5 Ways You Can Be Happy Dating Without Rushing to More
posted on October 29, 2018 | by Becky Bush
Last Thanksgiving, it felt like every conversation with family contained the question, “when are you and your boyfriend [insert serious relationship next step here]”? At 26, we had been dating for two years and were happier than ever. Yet, it seemed like at every social event, there was pressure to jump forward to a stage of adulthood that I simply wasn’t ready for.
After more questions than I could count, I found myself in a mental tug of war. I know there are so many awkward aspects of your mid-twenties and this was just one of them. Instead of sacrificing my happiness, I figured out how to be happy dating in the moment – without running towards the next step. And I wanted to share those today.
(Don’t worry mom, you’ll still have grandkids!)
Figure out what YOU and your partner want
No matter how many relatives ask you about your future, your relationship is still between you and your partner. If you haven’t already, it never hurts to understand what your S.O. wants out a relationship (and the next few years) so you can ensure your on the same page. More importantly, don’t be scared to vocalize what you want.
So often, couples are scared to have this conversation for fear of discovering something they don’t like. As hard as it can be, the sooner you can be on the same page in your relationship. The sooner you can focus on being happy in the moment (and feel more confident pushing back on these future-focused questions)! Here’s an amazing post on communicating with your partner if you want ideas on how to start the conversation.
Understand that there is no normal
It’s possible that where you live or your cultural environment can reflect what others’ might think is a normal timeline for relationship ‘next steps’. Understand that the second we step out of the bubble we’re undoubtedly in, the normal changes.
Normal is relative to our surroundings. In San Francisco, where I live now, everyone gets married so much later on. In North Carolina (where I grew up), I feel like all of my friends are already settled!
There is no normal when it comes to relationships and IMO, there shouldn’t be. We should all be encouraged to follow our own path that will bring us the most happiness. We deserve it, don’t you think so?
When I started being bombarded with questions, I didn’t answer confidently. Instead,
I felt unsure and in hindsight, I was inviting others to try and sway my opinions of when I should be taking a next step.
Once you and your S.O. are able to come to a decision about what both of you want – you can answer confidently and share with your friends and family your timeline. Hopefully, they’ll be happy for you because they know it’s what you want!
Know that there is always going to be a ‘next’ step
Regardless of whether or not you just got married or just started dating, there is always going to be a next step for someone to ask about. Go on a first date? Someone will ask when the second is. Just get married? The questions about kids are just around the corner.
It’s unrealistic to think that everyone around you will know your personal timeline. You don’t want to look back on this time of your life and think that you ran through it like a speeding car.
You will end up being happier if you focus on the right now – it’s the only moment you have!
Live in the moment
When people say ‘time is fleeting,’ they weren’t kidding! I’ve spent so much of my twenties thinking about the future (in my relationships and other aspects of my life). For the first time, I’m making a concerted effort to just be happy right here, right now. It’s not easy to be OK with waiting in a word full of Postmates and Amazon Prime.
External pressures and questions from family never helped this tendency of mine. What helped me was to remind myself how happy I was with this exact moment – and focus on living in the moment. There’s no reason to rush when the current moment is so great.
Being OK with dating and not rushing to take the next step is not easy. How do you approach figuring out the next step in your relationship? Comment and tell us below!