7 Reasons You Shouldn't Wait For A Partner To Want The Same Things As You, According To Therapists

by Kristine Fellizar
Young man talking on phone ignoring angry mad millennial girlfriend

There's nothing more disheartening than meeting the love of your life and realizing that they're just not ready to be with you in a way that you deserve. While the hopeless romantic in you may say sticking it out is going to be worth it, that's typically not the case. According to experts, there are some key reasons why waiting for someone may not end up being worth it in the end.

If you like someone and they like you back, it's hard to understand why they wouldn't want to take things to the next level. But people have their reasons. "It's common today to not want anything serious and committal even if there’s a real connection," Jaclyn Lopez Witmer, licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in relationships, tells Bustle.

While it's easy to take it personally, someone not being ready to take things a step further usually has nothing to do with you. "Generally a person who isn’t ready for a relationship is likely working through their own stuff," Witmer says. "Regardless, it’s still unfair and undeserving for the person on the receiving end."

When you have feelings for someone, it's easy to stick it out even if your relationship really isn't going anywhere. While it's great that you're patient, understanding, and loyal, you should still think about yourself first. So here are some reasons why therapists say waiting for someone isn't really worth it.


You Want Your Partner To Be Someone They're Not


If you're in a situation where you're waiting for someone to change their ways, think about what you're really waiting for. "I often have clients say, 'they would be perfect if only they’d change in this way,'" Jacob Brown, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with couples, tells Bustle. "I try to help my clients to understand and accept their partner as they are today." If you're waiting for someone to change, you're basically saying that you don't accept them as they are right now. But according to Brown, relationships happen in the now, between two people as they already are today. "You can’t have a relationship with the person you hope they will become," he says.


You'll Always Be More Invested In The Situation

When you're the one hoping for someone to come around, the balance is already tipped in their favor. You're invested. By waiting, you're already compromising your needs. "It's definitely a set up for a breakup," Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, psychologist who specializes in relationships and founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle. "You're settling for less than you deserve and you'll very likely feel like a sense of regret in losing the time that could have been invested in something else." By starting fresh with someone new, you work on creating a healthy and balanced dynamic early on.


You're Closing Yourself Off To Finding An Actual Relationship


When you've already spent a lot of time and energy on someone, it can feel like a waste of time to just let all of that hard work go. But as Latimer says, "Sometimes the choice to walk away is less of a loss than the choice to stay and hope things will change." There are people out there who are ready for commitment if you're open to meeting them. When you're waiting for someone, you won't really be emotionally available to connect with people that are better suited for you.


You'll Be Staying In A Situation That's More Draining Than It's Worth

When you're more invested in someone than they are in you, there's a good chance that you'll be doing a lot of the work. You can only plan dates and initiate conversations for so long before you start feeling unappreciated. It can feel a lot worse if you're in a situation where they're keeping their options open. So always trust your gut. "If you have an inkling that this isn't going to happen, it probably won’t," Christine Scott-Hudson, marriage and family therapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. "If your partner wants to be with you, they’ll be with you. It shouldn’t be so much work."


When Someone Says They Don't Want A Relationship, They Usually Mean It


"Perhaps the most important piece of clinical advice I can give you is believe what you hear," Scott-Hudson says. "If they say they aren’t the marrying kind, believe them. If they say they don’t want kids, believe them. Don’t try to turn a crumb into a steak." To avoid falling for someone that isn't ready for a relationship, be upfront with what you're looking for from the very beginning. According to Scott-Hudson, you should already discuss it by the third date in order to save time and energy. "If you genuinely are looking for a long-term commitment, you should be looking for a partner who wants the same thing as you," she says. "If a partner verbalized to you early on that they're not, the smart thing to do is to listen."


You Can't Force Someone To Grow Up Or Get Over Their Issues

If the person you're waiting for has baggage from a bad relationship or issues from childhood, it's going to effect how they view relationships and commitment. You can't force someone to work through their issues if they don't want to. According to Witmer, you also can't force a person to grow up when you want them to. "A person can’t be expected to wait for another person to grow emotionally and become more mature," she says. "It’s crucial for you to identify and communicate your needs and feelings, respect the other person’s boundaries, and at the same time remain true to your own values and needs. Don't compromise to keep the (non-relationship) person in their life."


You Deserve Better


"You must notice what a person is telling you through their actions and behaviors," Scott-Hudson says. "So much heartache could be prevented if you pay less attention to what your partner says, and focus mostly on what they actually do." If the person you're dating is inconsistent, cancels dates on you at the very last minute, or is only sweet to you when they want something, these are signs that they're not ready for something serious. These are also signs that they don't deserve your time and attention. "Commitment-phobes, narcissists, and players know just how to keep you on the hook with words," Scott-Hudson says. "Actions speak louder than words."

Waiting for someone to come around can work out for some people, but it's not a guarantee. If you're really set on one specific person, then go for it. The important thing here is to always put yourself first. Think about what makes you happy. If a situation is is only making you feel anxious and discouraged, ask yourself if your partner really is worth it. Chances are, they're not. You can have the relationship you want. You just have to be OK with letting go of someone who really won't give that to you. Although it'll be tough, it'll be worth it.