Imagine the situation: You’ve been dating casually for a while, and you feel that you have a strong connection. You’d like to progress the relationship to something more permanent and committed. You’re not exactly ready to talk about moving in together yet, but you’d like to ‘come out’ as a couple. But you’re unsure whether your feelings are reciprocated, and you don’t want to say too much, too soon. What do you do?
Or, perhaps, you’ve been ‘out’ as a couple for a while but you want to move in together, or even get married. What do you do?
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First, feeling scared is a good sign. If you were not nervous it would perhaps indicate that this person isn’t engaging you at the deep emotional level that you think they do. If you’re not at all apprehensive, you wouldn’t be normal.
Second, check that you’re not wanting to move to the next ‘stage’ because of pressure from others. It’s all too easy to think that it’s time to deepen the commitment because you’ve been at this stage for a while, or because your friends or parents want you to. Is it really what you want, or would you be happy to carry on the way you are for a while longer?
Don’t think it’s a bad sign if you’re concerned to give up your current life, though. If your life at the moment is pretty darned good, yet you are still contemplating giving up parts of him for the next stage of your relationship – that’s a good thing.
It’s a highly positive sign if you’ve had some major disagreements but have managed to survive them. The key indicator of a healthy partnership is not the number of disagreements that you have, but how well you navigate them and make up afterwards. So if you bicker or argue, don’t think thats a negative sign if you are able to kiss and make up quickly and easily. In fact, it’s a healthy and positive sign.
It’s also healthy if you have already done things together and found you got on fine – especially holidays. Holidays can be make-or-break time, when long periods together can reveal all kinds of habits or personality tendencies which might be deal-breakers. Better to take a long look at any negative signs in the relationship now before they become a serious problem. But if you’ve holidayed together and had fun, then you can be feeling good about taking the next step.
To progress the relationship, you’re going to need to take the initiative. If there is something you want to discuss, you can’t rely on anyone else to be a mind-reader. You have to say it out loud, and the best way to start is by saying how you’re feeling right now.
“Something I’m sitting with at the moment is a feeling that ….. (I’d like us to be a couple/to be living together/to get married).” Next, tell them what difference this would make to you. “If we could do that I would feel ….”
Then, tell them what difference it would hopefully make to the other. “If we could do that, I imagine that you would feel …” Imagine your new world, and share your hopes and dreams.
So, it’s about gathering all your courage, being prepared for being told that it is too soon, or it’s not what the other wants (perhaps at the moment), or for a joyful response and the other saying, “Yes, yes, yes, that’s what I want too!” Good luck!