Dating can be a little strange even in the best circumstances, especially when it comes to navigating the place from casual dating into relationship territory. Getting to know people is a process that never really stops, so it isn't possible to have every question answered before you get close to someone. And then sometimes we feel the urge to get into a relationship when we really have no business being in one. There's a lot to consider.
There are however, some things that can be used as a guideline as to what should happen before you consider getting into a relationship. These aren't hard and fast rules, but in general each of these points will bring some food for thought no matter your current dating situation. Here are some things to do before truly committing to a guy.
13 Meet The Friends
We all want to give people the benefit of the doubt in this world, but the reality is that sometimes people aren't what they say they are. If you're dating someone who for some reason isn't interested in meeting your friends or isn't inviting you around there's, this could be a red flag. Insert the red siren emoji. Never let a guy call you his girlfriend until he treats you like one...and until you can see how he acts around the other people that mean a lot to you. There's no point rushing things if there are big questions still out on the table.
12 Do The Deed
Okay some people would suggest not to have sex until you're in a committed relationship, but sometimes it can be hard to tell if the chemistry is really there until you do the deed. It can be a little complicated to rush into a commitment and then realize that you actually like someone as a friend more than as a lover, and then you have to go through the whole breakup process. If you do decide to sleep with someone prior to being in a relationship however, always have the conversation to make sure that this will be done safely. (Which you already know, just a friendly reminder.)
While having sex can also be helpful for getting to know people, talking is extremely important as well. Being able to have a normal conversation with someone is important, but you should also be able to communicate openly about the things you want out of a relationship, your hopes, dreams, all the cheesy/serious stuff. If you can't talk about those things then you're probably not matched up. And if you do talk about them and then feel like he shuts them down or you don't agree on major life things, then you almost certainly aren't a match.
10 You Should Be Over Your Ex
One might argue that some feelings never die for our exes, and that can be true. But there's a difference between having a special place in your heart for your first love and still talking to your ex-boyfriend with the hopes of getting back together. It might not make much of a difference to you either way, but it isn't fair to the new person if you're seriously still pining after the last one. Even if you don't want him back there can still be some feelings that haven't been dealt with that have the potential to cause issues in a new relationship. Taking time to heal before jumping into the next is crucial.
9 Make Sure They Make You A Better Person
We're all strong independent women who don't need men to rescue us (right??), but that doesn't mean that he still shouldn't enhance your life in some way, he absolutely should. Good relationships are made up of people who fit together in a way that they lift each other up. In extreme circumstances this can have to do with someone who inspires you to finally start following your dream career, but it can also have to do with things like learning to get better at cleaning the bathroom. We're all so different that we all have unique things to bring to the table, and the unique things about him should be inspiring.
8 Discuss Cheating
You would think that most people could agree on what constitutes cheating, but you might be surprised. One person might not think that a stolen kiss with someone is worth mentioning, while the other person thinks that even flirty texts are a huge issue. The main reason to get this conversation out of the way at the beginning of a relationship is because if you have on the table what you consider cheating then it is either less likely to happen or easier to determine if it does. It's sort of a mess when one person feels like the other crossed a line but none of this was ever defined in the first place.
7 Think About Why You Want To Commit
There are a lot of reasons to want a commitment, and some are better than others. Wanting a relationship because you're totally happy with an awesome person is different than wanting a relationship because you just can't handle seeing him with someone else. Sometimes people mistaken wanting to possess someone with wanting to be in a relationship with them, which isn't a good reason to do so. It's also not a good idea to race into a relationship to beat your ex at it, make your mom happy, or escape a bad roommate. Do you first and the right people will come along.
6 Talk Marriage And Kids
This is a tricky one since it can be a little weird to discuss the future too far in advance, but you really don't want to sign up for a relationship with your dream man, get invested, and then realize a year later that he has no intentions of ever getting married and having children if that's what you want. (Or vice versa.) Of course this sort of depends on your age, but different people are ready for those things at different times in their lives and it's important to make sure you're in the same range if not on the exact same page.
5 Spend Some Time Away From Him
We're not talking taking a break or anything like that, just make sure that you're not spending every waking hour together with no nights apart before committing. Sometimes having just a night away from someone makes you think about the relationship in important ways. The thinking that we do when we're alone is very different than the thinking that we do when we're busy focusing on other people, so make sure that you give yourself those regular life moments on your own to clear your head and check in with yourself.
4 Make Sure It Isn't A Convenience Thing
Desperation can make people do crazy things, such as think someone is a good choice as a boyfriend just because they are there. There is nothing wrong with being single and choosing someone out of convenience is more often than not going to cause a lot of problems. Even if that problem is just not being happy. The same goes for moving in with people, or making any of those decisions too quickly. Just because he asks you to move in doesn't mean that giving up your rent controlled apartment on a whim is a great idea, even if it saves you rent in the short run. Always think about why.
3 Make Sure You Like The Right Things About Each Other
There are a lot of different things to like about a person, and with each different person those things can vary dramatically. But if you're really honest about what you like about him it can give you some insight into the future of the relationship. Liking someone for their sense of adventure is a lot more sustainable than liking someone because they fit your height requirements. The right guy might have everything you want on your list, but make sure you're not trying to make the wrong guy your boyfriend just because he has some of your ideal qualities. And of course, vice versa.
2 Make Sure You Trust Him
Trust goes way deeper than things like knowing that someone isn't going to cheat on you. Trust also means feeling secure in the sense that someone cares about you, and that they're consistent and predictable in those feelings. A trustworthy man won't put you down in front of your friends, hide money troubles from you, or constantly break plans with you. To commit to a real relationship it's so important to make sure that you can relax into it, otherwise it's impossible to completely be your best self and allow it to grow.
1 Make Sure You're Really Happy
It's sort of easy to get caught up in the idea of a new relationship, as well as have a challenging time weighing the pros and cons about people. You might totally like someone but realize that you have an underlying anxiety with them because you don't entirely trust them. Long term happiness isn't possible if you're anxious the whole time. These are kind of sometimes small things that require us paying close attention to our instincts even when the outward facts don't back it up. There are always complications in new relationships, but overall he should make you happier than not.