Lately I’ve been dating around. In the past I was a serial monogamist, going from one committed relationship to the next, so this thing where I meet people and go on dates with a particular check-list in mind and without committing to a particular person is new for me. I’m learning lots. Dating is fun and awesome. You don’t have to go into every date with ‘serious’ intentions, you just have to be forthright and honest with the people you are dating about where you’re at. However, what happens when you meet someone and you kind of want to take it to the next level? How do you know you are ready for that? Here are some signs.
(General disclaimer: I’m going to use the ‘him’ pronoun from now on for ‘significant other’ because I am dating men at the moment, but these signs are not gender specific.)
1. Don’t go from dating someone to being in a relationship with them if you still have attachments to your ex. Go ahead and date around, but for your own sake and for the people you date, get over him before getting serious with someone else.
2. You need a date for an event, like a work party, and you are comfortable asking him. You know he will say yes.
3. You have introduced each other to your friends.
4. He calls or texts you every night to say goodnight. This might not be important to some people, but I think it is. This one seemingly small thing is building a channel of communication and consistency which makes the difference between a f*** buddy and a boyfriend.
5. You don’t awkwardly wait until halfway through the week anymore to ask “so… what are you doing this weekend?”. It’s assumed you’ll be hanging out together. This means you’re an item.
6. You have a little chat about the exes. It’s important to know something about your potential boyfriend’s former relationships. Someone with little serious dating experience is going to be a different kind of boyfriend than someone who has dated a lot. Someone who has experienced abuse is going to need special care that it is important to be mindful of early on. You don’t need to know about the exes of guys you are casually dating.
Pro-tip: Don’t talk about your exes with people you are casually dating. What a buzz-kill.
7. You have argued about something and you overcame it well together. When you’re dating people you probably avoid conflict like the plague, because conversations can get especially awkward when there is conflict and you don’t know each other’s’ boundaries well. However, since we are all different, every human interaction creates conflict, and having any kind of relationship is about navigating and managing those conflicts in a healthy way. If this guy is going to be your boyfriend, you have to learn how to disagree, communicate and move forward.
8.You are comfortable enough with him to ask for what you want in bed. Maybe there’s a certain something you’d really, really like him to try. Are you comfortable telling him? Awesome. Boyfriend material.
You’ve seen each other wasted. How someone behaves drunk can be funny, annoying, scary, embarrassing, awesome… In my opinion this is a ‘first’ that should happen before you get serious.
9. You think that this person can, at least for now, fulfill your needs. By this I mean that if you stopped dating other people, would this guy be able to give you the attention you get from the others? Does he tell you you’re lovely, make you feel special, do that thing in bed we talked about in #8, take you on exciting and thoughtful dates to that place he remembered you like? If not, I don’t think you’re ready to go ‘we’ on this guy. Surely there are many more signs it is time to level up, but these are the ones that came to mind.