Casual, Exclusive, Committed…or What? Why Is It All So Confusing….

Relationships can be wonderful and amazing to be in.  That is why millions of people are out there searching to fall in love.  However, they can also be complicated and difficult to find.

On the journey to finding love, many are finding that there is so much confusion about what type of relationship they actually have. This can result in heartache and pain. 

I have thought long and hard about this.  It seems that: communication issues, faulty assumptions, and dating apps all seem to be contributing factors to why this is the case.

Communication and faulty assumptions

Take two people, for instance, who have just started dating and are texting all of the time and seeing each other at least once or twice a week.  They both seem really excited to see each other and have a lot of physical chemistry and get along well.  At this point, while neither may have actually brought up a conversation about their relationship, one person may think they are both no longer dating other people; can’t even imagine wanting to because things between them are going so well.  The other person, however, may be out there pursuing several other people and have no idea that the other person thinks otherwise. 

Likewise, two other similar people who are dating may actually discuss and agree that they will only have sex with one another, and one person walks away thinking they have a relationship where they are only having sex with and dating each other while the other person thinks that they are only having sex with one another but continues to date other people.

I hear all of the time that people who are dating find themselves in situations where they both see their relationship completely different.  They recall agreeing to have different levels of commitment to one another, oftentimes resulting in very hurt feelings and emotions for both people. 

For instance, if a couple has a conversation where they agree they are “exclusive” and are not having sex with anyone else, then one person may think they are also not dating anyone else.  The other person may think they are still dating other people, however.  The person who believes that they are exclusively dating and having sex with only each other is bound to get hurt if they find out that their partner went out on a date with someone else or is still active on dating sites.  However, their partner will most likely feel justified in continuing to date. 

It is very disheartening and confusing for many to have to be so specific in conversations with their partners about the parameters of their relationships.

Women, in particular, seem to be so scared to bring up the “talk” about where their relationship stands.  They seem to fear doing so will make their partner feel suffocated and scare them off.  All they want is to communicate what they want in their relationship and clarify if that is also what their partner wants.  Yet, many avoid bringing it up, waiting for their partner to.  They will go on assuming that because of such things as how much time they spend together or how long they have been together that neither are dating or having sex with anyone else.

However, by not bringing up the topic, they subject themselves to being in relationships for far too long that can unfortunately result in much hurt and pain.

Dating apps

For all of the benefits the internet and dating apps have allowed in terms of helping people connect and meet up that otherwise might not have, I do believe that they have also contributed to some of the relationship and dating confusion that is occurring. 

There are just way too many apps out there that give the perception that at any given moment in time, there are endless available options of people to meet and date.  Why limit oneself to dating only one person when there might just be someone better out there?  What if there is someone better out there and by dating just one person, you miss the opportunity to have met “the right one”?  Why not keep all options open “just in case”?  There is this definite fear of missing out (FOMO) that is contributing to people not being able to be in relationships with just one person with whom they are having sex and dating. 

Furthermore, all of this is contributing to there being such low tolerance for working through problems or issues in relationships.

If there is a hint that there might be a problem or struggle, nobody wants to go through the trouble of working on it when they can just end it and move onto something fresh and new that has no problems.  Or, there is this notion that there is this “perfect” person out there if they keep looking, so if the person they are dating doesn’t “quite” have everything they want, then they so easily discard them and aren’t willing to compromise or understand that there is no “perfect” person out there that will have “it all”.

So now what?

Well, I bring this up so that perhaps if you find yourself struggling to find a happy, healthy relationship, then you can ask yourself if you are doing any of the above.  If so, perhaps you can start to change some things around.  Can you work on better communication?  Have more clarity?  Stop making assumptions?  Work through minor issues with people to see if a relationship can move forward?  Focus on dating one person at a time instead of continually dating many? 

If you are not finding the relationship success you want, just ask yourself if you could try doing something different to find success.  Just something to think about.