us to continue to be ourselves with the added bonus of consistency with loved ones and important aspects in our lives.

What does hanging around in an uncommitted relationship say about you? I’m going to be blunt here: How high do you hold standards for yourself? Do you think that you are worth someone committing to you and not dragging their feet? How is your self-esteem? Do you need to take some time away from relationships and work on yourself? Do you enjoy the casual dating scene and really do not value commitment? Are you really not interested in a committed relationship? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but think about them, and more if they arise. Its time to realign your thoughts when it comes to your interactions and intimate relationships. Its time to get serious about how you experience these aspects of your life.

Life is too short to be uncertain about these things. 

At some point, we must take inventory of our lives and the roles of others. If you want a relationship, but are currently just passing time with someone, start to really consider if this is what you want. If it’s not what you want, then change it. Not ultimatum-style changing either, where you are attempting to force someone to make a choice about committing to you. NO, make a choice for yourself, about what is best for you and what you desire! While you are currently waiting for your special someone to finally commit, you could be missing out on valuable time to continue working on you and being more prepared for the special someone who will not delay or stagger their commitment to you. And you deserve this.

One more thing to consider. Sometimes we get comfortable with easy situations. Why rock the boat if you may already have a good thing going? Why risk losing someone because they aren’t “ready” for a commitment? Why enter a relationship, they are so hard to maintain?  As I previously mentioned, if you both agree that your situation is a good thing, great! But if one of you wants more (which is more common than you think), consider if the comfortable factor has become the fallback theme for your situation. And if this is the case, it’s really not comfortable, it lacks development and growth.

Are you in a relationship, or just passing time? How is this working out for you?