If you’re hoping this blog lays out a strict timeline of when to move forward in your relationship, we have some bad news. Dating isn’t a science and knowing when to take that next step in your relationship, whether you’re looking to date exclusively, say “I love you” for the first time, introduce them to your friends and family, or even your kids, can’t be placed on a clear cut, black and white plan. However, we do have a few signs to look out for that will help you determine if taking the next step is something you should be thinking about or talking about with your partner.
Ultimately, if the time feels right, starting a conversation on your next date about your future could be a great next step to take. But, if you’re not sure if it’s still too early, or if you’re struggling to pinpoint how the other person feels, take a step back and evaluate your own feelings towards the relationship. So, what exactly are the signs you should be looking for? Good question!
1. You feel like your true self around them.
There’s nothing more important in a relationship than being able to be yourself. Feeling and acting natural and being your authentic self while in a relationship means you not only feel secure in your own skin, but secure in your relationship and with that other person. And feeling secure in your relationship could mean it’s time to take the next step!
2. You’ve both shared secrets or intimate details about your lives.
A recent blog about starting your relationship on the right foot talked about being open and honest with your date without revealing too many negative truths that might scare them away. When you’ve reached a point in your relationship where you are both comfortable sharing and discussing these “secrets” or intimate details about your past, you have now established a trusting bond. And what happens after you’ve built trust? You take the next step.
3. Your friends and family know this person is in your life. (Maybe they’ve already met!)
Being in a relationship means sharing your life with the other person and vice versa. If you’ve become comfortable enough to talk about your relationship with your friends and family, this could mean you’re serious about this person being a big part of your life. If you’ve introduced your significant other to your friends and family already, there are two things to consider before taking the next step. One is how your friends and family feel about your partner, and two is how your partner gets along with your friends and family. If you have peace of mind knowing that your two worlds can seamlessly collide, thinking about the next step makes sense.
4. You think about them when you’re out with other people.
Maybe the next step in your relationship is dating each other exclusively. In this case, ask yourself how often you find yourself thinking about this person while you’re out with others. Do you find yourself comparing all your dates to this one person? If the answer to these two questions are “a lot” and “yes,” it might be time to consider talking to your partner about dating exclusively!
5. You can agree to disagree on certain topics.
This is a big one. If you’re able to talk politics, religion and faith, and other personal beliefs without arguing or getting in a toxic debate, you’ve hit it off! Learning to accept and respect another’s point of view, especially when it comes to such sensitive and personal beliefs, is a great indicator of a strong relationship. It’s easy to agree, but learning to disagree in a respectful manner means you can respect each other and respect your relationship. Maybe taking the next step will strengthen your relationship even more?
6. You share similar values and life goals.
Although you can agree to disagree on personal beliefs, you also need to be able to share similar values and goals, especially. Take for example one person who sees themself traveling the world, but their partner prefers to spend time at home or doesn’t value traveling. Or, maybe your goals of marriage and buying a home aren’t shared by your partner? If you find your values clash, no matter how much you love the other person, your lives simply don’t complement each other and that can cause tension or regret in the future. In this case, taking that next step might not be a good idea.
7. You’ve met their friends and family.
We already talked about your friends and family, but what about their friends and family? Have you met them? If so, you might be able to conclude the other person can see you in their life just as much as you can see them in yours. Another question to ask yourself is how you personally feel about their circle of friends and family. Do you see yourself fitting in? If you can honestly answer “yes,” let’s talk about taking that next step.
8. You’ve been dating and talking more and more since your first date.
This is the part where you might be able to clearly see if taking the next step in your relationship is the right thing to do. The key to this sign is evaluating how often you’re communicating and spending time together as well as the quality of this time. Do you feel connected? If you’re easily communicating via text messages and phone calls, and you’re enjoying the dates you continue to plan and go on, then what’s next?
9. You reach out to them as much as they reach out to you.
Is communication a two way street, or do you find yourself starting all the conversations and making all the plans? Or, do you feel like they’re thinking about you just as much as you’re thinking about them? If you’re feeling confident that they’re putting in as much effort into the relationship as you are, it could be a clear sign that you’re on the same page and maybe it really is time to start talking about moving the relationship forward.
10. You simply enjoy their company!
If you didn’t enjoy their company, you wouldn’t be thinking about taking the next step. So, all that’s left to do is see if they enjoy your company, too by starting the conversation!
Need a little advice on how to move your relationship forward? Call your personal matchmaker to get the inside scoop on how to approach the subject on your next date!