How much time do we allow to pass before cutting our losses where a love interest is concerned? How long is too long? Well, if things haven’t progressed to the stage of actual dating by the time three months have passed, it is probably unlikely to ever do so. And when I say dating, I don’t mean the occasional, casual meet-up, or sex sessions… I am talking about quality time spent in quality activities, and consistent, regular communication. Three months should definitely be long enough for us to be able to get a realistic sense of who our POI really is, and what they are about – as long as we have been in ongoing communication with them, that is; a few texts and the odd phone here and there call isn’t going to reveal anything of worth, apart from the fact that they aren’t really that into you (in which case you already have your answer!).
Online dating? 2 months is enough…
If you have met your love interest online, then meeting up is something that needs to happen within a maximum of two months (in most cases, at least). Things dragging on much beyond that point isn’t a good sign, no matter how cozy and intimate the phone chat has become. It is too easy in the modern age of technology to become stuck in a limbo state where online dating is concerned, caught in a frustrating, going-nowhere trap. Obviously, if your POI lives at the opposite end of the country or in a different part of the world, it is naturally going to complicate things… and you will need to be realistic about the actual practicalities. If he can’t afford to travel to be with you on a consistent basis, then it is unlikely to develop into a genuine, committed relationship. And you might consider being the one to do the travelling… but, how often and for how long? Yes, you could say, “well, one of us could relocate to be with the other”… but how smart would that be if you hadn’t had the time and opportunity to get to know each other well enough to be able to make that decision?
Giving a man more time doesn’t generally work. If he hasn’t taken things to the next level within three months, a further three months isn’t likely to change anything. It could be that he needs an extra nudge, in which case you could calmly and lovingly ask him what his intentions toward your relationship are, explain your own, and let him know that if he isn’t interested in taking it forward then you will move on so that you can meet someone who is. This isn’t something you should do within days or a handful of weeks of connecting; this conversation should only take place between, say, two and a half and three months from the point of meeting, and only if you have been in regular, consistent contact, in an emotionally intimate way.
He is likely to do one of three things:
1) Deflect attention away from the question, and/or tell you to slow down and just see how things go.
2) Tell you that he doesn’t want to/can’t offer you anything more at this moment in time – or ever.
3) Realise that he doesn’t want to lose you and respond accordingly.
If his response is number 1, he is telling you that he has no intention of committing to you.
If his response is number 2, believe him and accept it. Women have a habit of imagining that they can change a guy’s mind, where a romantic relationship is concerned!
If his response is number 3, great… you have moved to the next level (but that doesn’t mean you should start planning the wedding just yet!).
There is one more possibility: he says that he doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship with you, and backs off – only to suddenly get in touch within weeks or months, saying, or hinting, that he has changed his mind. Don’t immediately go jumping for joy… experience has taught me that this is not a situation that generally ends in domestic bliss! If you want to give it a chance, do so but with your eyes and mind wide open… and set a time limit on it. And, if there is a lengthy gap between him announcing that he doesn’t want to get into a committed relationship with you and changing his mind – of two months or more – say, “thanks but no thanks!” and walk away. I promise you, the more time that has passed the further apart you will have grown… and the more wild oats he will have sown! His reason for getting back in touch could be because he is bored and at a loose end, and remembers having some good times (and maybe sex!) with you and fancies a bit more of that; or, he believes that you will be so pleased to hear from him you will automatically fall at his feet and welcome him with open arms… in other words, a bit of an ego boost.
If you are serious about finding a compatible partner with whom you can develop a relationship that has long-term potential, you have to be willing to adopt the most productive approach, and firmly take the reins of your less than helpful emotions! At the love interest stage, you may believe that if you just show enough love to a guy he will eventually realise that you are ‘the one’ – and sadly, you’d probably be wrong. You may also believe that if you just hang on for long enough he will realise that he does love you after all, and really wants to commit to you… and again, you’d probably be wrong. But you aren’t going to keep putting yourself through that – you have a goal, you have a plan, and you are in control of how you respond and how you behave… and as for the guy who is dragging his heels or rejecting a relationship with you… he isn’t the only bloke on the planet! You may say, “but Leanne, I don’t get to meet many men!” – and I’d respond with, “well change something, then! Pee or get off the pot… because we can’t have our cake and eat it (love those cliches)!