As we continue to grow in our lives, so do our relationships — unless you find yourself in an “almost” one. Confusing and hurtful, this specific type of situation happens when two people go through the motions of being together — without discussing (or verifying) if they actually are.
While relationships take time to develop, the issue with “almost” relationships is that they don’t seem to develop at all. Are you two exclusive? Does he care if you invite him to a family event? Will she think it’s weird if you call just to talk? If this thought process sounds all too familiar, you probably know that these questions collect in your head as quickly as the dread in your stomach when you realize you aren’t sure of the answers.
Despite the months (or years) of these blurry lines and gray areas, the one thing that’s clear is that you have no idea where the relationship is going — and he or she seems to have no intention to talk about it any time soon. Although we realize that every relationship is different, here are five signs you’re in an “almost” relationship and what to do in order to create a life you deserve — while also spending it with someone who deserves you.
1. You overthink texts
To put emojis or to not — that should never be the question (especially when it comes to texting someone who you’re supposed to be comfortable with). Yet in a society where talking on-screen can sometimes be even more stressful than interacting in person, we’ve all experienced the pressure of wanting to send that perfect text to that special someone.
However, if the process of texting your partner is a never-ending cycle of sending screenshots to your group chat for help and reading over your text thread for reassurance, this may be a sign to take a step back. Maybe you feel obligated to prove how witty you are (because hello, it’s true) or maybe you’re paranoid that what you said will scare him or her away — regardless, you should try and discover the underlying issue and also recognize that texts aren’t a big deal. If a person leaves because of what you send, the reality is that they were going to leave anyway. Before you panic, remind yourself that a relationship that is moving forward implies that texting him or her should comfort you instead of consume you.
2. You vent to him or her (and then feel the need to apologize for it)
Whether it was the stressful argument you had with your sister or the rejection email you received from your latest interview, your first response was to tell your partner — and your afterthought was to apologize and dwell on why you shouldn’t have. Blame it on not wanting to sound dramatic or not wanting to feel vulnerable, but there’s a reason why you’re hesitating to be transparent with your partner. So the next time you feel sorry for opening up, be honest with yourself on why you don’t feel comfortable sharing who you are and what upsets you. Whether the reason is because of how you feel about the relationship or because of how private you are as a person, you’ll have clarity in the situation and guidance on what to do from there.
3. You don’t know what (or where) the boundaries are
Behind every type of relationship is a form of a commitment — and the main problem with an “almost” relationship is that you either don’t know if the commitment exists or are unsure of what level it exists on. With this being said, it’s understandable to feel confused on how to act towards potential relationships when you’re not sure what to make of the one you’re currently in.
Can you flirt back with that cute bartender? Would it be considered dishonest if you still swiped right? Although these questions sound simple enough, they become equally as complicated when you’re looking for black and white answers in a relationship that’s full of gray. Our suggestion? Ask. Sure, it sounds terrifying — but so does the reality of not knowing what the answer is. In the end, boundaries shape relationships and you have the right to understand where you stand in yours.
4. You only know surface details about his or her life
Although you might have your partner’s zodiac sign memorized (because how else would you check your compatibility?), you feel clueless when it comes to anything deeper than knowing his or her favorite coffee shop to visit on a Saturday morning. While you can’t expect someone to share his or her entire life story with you in one sitting, another sign of an “almost” relationship is when you realize that what you happen to know about your partner has more to do with the details of his day and less to do with the things that matter in his life.
If you’ve tried asking open-ended questions and seem to still be struggling to dive into more meaningful conversations with your partner, it may be time figure out why. Remember — successful relationships come in many forms, but being able to communicate is the key to all of them.
5. You’re scared to talk about the relationship
The truth is that your gut feeling will be there for you even if others aren’t — so listen to it. While the dreaded “what are we?” talk is one that most people don’t look forward to, there’s a difference between not wanting to mention it because it’s too early in the relationship – and not wanting to mention it because it’s too late (and you know it’ll be a complete disaster).
Due to the fact that an “almost” relationship is based off everything but a future, a person who isn’t committed to you won’t want anything to do with a conversation dedicated to it – and that’s not your fault. You owe yourself more than a relationship that you’re scared to define — so don’t hold back from asking the questions that linger in your mind, because a person who wants a future with you will be willing to work for one. In the end, the things that are good for you will be found and the people who are right for you won’t be forced.