You’ve met someone you enjoy spending time with and you want more—more time, more affection, more intimacy, etc. You find yourself giddy and want to text and talk constantly. You talk in terms of continuums, events and activities you can do together next week, next month. You go from dating to a relationship without sparing a thought to boundaries or expectations.

Yet what about those relationships you enter into for the time being—what I call the right now relationships? Those relationships that you know will never really go beyond the bedroom or the occasional pleasant interactions and weekend trips. Those relationships in which you share a mutually intimate interest yet you know will never reach the happily ever after so many of us crave.

How do you navigate those waters?

Below are a few hints and thoughts to consider to help you deal with the vast array of emotions and, at times, turmoil that may surface in the right now relationships. Having a few of these guidelines in place may help minimize or prevent conflicts and assist you in keeping your perspectives in check.  

Boundaries:  

It’s essential to set boundaries. Not only with time constraints but with what behaviors will be tolerated. Though you might be willing to compromise on the actual relationship, your pride and self-worth are not up for negotiation. Set boundaries on dating others and how the individual should act in your presence, at home or in public.

It’s unrealistic to believe you can keep your emotions in check and not be affected by jealousy and self-doubts. Insecurities will also creep in as you wonder what’s wrong with you that the person can’t love you or want to share more, the way you feel they should. At those times, consciously remind yourself why you agreed to enter this relationship in the first place, whatever that reason may be. Remind yourself this is a transitory relationship and meant to help you grow and build your strength. It was never meant to be “happily ever after”. It is temporary. Use it as a practice run to prepare you for a future long-term relationship.

Specific time constraints:  

Spending all your time in a right now relationship is unhealthy. Establish specific times to meet: once a week or bi-monthly. Stick to those time constraints. It’s normal to want to share more time, especially when you’re enjoy each other’s company. But don’t lose sight of the perimeters of right now. Make the most of your time apart. Use it to continue your growth as you interact with others and, ultimately, find the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

You may find that as you grow emotionally, your time in this transitory relationship will become less necessary and will end altogether.

Conscious awareness:  

I believe in giving your all in any relationship you’re involved in – even these transitory ones. Why cheat yourself of its full potential? Enjoy your amorous feelings and the joy you take in being with that person. Remember that he or she is there to help you grow and become emotionally and romantically stronger.

Guarding your heart isn’t necessary because it’ll be affected whether you do or don’t. Instead, keep a conscious awareness that this relationship is a stepping stone toward your ultimate goal. Use it to analyze how you behave in relationships and what improvements you can make. Ask this “partner” what things you can do better. Learn how men and women think as you grow in your own knowledge of what you ultimately want to share with another. Learn what it is you want from your lover and what you want to share; more importantly discover what you’re not willing to compromise on.

Though I wouldn’t recommend focusing on the “end” of these types of transitory relationships, I would recommend having an internal gauge to remind yourself that when either of you are ready to move on, the relationship will end, whether you want it to or not.  

The Intimacy:

There’s nothing wrong enjoying yourself sexually within right now relationships. But make sure to take precautions against pregnancy and STDs. Never compromise your health and psychological well-being by opening the door to potential risks of this nature. In the end, it would backfire on you and create resentment and self-worth issues neither of you want.  

A right now relationship isn’t for everyone. And it’s perfectly acceptable to enter them, then decide it’s not for you. Use them for what they are—an opportunity to grow and have someone in your life for a limited time.   

We all compromise in relationships in one form or another. Right now relationships merely require you to be conscious of this fact. Enjoy your time together. Learn and grow as an individual while you have the buffer of this relationship to cradle you through the void. And when you are ready, you move on.

Unlike relationships in which one individual uses another for sexual thrills or emotional comfort, the beauty of right now is that you’re consciously aware of your actions, and theirs, and are able to create a healthy compromise in this relationship.  

Dr. Charley Ferrer is a world-renowned Clinical Sexologist and the only Latina Doctor of Human Sexuality in the United States. She is the award winning author of The Latina Kama Sutra, The W.I.S.E. Journal for the Sensual Woman, and The Passionate Latina: In our own words. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Pleasure whose primary mission is to provide education on relationships, mental health services to women and men, and conduct research on sexuality. She can be reached at questions@doctorcharley.com.For more on Dr. Charley, go to www.instituteofpleasure.org.

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