There’s a very distinct relationship stage where other people start asking: When are you two getting married? At this point, you might be the lone wolf hoping for a definitive decision. Your partner’s desire (or lack thereof) to pop The Question or say yes to yours can be a relationship deal-breaker, and navigating the discussion is often an ordeal, especially for highly sensitive people. Dee Wagner, an author and therapist, recommends four ways to cope when you and your S.O. are on different ends of the commitment spectrum.
1. Pay attention to your “kid feelings.” If you find yourself thinking, “It’s not fair!” or, “You never do this!” or, “You always do that!” then you’re having very normal “kid feelings,” which are stirred up by a lack of control over your relationship. When you notice you’re reacting like this, Dee recommends that you take a step back and resist the urge to manipulate your partner into feeling a certain way.
2. Remember it’s not your fault. Dee says that more often than not a lack of commitment is rooted in a fear of intimacy. “Intimate relationships stir up anxiety,” she explains. “One way some people stay away from the potential anxiety of intimacy is a lack of commitment.”
3. Accept that you can’t control your partner. Although you can’t truly or directly force your S.O. to share your desire to tie the knot, you can give them space to make the realization. “If a dog were afraid of people, we would stay back and give the dog space,” Dee offers. “The less pressure, the more relaxation the dog begins to feel.”
4. Check in with yourself. While backing down (at least for now) can relieve the pressure from your partner, be true to who you are and what you want. If being patient and working with your S.O. isn’t cutting it for you, use your self-awareness to guide your next steps.
Navigating the waters of commitment, especially when it comes to marriage, can be tricky and testing. However, if you hold fast to what you want and keep in mind that you can’t control your partner’s priorities, you’ll be free to make the decisions that are best for you.
How have you dealt with a partner afraid of commitment? Let us know @BritandCo!
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