SKIP THE AL­MOST STAGE

Cosmopolitan (India) - - LOVE & LUST -

Deny him the perks of hav­ing a real GF (like ac­cess to you 24/7) and

he’ll be more mo­ti­vated to make

it of­fi­cial.

That made me re­alise how much it both­ered me that we still weren’t a real cou­ple af­ter spend­ing so much time to­gether.”

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, an ar­range­ment like this— go­ing through all the re­la­tion­ship mo­tions with­out an ac­tual com­mit­ment— is be­com­ing in­creas in­gly com­mon. “I see a lot of women who stag­nate be­tween the ‘ca­su­ally dat ing’ and the ‘ex­clu­sively dat­ing’ stage, and they don’t know how to get out of it,” says Jenn Berman, Ph.D., ther a pist on VH1, and host of US- based Cosmo Ra­dio’s Love and Sex Show With Dr. Jenn.” You could call it an al­most-re­la­tion­ship, and there are two sub­types— the one where you want to up­grade the guy to boyfriend sta­tus and the one where you’re just bid­ing your time un­til some­one bet­ter comes along. Re­gard­less of which boat you’re in, our ad­vice has you cov­ered.

‘And now I’m fi­nally taller than you!’

In a case like Nas­reen’s, where you’re itch­ing to lock it down, it can be hard to speak up and ask for what

you re­ally want, es­pe­cially when you’ve been car­ry­ing on un­der these to­gether-but-not-to­gether terms for a few months. “A lot of women are afraid that they’ll come across as de­mand­ing if they say they want more from the re­la­tion­ship,” says Berman. “But you have to feel the fear and go for it any­way.” You’ll get a bet­ter re­sponse if you come from a pos­i­tive place, e.g., “What we have is awe­some and I’m en­joy­ing my­self, but in or­der to continue, I need to get a sense of where you are. Usu­ally at this stage in the game, I like for there

to be a com­mit­ment.” Let him know that you don’t need a re­sponse right then and there, and then drop it. When a guy is re­ally into you, he’ll clearly re­spond by say­ing that he wants you to be his girl­friend. “If he’s the right guy, your re­quest is not go­ing to scare him off,” says Berman. “And if he’s the wrong guy,

you to scare him off.” The other end of the spec­trum is the al­most-re­la­tion­ship that you’re us­ing as a place­holder. “You know the guy isn’t the great­est fit for you, but you’re get­ting some emo­tional ben­e­fits from be­ing with him,” says Deb­bie Magids, Ph.D., co-au­thor of

“You as­sume it’s no big deal to hang on to him un­til some­one bet­ter comes along, but when you’re wrapped up in some­thing like that, you’re clos­ing your­self off to more suit­able op­tions.” Think about it—you head out to prowl with a friend, but af­ter one drink, you de­cide the bar is full of grenades and call it a night. And what does it mat­ter? You have some­one you can go out to din­ner with the next night. But who knows who you would have met and what would have tran­spired had you not had that guy to fall back on. “You need to cut the cord, which will force you to be open to other

op­por­tu­ni­ties,” ad­vises Magids.

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