My Six-Month Rule: How Long Is Too Long To Be Unofficial When Dating?
It’s good to be friends first. Most would agree that this is one of the keys to a healthy relationship; but someone should have also put a time cap on the ‘friend zone.’ While it is usually recommended to take your time to get to know the person you potentially want to be with, is there such a thing as getting to know them too long before making a commitment? Basically, how long is too long to be unofficial?
Love has no time limit. Some people fall in love much quicker than others; but I’m close to believing that if it takes you more than six months to decide what you want from a person, the connection just isn’t there. Sure, taking it slow is the responsible thing to do; but taking it too slow is usually a waste of someone’s time.
The rule is: if one person wants a relationship and the other hasn’t decided what they want, there should be a time limit on how long you should be tied up in the dating zone.
Because I know women and men are different when it comes to…well just about everything, I asked three guys how long it usually takes for them to decide if they want a commitment. Surprisingly, their answers were similar to mine. They all agreed that if they are consistently (keyword: consistently), dating someone for about six to eight months, that next step should be coming soon. If not, there is usually a problem.
Every situation is different, but I’ve never dated someone consistently for a year and it ended in a relationship. To me, this time spent meant that either we had gotten comfortable just dating and were subconsciously tied to just that, or simply put, maybe he just wasn’t into me.
Whatever the reason, one thing was clear: we were not going to be together. If it hadn’t happened in 365 days, what made me think that on day 366, my year-long wish would be granted?
Situations like this one influenced my decision to develop my own six-month rule. If I am spending a lot of time around a man and we are ‘playing couple’ without a commitment, I’ve decided that after six months, playtime is over. This is usually because one of us wants more than what the other is willing to give.
Just like any situation with the opposite sex, there are exceptions to the rule, because there is no one-size-fits-all set of rules for every relationship; but being unofficial for too long while one person wants more is usually a situation destined for disaster. Someone’s feelings will end up hurt if it drags on too long. I’ve chosen to be proactive and make every attempt to prevent those crushed feelings from being my own. And even on the flipside, I don’t want to be that girl that makes a man despise all women because I’ve played tic-tac-toe with his emotions.
Of course, being official or unofficial are just words, and ultimately titles don’t make relationships…but commitments do. So if a man can’t figure out if he wants to officially commit to me after months of serious dating, I choose to believe he won’t decide by me lingering around “playing” girlfriend for too long.
Many times, we can save ourselves the heartache by knowing simply when it’s time to exit a situation. Maybe your time limit is longer than six months. Or for my no-nonsense girls, maybe you give a man three months to decide. However long you decide to stick around without a commitment, just remember that you could be preventing yourself from finding that person who does want you ‘officially.’