That’s What He Said: To Wait or Not To Wait for Your Mate

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So, you and your boo are happy all loved up and being a great couple doing coupley things and what not. But, you say, you’ve been at this a while now. Like, a long while. Too long to really ignore it anymore, or pretend it’s any kind of comfortable. Of this you are painfully aware.

(Kinda like you’ve been waiting for a new post, huh? My b, ladies. My b. Hate to leave you hanging like that.)

Maybe there’s been a conversation where it seems you guys aren’t on the same page. You, so on top of your life that you are, are willing to move this glorious thing forward, while he’s happy where it’s at. In fact, he’s made no mention of any near future movement. His long-term goals—if he has any—take place at least a decade out (we get it, sir. You don’t have limitedly stocked ovaries to contend with. Kudos.) and vaguely include some of the dreams you had hoped to shared with him.

Welcome to love limbo. A partnership purgatory, if you will. Your significant-other standstill.

This is a fairly common problem, one that goes back to one of my personal fave topics: Timing.

So, what’s a savvy, smart, self-aware sista to do?

Most knee-jerk reactions of advice come in the form of sassy one-liners.

“Don’t wait around for any man, girlfriend!”

“You deserve someone who knows he wants you without a doubt!”

“Does he KNOW how lucky he is?! He should be the one bending over backwards to keep you around."

“Bounce, woman. Bounce.”

You know, things of this nature.

The thing is, it may not always be a matter of him not knowing that he wants you. He may very well know that he wants you, but he also knows what he doesn’t want right now—and that trumps all.

I have girlfriends who’re with men who blatantly declare they aren’t the relationship type and yet act more like the best boyfriend evah than anyone else they’ve dated in years. They then have to decide, is this enough for me? And, if not, how long will I wait to see if he comes around?

I know people that have dated for 10 years before getting married, I’m assuming mostly because they were toddlers (read: 20 years old) when they got together. Things look a helluva lot different at 30 and beyond. (Oh, hello, Solid Sense of Self—I was wondering when you’d show up.) Had she thrown in the towel, she would have missed out on marrying the love of her life.

It’s not always so black and white.

So, how do you know what’s right for you?

To help us determine whether or not to wait, I’ve asked two of my most eligible bachelor friends and one newly in-love, formerly eligible friend to give us the low down on why your hunk may be hesitating.

The Good Guy: This is a tough question to answer without knowing the reason that the guy is giving for not wanting to commit. So I'll give some general thoughts with my own personal experience. I'd advise a girl that, if she has been dating a guy for a significant amount of time (more than just a couple weeks), has been intimate with him (but not on the first or second date), and the relationship has all the appearances of an exclusive one, but he doesn't want to commit, that she shouldn't get her hopes up about him ever really changing his mind. There have been two instances where I was willing to throw in my "players card" and commit. In each instance I knew pretty early on that I would be willing to do it. That's not to say that there haven't been other girls who I would have not had a problem spending a good amount of time with, but there was something there that wouldn't allow me to make it official. In today's society, we have so many options that it's tough to ever think you've reached as high as you're ever going to get. I think a lot of guys have to fall out of love with reaching for how high they can go picking up girls on social media, charity events, etc., before they will appreciate a real woman with whom they can be in a committed relationship.

Our token relationship-minded resource: I think this is a somewhat difficult question to answer mainly because of the time and society that we live in today. Most relationships today aren't started with men courting women and taking them on dates and getting to know each other. For the most part, when you ask a couple how long they have been dating, you'll usually hear something along the lines of, "Technically 2 years, but we've been messing around for a year or so beforehand.” Considering we live in a society in which relationships are categorized by "Talking" or "Messing Around" or "Hooking Up" instead of a concrete definitive label, it allows a level of complacency in which both parties (mainly the man to a certain extent) don't worry about the next level until an issue arises and when it does, it's usually the woman taking the leap of faith to initiate that conversation. In order to avoid this situation, be proactive instead of reactive. A man that drags his feet from day one of a relationship even if it’s just messing around will probably continue to drag his feet. For example, my sister’s been with her babies’ father since she was 16 and she's about to be 30. They have 2 kids. No marriage and the occasional use of a title.

[#sadface]

The Obligatory Manwhore (who is also obnoxiously charming) weigh-in: How long should you wait around for a guy to be ready to move the relationship forward? You shouldn't wait. There is a reason why he isn't ready to move forward and pushing men usually doesn't work. I recently had a girl say she didn't want to participate in the "casual" space most of my relationships exist. She simply told me, "I realized I was not a priority and wanted to back out of the situation." And now who do you think I text more than she texts me? Her, because she was mature about it and respected herself. While I'm not any more ready than I was before, she has earned my respect, which is a great first step.

Welp. Guess that’s pretty black. Or white.

My advice? I tend to agree with the dudes above. But since emotions are tricky and sticky and sometimes you're invested. If you've explained your needs to your man and you feel the need to wait, give yourself a hard deadline. Three weeks, three months, three years, whatever you're willing to put up with. Then, if you don't get what you need by then, move on to the next. As soon as you step away, the right thing will find you.