If you and your significant other have been together for a while, you might be wondering if your relationship is ready for the next step. Time is one factor, but there are many others. It is a deeply personal decision, different for every couple. How do you know when the time is right?
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Ready for Marriage
Marriage is about solidifying your lifelong commitment to each other, a huge step that is scary and exciting at the same time. Please note, fantasizing about your marriage is different from dreaming about your wedding. You should be perfectly happy thinking about getting married in a small mariage civil ceremony, followed by a modest honeymoon, not designing the details of your wedding dress. Signs you are ready for marriage:
- You are fine alone with yourself, but happier spending time with your partner
- You want to declare to the world, “We are together!”
- You know what you have done wrong in past romances, and you are not repeating those same patterns in this relationship
- You are content to give up a degree of independence
Ready to Move In Together
Living together has many practical benefits. It usually involves using two incomes to support one household, so the financial benefits are immediate. But you and your partner should be in it for more than just affordability and convenience. Signs you are ready to move in together:
- You want to share mundane details of daily life, from morning breath to thermostat regulation
- You are ready to share big life events like a promotion or a parent’s serious illness
- You can calmly and constructively have the crucial money discussions
Ready for Exclusivity
It seems that everyone dreads the “what exactly are we doing here?” talk, but it may be a necessary one. Suppose you have been dating the same man for a while, but have never introduced him as your boyfriend. Is he your boyfriend or isn’t he? What are you to him? The uncertainty can make you crazy. Signs you are ready to date exclusively:
- You want to introduce him as your boyfriend, and have him do the same.
- You have no desire to date other people.
- You are becoming embedded in each other’s lives — you hang out as a couple to meet up with friends and are in pictures together on social media
- Your family likes her, and vice versa
There is no law stating that you need to label your relationship, or that you always need to take another step. If you are both comfortable where you are, stay there. But it can be fulfilling to grow as a couple and deepen your connection. If the timing is right, your romance can really blossom.