Alright dudes, it’s time to have a talk. Now, before you start cringing at the slightest hint of commitment, a few dating experts want to encourage you — and applaud you — for having the courage to step up to the plate and admit when…
…you’re falling in love with someone.
Your fear of taking casual dating to a relationship that could go the distance may not be entirely your fault — family and dating history does play a part, according to Sarah Patt, matchmaker and dating expert of It’s Just Lunch Houston. “Hesitation tends to come from past experiences. If you come from a divorced family or perceive your parents’ relationship as negative, it may be something you’re conscientiously or unconsciously resisting.” Patt says.
However, if you’re holding onto your single status for the sake of it, even though you’re obviously crazy about the girl you’re seeing, it’s time to have a long hard look at yourself. And just as importantly, make it official before you lose someone who could be very special to you. Here are some signs and reasons to lock it down, stat. Remember: there’s no ‘right time’ for anything. If you’ve only known this girl a few weeks or she’s been your friend for years and you’re starting to see her in a new light, it doesn’t matter. The decision to make it serious doesn’t have a deadline or a preferred timeline. It simply has to feel right to you – and of course, to her. “Commitment happens based on mutual comfort levels in a relationship. Making it official can be based on how often you spend time together or your mutual feeling and definitely a commitment from both people,” Patt says.
1. Your Friends And Family Are Asking
As much as you might try to play it off or act like you aren’t really invested in your could-be, should-be relationship, your friends and family won’t let you get away with it that easily. Patt says a big sign that you’re actually ready to ‘lock it down’ is the fact that you’re introducing her to the people you love the most. And if those people are already calling her your girlfriend, it’s time to ask yourself why you aren’t. “In many instances when the ‘we’re official’ conversation doesn’t happen or is ignored you (as a couple) can evolve into becoming the ‘unofficial other half,’ in everyone else’s eyes,” Patt says. “If this sounds like you, it’s time to have the talk!”
2. She’s Your First Call
One of the benefits of being in a relationship instead of a Netflix & chill situation is having someone to share the little — and big! — moments with. Patt says to consider the last time something truly great happened in your life — you beat your race time in your last half-marathon, you got a promotion at work. Who did you call first? When you want to celebrate those victories with her, it’s a good indication that it’s time to claim her as your partner. After all, she’s already acting like it.
3. She’s Also Your Friend
Sure, you might have what you consider a friends-with-benefits relationship right now, and while you like the latter part of that deal, consider the former. Friendship is a key indicator in any healthy relationships, Patt says, and if you have a woman in your life who you happen to enjoy hanging out with and talking to as much as you like having sex with her, it’s apparent she’s a winner in your life. And needs to um, being a permanent fixture before she loses interest in your wishy-washy ways.
4. You Have Plans Together
If your first (or OK, second) thought about a long weekend is where you’ll go with her, you’re already making her your girlfriend. “Talking about things you should do together as a couple in the future is a sign you want her in your future,” Patt says. “Anything from something as simple as restaurant openings, concerts or events to something as big as a vacation or getting a dog together are good indicators.”
Being in a relationship isn’t the same as proposing. Depending on how old you are, where you are in your life or what you ultimately want out of your future in terms of marriage and children, the scariest part of being in a relationship maybe isn’t losing your freedom, but deciding how serious it is.
There’s a big difference between being someone’s boyfriend and being someone’s husband, and while your relationship could lead to ‘I do’ — taking a chance on the right now could benefit you more than you imagine. Don’t worry too much about three months from now and enjoy the moment. And actually own the title of boyfriend — I promise you can do it.