Relationship Check Ins (AKA My Boyfriend’s Mild Panic Attack)
Look, I don’t know what the actual fuck the rest of you are doing out there in dating world, but it is effecting me and I think we’re going to have to have a talk. Yeah, I know this is a harsh tone, but I’ve had a rough night. I got grouped in with “women” tonight. I’m not looking for a debate on how that isn’t fair and how that is sexist. Truth be told men are often working from a stereotypical set of assumptions- but these stereotypes don’t appear out of thin air and if you are dating men who have been around the block a few times there’s a chance they’re gun shy for a reason.
The Theoretically Improving Your Relationship Part
A relationship check in is an amazing tool for managing the health of a relationship. It’s an opportunity to make sure that both partners are feeling good about where they are. That they are both happy, that their needs are being met, and that the status quo is working for them. If you are with a partner who tends to be a bit of an emotional mystery it’s a great way to give the hamster on the wheel a break by knowing what they’re actually thinking. The occasional check in gives everyone an opportunity to air grievances, share desires, and make sure that no one is going anywhere if anyone is feeling particularly insecure. All of this sounds great in theory, until a calm, logical woman introduces this into a relationship and her boyfriend has a mild panic attack because what the hell are other women doing out there?
My boyfriend is a very tall, powerfully built, dominant man. When I raised the question of how he was feeling in our relationship, of how it’s working for him and where he’s at, he shrank down in his chair and looked like an eight year old being scolded by his mother. He insisted that this conversation could only mean one thing: that I was looking for more commitment. This was deeply frustrating since we are in a committed monogamous relationship already and he knows I am not at present remotely aiming for a ring nor cohabitation…so what the hell did he think I wanted? Well, he wasn’t sure, but he was happy with the status quo, and women only ever brought this conversation up when they wanted more.
It took some work for me to reframe my own thoughts and explain that “I’m happy with the status quo” was actually an acceptable answer here. I’m happy and not going anywhere was my best case scenario answer.
I’d say I’m not here to tell you how to run your relationships, but the thing is that’s exactly why I’m here. This reaction on his part was based on a number of his personal experiences and anecdotal evidence from fellow males.
I am not saying you shouldn’t ever renegotiate your relationships from casual to more committed - but if you’re where I am in your relationship my following advice is absolutely important.
The bottom line is if a man wants to make a serious commitment he will let you know. It will not be ambiguous. You will not have to go hunting for this information. So stop it. If he has given you no indication that he wants something more serious ever, and you need that more than you need him in your life, you’re probably better off just leaving.
As useful as a relationship check in is, and I wholeheartedly believe in them, I suggest you avoid it if you have a skittish boyfriend like mine. My boyfriend is just going to have to get used to it though.