5 Ways To Navigate The Awkward Beginning Stages Of A Gen-Y Relationship

by Veronica Granja-Sierra

In today’s culture, it seems as if the ritual of officially asking a girl out has completely disappeared. Couples nowadays seem to traverse that initial stage of “talking,” but without formally agreeing when and how a relationship becomes official.

It’s a weird emotional playing field in which no one wants to overplay his or her hand and be left on the short side.

While both parties hold the power to heat up the budding romance with innuendos and flirtatious implications, the actions generally come with the afterthought notion of self-consciousness regarding whether or not something came about “too soon.” In this early stage, a single misstep could ruin everything.

Oftentimes, this stage can extend itself longer than necessary — months longer than necessary — as bother parties are scared that bringing up the “Where are we, what are we?” conversation may scare the other person away.

When it comes to an exclusive commitment, it should definitely be a mutual decision. Both parties should focus on appreciating each other and finding excitement in the journey ahead. If this stage is full of doubt and uncertainty and dull resentment, it may be a bad sign.

Truthfully, the most seamless way to move from the awkward pre-commitment stage and into the full-out exclusive stage is to wait. It’s tough to wait around; you're unsure if you’re getting played, whether or not he’s leading on other girls or if he really is as serious as you want him to be. The best thing to do is simply to let him know that you are the kind of girl to whom he should commit.

From the very beginning, guys analyze whether you have the long-term potential or if you are merely a fun-for-right-now kind of girl. So, be direct. Talk about your wants, needs and boundaries to ensure you’re on the same page.

But, be casual and speak in passing. Men do not want to lose their freedom. Just hearing words like "commitment," "girlfriend" and "relationship" can scare some men away. Knowing how to approach him is extremely important.

1. Make sure he is “boyfriend material” first.

Before you even dwell on that status of your relationship, decide if this guy is actually worth your time. If he disrespects you or treats you like an afterthought by lying or spending most of his time getting wasted at bars with his bros, you should probably think twice about him.

2. Give him space.

Don’t pressure a man — remain fun, calm, cool and collected and don’t allow the little things to rattle you. The type of woman that every guy is proud to introduce to his friends is a cool girl who isn’t clingy or needy. Acting like his mother and constantly checking up on him is not going to do the trick. Give him plenty of space and freedom to do his own thing. It’s important for both men and women to maintain independence and to have lives outside of their relationships.

3. Stay classy.

The new relationship norm seems to be hooking up before dating. Do not rush into having sex — it is extremely crucial to let him know from the very start that you won’t be a casual thing forever. If you do have sex, be cautious not to slip into being a mere booty call, or you may remain as one for quite some time — maybe forever to him.

4. Stay confident in yourself.

Self-esteem is the foundation for all good relationships. Having a healthy relationship with yourself makes it easier to cultivate relationships with another person. When you feel good about yourself, guys will feel good about being around you. Don’t be negative or act like you need constant approval from him. Be fun and sexy and secure about who you are. If he compliments you, thank him rather than disagreeing.

5. Do not bring up your relationship status — let him come to you.

In this in-between stage, a lot of curiosity will arise, leading you to question everything he does and says. While women are generally ready to get serious before men, it’s important to stay patient with him. If he’s the man you think he is, he will come to you.

Sometimes, we fail to see that every relationship follows a natural progression. As a relationship develops, we naturally move from one stage to another, and although some stages are more pleasant than others, they are all essential for moving forward.