The dating world is a confusing place. It begins all fun and happy with the mushy texts, Snapchats and late-night phone calls. Maybe you’ve met up to hang out a few times, or have even gone out on a couple of dates. Suddenly, you’re falling hard for your crush, wondering when you’ll finally be ready to DTR. While you’re lost in the feels, however, your crush isn’t giving off the same vibe. Don’t freak! We’ve rounded up a few collegiettes who want to share their experiences in the dating world, and how to deal with the c-word: commitment.
1. Be upfront
Being upfront in a relationship can be scary, but it can also pay off in the long run. Danielle*, a junior at Elmhurst College, says, “You should definitely be upfront and ask your crush questions such as ‘If we were to start a relationship, would you be committed?’”
There’s a saying that goes along the lines of “if you never ask, the answer is always no.” While relationships are rarely ever as simple as a yes or no answer, you’ll never truly know if your crush is looking for a committed relationship or just a hook-up if you never ask. If you’re looking for commitment, asking from the get-go could save you some heartbreak in the future if you and your crush aren’t on the same page.
Along with asking questions, it’s important to be vocal about your concerns within the relationship. If you’re concerned about the direction your relationship is headed and whether or not it’s just a fling, being open and honest about these feelings will help ensure that you both are on the same page. Tessa McKenna, a junior at Carthage College, values the importance of voicing concerns. “Bringing your concerns up to your significant other is okay! As long as it’s in a calm, healthy manner,” she says. Commitment can be a delicate subject, but approaching the issue in the right way can make all the difference.
2. Don’t force anything
At the same time, you want to make sure you’re not forcing anything. While it might be difficult to deal with the intense feelings and want for a relationship, it’s important to be sure that you’re not making the other person feel pressured into committing to something they don’t want or maybe aren’t ready for. “The best thing to do is to not force anything,” says Tessa. “Relationships are natural and develop over time.” Rather than trying your hardest to make the commitment happen, it may be better for both you and the person you’re interested in to relax and go with the flow of your relationship, and allow the nature of it to take its course.
If your crush is intimidated by the thought of commitment and you want to prevent them from feeling pressured, the situation may call for a little space. Alice Higginbotham, a junior at Northern Illinois University, offers some insight on why space can be good. “Maybe they just need time to themselves to figure out who they are and what they want,” she says. “Give them the space they need, but if you know they’re afraid of commitment and you really have feelings for them, let them know it’s not a bad thing.” While giving them some time to themselves will allow them to figure out more about who they are and what they want, reminding them that commitment doesn’t have to be scary can help reassure them and calm any anxiety they might have.
3. Keep in mind that everyone is different
Understand that not everyone moves at the same pace. “It’s important to realize that everyone is created extremely different — we are all unique and go through things differently,” Tessa says. Maybe your crush was not treated well in the past, which led to trust issues and fear of committing. Maybe they want to take things slow, or just don’t want to get hurt. “Not everyone can have the same level of commitment as you due to their past or their personality.”
Ultimately, understanding why your crush is uncomfortable with commitment and respecting their feelings can help you both move forward at a speed you can agree on. “Keep the communication easy and flowing and respect that they might move differently than you,” Tessa adds. Communication is key!
4. Ask yourself the big questions
It’s not only important to ask your crush the right questions in regards to what they want in a relationship, but it’s also important to ask yourself what you want as well. “If you are trying to be with someone that’s afraid of commitment, then it is important to ask yourself if it’s worth it to you to put in the extra work,” Tessa says. “If the answer is yes, then it’s crucial to understand that everyone moves at their own pace.” Giving your crush the right amount of space and time to figure out what they want is not easy, but if the effort is worth it to you, you’ll make it work.
5. Remember that time is key
Just as communication is key, time is just as huge. “Time is key — there is always room for change and growth,” Tessa says. After being vocal about what you’re looking for and taking the time to understand your crush’s needs, only time will tell if the relationship is meant to be or if the commitment is just not there.
Commitment can cause a rollercoaster of emotions, and although they might leave you dizzy from the ride, taking the right approach and understanding what you and your crush need specifically will make the rest smooth sailing. At the end of the day, understanding and respecting each other is the most important, whether the commitment is ready to be made or not.
*Name has been changed