When it comes to relationships, there’s nothing wrong with wanting the best.
There are a lot of fish in the sea, after all. And since we don’t want to let just any fish swim into our lives, it’s okay to be discerning when it comes to dating. If you don’t want a fish that picks its teeth after eating a giant steak on your first date, why not throw it back? There’s bound to be another fish nearby that has suitable table manners and a desire to impress you from the start.
But how do we know when we snag someone who’s worthwhile? You’ve been on a few dates. You know you feel a spark with this person. So, now what? Is it time to upgrade your relationship to the next level? Is it time to stop searching the sea for a better fish? (Is it time to stop using the fish in the sea metaphor?)
You need a sign to tell you. In fact, you need 13 signs.
You’ve talked about everything, but there’s still more to say.
You’ve gone through all the normal conversation starters. In the past, you’ve run out of things to say at this point. You resort to vague comments about the weather and downing the rest of the wine. It’s better to feel tipsy than awkward.
But with this person, you still have more to talk about. The conversation flows, no matter the medium. It’s natural.
You have inside jokes.
Maybe you witnessed another couple having a really awkward fight about the bus schedule when you were on your second date. Or perhaps the waiter during your last dinner date mispronounced the word quesadilla multiple times.
It’s all fodder for inside jokes. If you’re reminiscing after only knowing each other for a little while, you’re ready to step up your relationship.
You think about them when you’re on dates with other people.
Until things are locked down, it’s smart to keep playing the field. Yet if you’re on other dates and still find yourself thinking about that one person, it’s time to break up with the idea of dating multiple people and commit.
You think about them when you’re with your friends.
If you’re out with your friends, and you can’t stop thinking about the person you’re dating, you’re ready for the next level. Plain and simple.
Which reminds me of the next sign…
You’re ready to introduce them to your friends.
You’ve said to the person you’re dating, “Oh my God, you’d LOVE my best friend.” And you know you really mean it. You want this person to meet your friends because you know they’d get along swimmingly.
Getting a text from them makes you smile.
It doesn’t matter what the text says. Seeing this person’s name on your screen makes your heart leap. That’s a good sign.
You can disagree without fighting.
A functional relationship doesn’t mean you always agree. (How boring would it be if you felt the exact same way about every subject?)
If you can discuss your differences without blowing up, then the relationship has a shot at going the distance.
You’re planning future activities for the two of you.
I’m not talking about planning to get your favorite food cart tacos the next time you have a craving. This is more like planning a road trip to Montreal just to taunt the locals with your terrible French skills.
I’m talking about activities, day trips, hometown visits — anything that’s an upgrade on the typical date. Thinking about the future means you’re ready for something more.
You told them something only your closest friends know.
Becoming an official couple begins with this phrase: “I don’t really tell this to many people, but…”
It doesn’t matter what follows. It could be something as serious as a deep dark secret, or something as frivolous as your recurring dream about living in a house made of cheese.
You’ve dropped their name at work.
When you start talking about the person to your coworkers, you’re thinking about something more than just a casual fling. If Karen in accounting knows your boo’s name, you’re thinking about asking for a plus-one to your next office party.
Having them meet your parents doesn’t seem far-fetched.
Bringing someone home to mom and/or dad is a thought that gives most of us anxiety. But if you’re seriously contemplating it, then you’re past the point of pretending you’re just “special friends.” You’re already committed.
You’re finding their quirks cute.
Suddenly, you’re finding this person’s quirks totally adorable. Like how she hogs the covers in her sleep, or how he always sneezes after his first sip of coffee.
Quirks make this person real, and that’s why you’re falling hard.
You are totally yourself around them.
When we meet someone, we’re presenting a version of ourselves that is carefully curated. But when we let go and show who we really are, it’s because we trust the person across from us. We aren’t afraid of scaring anyone away.
If the person you’re dating fits most of these signs, what are you waiting for? Break up with single life and upgrade your relationship status to taken. It might seem scary, but the reward will far outweigh the risk.
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