How to Come Together with a Partner When You’re at Two Different Stages in a Relationship

How to Come Together with a Partner When You’re at Two Different Stages in a Relationship

How to Come Together with a Partner When You're at Two Different Stages in a Relationship

Relationships are complicated on average. They require give and take from both sides and won’t always be pretty. When you take two separate people who are living their own lives and try to merge them into one, it can cause problems just on its own.

But what happens when you’ve met someone but you’re at two different stages of relationship from each other? What happens when one person is more than willing to jump head first into a relationship where the other is still weary of letting themselves be vulnerable again?

It’s a tough place to be in, but I’m going to give my opinion on how to get through this without giving up or causing enough rifts between you and your (potential) partner to end a relationship before it gets going.



Communication is the BIGGEST part of a healthy relationship. You can’t have a good sense of you or your partner if you aren’t actually talking to each other. And I don’t mean just small talk, asking how their day was, or slightly more superficial talking points. I mean the deep, juicy, and slightly uncomfortable topics where you have heart-to-hearts.

In order to get through this you need to understand each other and where exactly both of you are. If one of you wants to start an official relationship where the other is reluctant to, you need to figure out why. Why one is ready to jump into things where the other isn’t.

Related:  An Introduction to Toxic Relationships


Understand Each Other’s Love Language

I will forever praise this book for helping you understand other people. It doesn’t even mean romantic relationships! 

So what is a love language?

“The idea is simple: Break down and decode the different ways in which people communicate with their partners, so we can finally take the mystery out of what our significant other really wants and expects from us.” [x]

Sounds pretty simple, right? There are five love languages as defined in the books, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Your love language can help you communicate with your partner better. 

For example, my love languages are quality time and words of affirmation. So the best way to get across that you care about me is to spend time with me and/or saying sweet things to me. Bonus points if you can tell me why.

I had a love language miss-match in my last relationship. He was definitely trying to show love through giving gifts and acts of services. I was still in college so it was a bit of a long distance relationship, and whenever he came up to visit, he would bring me a gift. Mostly chocolate and a stuffed plushie of some sort. He also studied culinary in high school so he was always making food.

While I appreciated these things that he did, we had a miscommunication because those weren’t what I needed to feel loved.

Click here to take the quiz to find out what your love language is!

Related: Crushes, Rejection and Heartbreak: Dealing and Moving On


Slow Down

This is for the one partner who is more ahead in terms of being ready to jump into a relationship with the other person. If you are more than ready to commit to your partner but they aren’t, you’re going to have to stop yourself for a moment.

Stop. Take a deep breath. And SLOOOW DOWN.

I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear. Maybe you’ve been waiting for a while now, or you feel like if you went any slower you’d be going backwards. But you can’t make someone ready for a relationship before their time.

If you truly love this person and feel they are worth the wait, then wait. But don’t give in to the sunken cost fallacy, where you’re reluctant to leave because you put so much time into it already. If a relationship is going nowhere and you’re still waiting, it may be time to cut your losses.

But if you’re slowly making progress, just not fast enough for your liking, then give it time. If both of you are truly committed to making this relationship work then giving the relationship time to form on its own is the best way to go.

Related: Are You Too Attached to Your Significant Other?


How to Come Together with a Partner


Take Risks

This is for the partner that is more reluctant to make things official or jump into a relationship again. Each person is going to be different, but more often than not, the people who have these reservations about starting anew have been wronged in their previous relationship(s). Something happened to make them not want to put themselves out there.

You’ve probably already heard this a few times, but, your new partner isn’t your old one. They are not the one that wronged you. Not every person you try to form a relationship with is going to cause you harm.

But the only way you’re going to heal is with time and taking a few risks. I’m not saying you should jump into a relationship you’re not ready for, but take some small steps to help get yourself there.

Let’s say you’re always talking and always hanging out, but you haven’t made the progression to cuddling or physical touch yet. Maybe start to get a feel for when/how you can incorporate that into your time together. Watching a movie? Maybe try snuggling up. Out for a walk? Try holding hands.

These aren’t going to be life changing risks, but they are going to let your partner know that you are willing to keep things going, and to help things move along.

Related: How to Spend Valentine’s Day with an Introvert


rHow to Come Together with a Partner When You're at Two Different Stages in a Relationship


Be Uncomfortable

This is for both parties in the situation. Regardless of where you are in terms of forming a relationship, you’re going to be at least slightly uncomfortable at some point. Whether that be the person who’s ready is annoyed at how slow things are going, or the fear that the other has when trying a few new risks. 

Being uncomfortable means you are changing and growing. You can’t stay in your comfort zone forever.

The only way you’re going to get to the relationship you both want is by getting a little uncomfortable (or awkward, or scared) and supporting each other through those uncomfortable moments. 


Have you ever been in this situation? Do you have any advice for someone going through this? Maybe you want to share your story.


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