There's no secret formula for getting someone to commit — I'll try to figure that out in another blog. But if you're hoping to have more "relationships" instead of "casual dating" in 2010, here are some pointers to get you where you want to go:
You might be heading into a serious relationship without even knowing it. It's tough to know it if you don't talk about it, or say how you feel. Of course, this kind of conversation should be strategic and well-timed. But if you both continue dating without acknowledging verbally that things are getting deeper and more intense, you're just treading water. Make sure you both are on the same page; this is a key component to taking the next step from dating to relationship.
Don't Take the Best One for Granted
We all know that good boyfriends/girlfriends are not a dime a dozen. But that doesn't stop us from taking a good one for granted sometimes, or wondering if there is someone else out there. Remember how hard it is to find someone special, and you'll feel lucky every day. If you take someone for granted, they might turn into the one that got away.
Step Up Your Effort
Committed relationships are not easy. There's an element of a natural fit, but all relationships require work. The main reason I'm so bad at committing is because I'm lazy. No room for laziness if you're going to be in a serious relationship. You have to be ready for things to get more intense, and accept the responsibility of a serious relationship.
Stop Seeing Other People
There are many reasons for seeing other people: keeping your options open, protecting yourself from getting in too deep, etc. But if you're going to be in a committed relationship, you obviously can't see other people. Time to break off any other little side projects.
Don't Second-Guess Yourself
It's easy to doubt your feelings every now and then, but you have to limit the second-guessing so it doesn't limit your relationship. Sure, it's tough to know if you really like someone, but a lot of times it's all in your head and you talk yourself into and out of things instead of just going with your gut.
Remember You Deserve It
I run into the problem that, because of my Italian-Catholic guilt, my crisis thinking, and my overanalysis of everything, I don't deserve it when good things happen to me. Or, I figure that once something good happens, then a bunch of bad things have to happen to offset the good thing. Chances are, you're not as insane as I am, so remember you do deserve a great relationship.
Take a Risk
When you decide to be in a serious relationship, it feels like you're taking a leap off a cliff (and maybe you are). Every relationship involves an element of risk, and you have to go for it once you decide to do it.
See It as a Beginning, Not an Ending
Men look at that "plunge" as the end of single life, the end of freedom, and the last gasp of immaturity. But we should learn to see a commitment as a beginning instead of an ending. It's the beginning of a new life, and a more meaningful relationship with a person you care deeply for.
Recognize the Signs
Make sure you acknowledge when something feels different in a good way. I tend to gloss over good things, or miss signals. Don't ignore it, go with it.
If you get into a serious relationship, it's time to stop one-night stands, stop getting wasted so much, and stop going everywhere in groups with your friends. Priorities and time budgeting certainly change once you're in a relationship.
Do you agree or disagree with my list above? What adjustments and strategies do you think are useful to go from a "dater" to more of a "relationship" person?
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