Thinking about popping the question? Maybe you’re considering saying yes or hoping if you’ll be asked. If a forever commitment has been in discussion, you may be wondering if this is the right decision for you. This list is not a compilation of your love’s qualities, such as being funny, supportive, athletic or good in bed. Though these subjective qualities may be on your checklist, it’s time to think about how you feel when you are with them and how you feel when you are apart.
When you are equally enamored and content with or without sex.
I like to call this the sweatpants test—when you have just as much fun being silly in sweatpants together as when it gets hot and heavy in the bedroom.
Look back on your relationship—what fond memories come to mind? You can feel safe thinking about marriage when you continue to grow and connect as partners, even when sex is off the table.
When it hurts to spend time apart.
When you are away from each other, has he/she run a marathon through your mind? Some have described it as physical discomfort being apart from their partners. If you find yourself distracted at work, lost in fantasy, texting, calling, sending gifts, and planning future dates, then it’s a good sign you’re in it for real. Just be sure this doesn’t wear off once the honeymoon phase is over.
A telling way to figure out if it’s for real is if you pass the “we” test—when you talk about weekend plans, do you think to yourself, “What are we going to do?” or “What am I going to do?” It’s a good sign if you think of yourself as a unified couple. You should have a team mentality that creates a strong partnership. If you’re really with your future partner, you’re already spending a majority of your free time together.
When you feel like you are a better person by being with them.
Does she bring out the best in you? Does he make you kinder, more driven, and motivated? Many times your friends and family will give you positive feedback, or make comments, such as “You seem really happy.” Maybe this relationship has helped you rebuild damaged family relationships
Pay attention if you do not feel like yourself when you are together. That’s a definite red flag. If dating brings out negative emotions, such as jealousy, insecurity, depression, anger, or anxiety, it may be time to reevaluate before you make a lifelong commitment.
When your core values align.
I know in relationship talk, you hear a lot about values, but this is a broad and abstract topic that can be difficult to wrap your head around. Core values are things such as how you want to raise your children (do you even want to have kids?), your religion, how you spend and save money, the lifestyle and socioeconomic status you would like to have, and conservative versus liberal beliefs. Though not values per se, how you communicate and handle conflict is also essential to relationship success.
Often times, when you first initially meet someone, you may be attracted to more superficial qualities, such as physical attraction, a shared group of friends, or common interests. By the time you actually evaluate your core values, you may have already invested months or years of love, commitment, and finances, making it harder to walk away and be honest with yourself if you have picked your best match.
A helpful test is to each spend some alone time reflecting on what you value most, then discuss your values together. You may notice that your core values change depending on who you are dating and your age. For example, when you were younger, perhaps religion fell low on your list or was not even a consideration, but now that you are older and thinking about having children, it might matter to you how they are raised and what religion they practice.
The more your values align with each other, the fewer roadblocks you may encounter. Life is challenging enough—knowing that you agree on the big things in life means there is less to compromise about because you want the same things. Yes, relationships take work, but to some degree, it should just feel easy.
When You Think of the Future, It Includes This Person
I know that sounds simple, but there is significant value in having a clear picture of an envisioned future together, even if you do not know where you will be living or where you will be working. The point is, you can’t imagine life apart! If your response to this statement was, “Of course we’re together, it’s a no brainer!” then you are on the right track. If your mind went blank or you were filled with dread at the thought of spending your happily ever after together, then it’s time for further thought.
Uncertainty is normal, especially early on in a relationship, but some people experience intense anxiety when they think of marrying their partner after months or years of dating. If this is the case for you, try to rule out whether it’s a fear of commitment in general, or if it’s more related to the person.
If it’s the latter, then you have probably heard that little voice in the back of your head telling you—or maybe screaming at you—to get out! If you find yourself constantly thinking that you are settling, that you could do better, or that your emotional and/or physical needs are not being met, it may be time for a serious conversation.
Hopefully these five reasons have given you clarity and insight into your relationship. If you’re leaving with a bad taste in your mouth, you may be feeling like the love, time, and effort you put into your relationship are sunk costs. However, there is value in learning from your love lessons. Stop investing in a relationship that you know deep down is not going anywhere—this saves you both even more hurt and heartache down the road.
On the other hand, if you’re leaving feeling full of confidence and positivity about your relationship, seal the deal and put a ring on it! Life is made up of your choices.
You Might Also Like These From The Good Men Project
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