I don't think you can put an expiration date on a label-free relationship or even a milestone like a 'Seven Year Itch' or 'DTR90' (define the relationship at 90 days). Each relationship occurs at a different rate. There are many variables: coming out of a long term relationship, just got divorced, deciding to focus on career or kids or even loss a spouse to death, etc. As well, new relationships accelerate at different speeds. If you spend a lot of time with someone or take your time and see them very little in the beginning, it sets the pace to get to a defining point.
I think there are more important factors other than time that should create the defining moment:
- When the four letter word ‘love’ is first uttered from either person’s lips things change.
- If you are having sex with more than one partner it is important to have ‘the talk’.
- If there are kids in the mix the conversation might need to take place sooner since it concerns more than just the two of you.
- If you are looking for a serious relationship even before the two of you meet it is a good idea to make sure you are on the same page.
- If you know that fun is the main goal and the last thing you want or have time for is a relationship, speak up.
Even though these top the list of reasons to define your relationship with or without a cliché filled timeline, there are those that have no interest in definitions. Unfortunately these are usually due to hidden reasons:
- They are seeing someone else and don’t want to commit to one person, or will choose one over the other when the time comes.
- It could be complicated and when you have yet to find closure and the idea of a new beginning is too much to handle.
- They are overprotective of their heart due to past hurt whether it was recent or the result of many attempts leading to bitterness and disappointment.
- Sometimes there is the tendency to believe the grass is always greener and have expectations too high.
- They might be in it for the chase and when you fully give in they no longer find it enough to hold their interest.
No matter how, when or if you define a relationship there is a natural instinct to have security by knowing where you stand. Actions do not always tell us what we what to know. You can mislead others or be misled by actions and even words. However, at some point communication on a need to know basis is imperative to sustain a healthy relationship. At some point 'in or out' is important so you can get on with your life either together or separately.
by Trey Mitchell