Getting Past Commitment Phobia

When you're dating someone, there comes a time when one of you starts to talk about your "relationship." That key word is your wakeup call - then you know you can't keep viewing your time together as simply "dating." When it comes to that point, how do you tell if you should stay or go?

Resist the Urge to Run
Some people tend to have the urge to run when things start getting serious. Maybe you haven't wanted to think about your emotions and are just enjoying being with her and getting closer. Maybe you're a bit afraid you won't live up to her expectations. Maybe you're not sure she's the one for you. Whatever. . . . Just don't have a knee-jerk reaction to the "relationship" status. Give it some time and think things through before heading for the hills.

Don't Hold on Too Tight
When you're willing to call it a relationship or call her your girlfriend, try to understand that she might possibly have her own commitment phobia. Yes, really! Girls have it too. So don't pull her too close too soon. Let her know how you feel without pressuring her to feel the same. And don't act like you've been together forever just because you think that's how you want to end up. Let things develop at a natural pace and let her come to terms with her own feelings just as you are coming to terms with yours.

Allow for Imperfection
Even if both of you are feeling like the relationship is a good thing, that doesn't mean that you're totally in sync or have everything in common. Recognize that you won't agree on everything. For a relationship to work out, you'll have to work through challenges and differing viewpoints. Don't give up just because she's not fitting your view of the perfect woman. Communicate about your issues and collaborate on solutions. Then you'll be able to tell if the bond will get stronger or start to unravel.

Is she a keeper? Work at getting past those bumps when they pop up and you'll find out. But also follow your gut instincts - if you feel strongly that you can't envision yourself with her in five years, then maybe it is time to cut your losses and go when she starts talking "relationship."

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