When to put a label on it

Top 10 Effective Communication Techniques for Couples - PsychAlive

Labels are all about being clear and honest with each other about how you’re viewing the relationship. Sometimes, even the most casual, uncommitted, purely sexual relationships need labels so that all those terms are clearly spelled out and both parties are on the same page. When to put a label on it is a question we’ve all thought or asked at some point or another. Here are Unified Dating’s tips for when you get to this point.

Do labels matter in a relationship?

‘Labelling’ a relationship is defining where each person is in the relationship, their expectations, and desires. It can be a really helpful way for people to clarify, change or negotiate the terms of their relationship. However, if you end up negotiating, ensure that you are not compromising your values. 

It can be as simple as discussing whether you are just friends, friends with romantic intentions to move forward, or in a committed dating relationship. It is superimportant to be clear from the beginning to avoid heartbreak and negative feelings. And to protect the nature of the relationship as you both most likely came together because you liked each other.

It’s about being kind to each other and protecting both of your feelings. Misunderstandings hurt. And communication is really the only way to avoid them.

A relationship without labels.

Of course, there are situations when a relationship without labels might make sense. Oftentimes, a person who says they ‘don’t do labels’ is using that to say they don’t want to be tied to certain relationship expectations or commitments. But what’s important to understand about relationship labels is that they’re not necessarily about making a relationship more committed, more serious, or exclusive. 

Not talking about the terms of your relationship does not mean you don’t have one. Some people prefer to be more relaxed and not put any pressure on their partner. Even though they are looking for a serious relationship. However, we do recommend talking and being completely honest about what you are both looking for. 

Transparency is key. Talking about label-related topics like commitment and fidelity is a great opportunity to establish realistic expectations within the relations. You can build trust and security. 

Even if labels aren’t your thing, practicing open communication and sensitivity to how each of you feel is key to keeping it healthy for both parties. Throughout the whole relationship.

How to bring up the conversation.

Yes, bringing up the conversation initially can be awkward. The one in which you find out whether you and your partner are on the same page romantically. 

It’s the conversation everyone dreads. But it really doesn’t have to be! 

  • Make sure the time is right

No matter your timeline or where your needs lie in this conversation, how you approach it is vital for its successful execution. Make sure you fully understand what you want to get out of the conversation. 

Location is also important. Don’t just suddenly blurt out the question in a public setting! Make sure your both in a private place, feeling comfortable and are both in the right mindset to discuss it maturely. 

  • Avoid ultimatums

One of the biggest mistakes you can make from the situation is making it an all or nothing situation. If you’re giving an ultimatum, chances are, it’s because you already know that you and your partner want different things and you’re trying to force his or her hand. I think that deep down you know the truth and if that’s the case, maybe things aren’t working out. 

  • Be gentle, open-minded, and honest. 

Try being gentle, open-minded, and honest in your approach. This will make your partner feel at ease and feel like they can be truthful too. Even if the answer is not what you want. It’s better to both be completely transparent. 

Try something like, “I really like you and would love to know where you think this is going. Make it a more open conversation, rather than one demanding question.

Be brave and go for it. Approaching the particular conversation can require some skill and finesse. Figuring out how to start is always hard, and so is mentally preparing yourself for not liking how the conversation ends. 

But it provides a sense of clarity that can be necessary for a relationship to continue.

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