Limbo…not the best place to be in a relationship, yet a lot of college students seem to live here. I see students hanging out with a certain person a lot so I start to assume they are in a relationship. However, when I ask many students about this person they’ll say something like, “Oh, we’re not together”. So, I’ll ask what is going on between them and I’ll get the answer, “I don’t know yet”.
If it were me, I would be frustrated not knowing where I stand. However, I see why a lot of students don’t push the issue. There is a fear of moving too fast and scaring the person away. Also, no one wants to bring up the awkward conversation about defining the relationship. Meanwhile, the two students continue to hang out with each other all the time and an intimacy develops.
What would you do if this person didn’t text you for a couple of days? Would you be upset? What if they started hanging out with someone else all of a sudden? If the answer is yes, than no matter what you say, you are entering the relationship zone. I understand the idea of keeping things casual for a while. You want to get to know the person better and see if an attraction continues to build.
Remember though, people who are in casual relationships don’t spend all their time together. They don’t text each other all the time or find time to hang out every day. People in casual relationships are taking things slow and may text a couple of times a day, they may skip a day and they certainly don’t see each other every day for a few hours at a time. If you are trying to keep things casual you could be sending the wrong message if you are constantly in contact with this person day after day. It can be easy to misinterpret what is going on if you say one thing, but your actions are saying another. It can make you start to over-analyze every move the other person makes in order to figure out what they are thinking or feeling.
I see people acting like they are in a relationship, but they feel if they don’t say the words than it won’t hurt if the person just falls off the face of the earth. Not true. If you spend a lot of time with just one person, feelings are going to develop. Remember that the heart and the mind are rarely on the same page. When you tell yourself you aren’t in a relationship it is easy to do little things that may be hurtful. Your mind may think since you aren’t technically in a relationship you don’t have to call or text if you change plans. Your mind tells you that you don’t “owe” this person anything. In fact, your mind may trick you into doing little things like that in order to keep believing that you aren’t becoming attached.
However, the heart isn’t buying it. You will feel hurt if the person stopped texting you all of a sudden, or after having lunch for 20 days in a row they decide to skip one day with no explanation. Your head says it’s no big deal, but the heart feels hurt anyway. This can make a person feel crazy because if they were in a relationship they would tell themselves they have a right to feel hurt. Since you tell yourself you aren’t in a relationship, you also tell yourself you shouldn’t feel hurt. Yet how can you control those feelings or make them go away? You can’t.
My whole point is this. If you want to keep it casual and not say you are in a relationship, watch how much time you are spending with someone. If you meet someone new, don’t start texting constantly and seeing each other every night. This will lead to intimacy and a build up of feelings. Which can cause you to feel very hurt if this doesn’t actually turn into a real relationship. If you aren’t sure you want to be in a relationship, keep some space between you and this new person. Treat them like an acquaintance who you talk to a few times and see maybe once or twice a week. This will keep things casual and there won’t be any need for over-analyzing or awkward conversations. If you start wanting to spend more time with this person and they seem to want the same thing, then suck it up and admit you are in a relationship!!