What Is An Almost Relationship?
Working with both couples, and individuals that are dating in our NYC therapy practice, we’ve come across a lot of folks that are stuck in relationships that are ambivalent. Recently, Tribeca Therapy was featured in InStyle Magazine delving into what writer Nikhita Mahtani terms “the almost relationship,” meaning a relationship in which there is a reluctance to commit or label the relationship, or an ambivalence about the relationship itself (or relationships in general). With time, this type of relationship can take a toll, particularly when one partner wants more of a commitment than the other.
How Can People Dating Avoid Getting Into An Almost Relationship?: Listen
The article “Are You In An Almost Relationship” delves into the potential downsides of an almost relationship, in particular how exhausting it can be to be in a relationship without knowing exactly what the definition of the relationship is. Our director Matt explains how to avoid getting into an almost relationship in the first place. Matt observes that there are usually signs that a potential partner is unwilling to commit. “It sounds so cliché,” explains Matt, “but when people tell you who they are, listen. Don’t think you’ll be able to change someone.”
Address Your Concerns About Commitment Or Labels Early
But, what should you do if you’re already in an almost relationship? It’s important to bring up these concerns, the earlier the better in the relationship. “Obviously, this isn’t going to be an easy conversation–there’s always the chance that the other person won’t be ready in the same way, and you have to decide whether you want to stick around. There’s really a sense of courage that comes from this, though, because you’re not settling for something that will bring you unhappiness later down the line,” says Matt.
Almost Relationships In Which Both Partners Eschew Labels Can Work, But Not Usually For Very Long
Of course, there is another less problematic version of the almost relationship in which both partners are holding off on commitment or otherwise have negotiated terms that are different than a traditional relationship. This can include being friends with benefits, keeping options open, or making room for certain aspects of intimacy, but not others. These types of relationships, though both partners are on board, don’t typically last long. As Matt explains, “I usually find this type of relationship only works if both the people have specific reasons for not labeling it–like maybe the end of a long-term relationship on one end, or fear of commitment on the other end. But eventually, these are short-lived because once the issue is resolved, the label-less relationship no longer works for one or both parties.”