I’m Keeping One Foot Out Of My Relationship Until We’re Official

Gone are the days where I’d chase a guy until he relented and became my boyfriend. From now on, I’m keeping one foot out the door in my relationships until the dude I’m dating steps up and makes things official. If he doesn’t, I’m gone.

  1. I know that love is a chemical reaction that can blind me from the truth. The hormones that get pumped through your body when you’re in love can make you do crazy things. Love can cloud your judgment and make you think you’ve fallen head over heels for someone when you really don’t know them at all. This is why I like to keep a bit of distance, especially in the beginning phases of a relationship where there are too many unknowns. I try really hard not to get carried away by the bliss of new love because most of the time, it’s an illusion.
  2. Boundaries in relationships are a good thing. I used to think that if I ever told my partner that I needed some time and space, everything would crumble. That’s pretty extreme thinking and definitely not normal—healthy relationships respect boundaries without question. If a guy has an issue with my not being at his beck and call 24/7, he’s clearly not the one for me. Of course, there’s a thin line between maintaining your independence and not giving a damn, but I’m getting better at establishing that line the more I date.
  3. There’s no sense in wasting time and money on something that isn’t long-term. When I look back on all the time, money, and tears I wasted on relationships that were clearly going nowhere, I could scream. It’s really not worth doing this for a guy who’s not100% committed to me and vice versa. I shouldn’t plan to spend every major holiday with someone I’ve just started dating, I should make sure I save my time and money for myself before investing it in someone who’s clearly not all-in.
  4. I’m easily influenced by my partner’s emotions and that needs to stop. If my partner is upset, I’m upset; if he’s mad, I’m mad. It’s just the way I’m wired. It’s easy to put myself in other people’s shoes, which is why I get easily caught up in how my partner is feeling and then completely ignore my own emotions about things. This is yet another reason I need to take extra caution in establishing distance.
  5. I’ve made the mistake of assuming we’re official when we were far from it. I know what they say about people who assume, but sometimes the signs were so clear that I’d just think, yup, we’re a couple. It’s was only a few months later that it would hit me that we were as far from a couple as you could get. I’d rather take a step back, stay objective, and stop stressing so much about what we are all the time.
  6. I want him to decide for himself. I don’t want to be the one who forces a guy into calling me his girlfriend and locking things down;  I want him to actually want to do it; otherwise, what’s the point? If I wait and just keep my distance, he’ll have the time and space to actually decide what he wants out of it and I can be sure that we’re on the same page.
  7. I don’t want to feel like I’m chasing him around. The stress of not knowing where you stand can drive a person crazy, which is why I’d rather just sit back and let a guy come to me. I have enough crap to worry about; I don’t need to also concern myself with whether or not the guy I started dating actually likes me or is just bored. It’s better to keep one foot out the door. I’ll go all-in when he does.
  8. Rushing into relationships has never done me any favors. Just because a partnership feels right doesn’t mean it is, and it also doesn’t mean that those feelings are reciprocated. I’ve never once regretted taking a relationship too slow. I have, however, highly regretted forcing something that isn’t meant to be.
  9. I can keep my options open in the meantime. If I don’t get too intimate too fast, I can still date around, which is fun and gives me something else to focus on besides whether or not we’re official. I may not be serious about these other guys, but who cares? If anything, it might make the guy I really care about clearer about his feelings. If he likes me, he’ll want to make that official, right?
  10. I feel like most guys don’t like to commit unless it’s their idea. Unfortunately, it’s very rare that a girl asks a guy to commit and he’s all for it. I did that once and it ended in him getting majorly freaked out. He felt like his freedom was being taken away even though it was just an innocent suggestion. I’ve learned that it’s way better to sit back and let him decide when the time is right. That being said, if he keeps me hanging for too long, I won’t wait around. I’m a catch and I deserve a guy who knows it.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.