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Navigating Romantic Relationships, Part II

Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

Life is all about the connections we make and the relationships we sustain that bring joy and happiness into our lives. One of the most important relationships we will have is the one with the person that we choose to spend the rest of our life with. Choosing a life partner is difficult, and following and having trust within your own path with this is key. You’re not late, you’re not early, you’re on time. 

The dating world is often confusing and in the search for a lifelong partner, often certain relationships don’t work out and there are many excuses or exit strategies that people will utilize. Making sense of these can be a challenge, and in my practice, experience and interviewing, these have seemed to be the most common. 

Navigating Romantic Relationships, Part II: How Do I Make Sense of Exit Strategies?

 “Let’s see where things go – I’m not sure yet.”


  • Check out part one to the Navigating Romantic Relationships blog series to learn more about this one! 


“I’m just not looking for a relationship right now.”

  • If someone likes and appreciates you the way you deserve, more often than not, that other person will make the timing work no matter what. 

The Ghost

  • So, you’re being ignored and not getting a reply. Obviously this is not good news, so I would recommend moving on as quickly as you can. You don’t want to be with someone who leaves you hanging and doesn’t give you the time of day, or someone who doesn’t have the courage or maturity to be honest with you. 

“I need to focus on myself right now.”


  • Sure, this can be an easy cop out, but sometimes this is coming from a real place and people genuinely need time to focus in on self-improvement or a hurdle in life that they are currently facing. 



  • Yes, hearing someone tell you “We’re better off as friends” feels pretty rejecting, but if you look on the bright side at least they think you are a good person and plan to keep you in their life instead of ridding themselves of you completely. Someone can still be awesome, and completely dateable without you being the one that is in a relationship with that person. 

“I just got out of a long term relationship.”


  • We cannot judge the grieving process of others and how long it might take them to recover from a bad relationship. 


“I need to focus on my career aspirations.” 

  • Initially, this might be taken as an easy cop out, but also could be really respectable. What if this person wants to work hard, and build up a steady career so that she or he is able to afford a family or lifestyle that they want to live one day? Perhaps the timing just isn’t right and it could turn into something more serious later on. 

“We want different things.”

  • When it comes to wanting different things, think about core values here. What matters to you the most and does that line up with the values of the other person? 

“I’m looking for something more long term.” vs. “I want to keep it casual.” 

  • Be clear about your desires and needs and make sure your expectations are lining up. If you continue to be with someone who wants something casual, while you’re looking for something long term, you will continually be disappointed, and vice versa.

Ideally, these exit strategies will provide you with some insight and intel within your experience in the dating world. After reading this, I hope you feel prepared while you search for your partner, or perhaps begin a new relationship. Maybe this can aid you in articulating how you feel about a given relationship, or understanding how someone else feels towards a relationship with you. Remember to be compassionate, treat others how you would want to be treated and practice self-love, as well. After all, you are the one you will be spending the rest of your life with regardless! Good luck everyone! 


Gottwald, B. (September 2, 2020). Deep Soulful Love. He wants to see where is goes – what should I do? – 6 relationship experts share their tips and insights. Retrieved from:

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