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What happens if only one of the two people in a relationship perceives it to be...

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newkirk7 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted July 22, 2013 at 11:46 AM via web

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What happens if only one of the two people in a relationship perceives it to be "ongoing" and how do they avoid the consequences of this perception?

if 2 individuals share a perception that they have an ongoing relationship what happens if only one perceives this to be true and how do they avoid the consequences

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM (Answer #1)

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Communicaton is key to any relationship and a perceived situation from one or other of the individuals within that relationship creates expectations that are often not delivered. This leads to tension and stress and often the breakdown of the relationship.

The seriousness of the relationship is often not discussed and so partners look for "signs" be it body language, behavior or other, mostly, non-verbal clues. This is a very subjective way to assess a relationship and partners often see only what they want to see and ignore sometimes obvious indicators that the other partner is not as committed.  

The best way to avoid misunderstandings is to communicate, set boundaries and understand both sides of the situation.

  • Ideally, the situation should be established at the beginning of the relationship but this is often not the case so other steps should be taken when one partner is beginning to feel that the partnership is serious. 
  • To ensure that both parties understand each other, they should ask questions; be direct in their questions. Vague questions create more questions which often go unanswered.
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Timelines should be set. Talk about the future. If the other partner is not at that stage in the relationship, the committed partner can at least make an informed decision and agree to wait and see or can move on.
  •  Family members play a crucial role in relationships and a supportive family will help to ensure that the perceived "ongoing" relationship can be managed - or ended, if relevant.

It is never easy to avoid feelings and to sometimes ignore what a person knows to be true. Hoping that the partner will change his or her mind is not a solid plan. Both partners have a responsibility and the individual who is not committed has as much responsibility to communicate as the more committed partner. Unfortunately, because this may end the relationship , the non-committed partner may let matters proceed in order to supposedly maintain a status-quo. This will only prolong the matter and create consequences later.

There is no way to avoid consequences in any relationship and to make demands may even stop the relationship from really getting started. This my avoid the consequesnces but it may also mean that a blossoming relationship will never result!   Therefore, the best way is to be open-minded, enjoy each other's company and let matters take their course. Human nature being what it is, this advice is rarely followed.


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