How Long Should I Wait To Define The Relationship? When To Have ‘The Talk’

The early stages of a relationship are some of the most nerve-wracking because you don’t want to come on too strong but your feelings often make you want to dive in head-first. It can be hard to know when you’ve moved from the “casually dating” phase to something more serious, which is why it’s so important to have “The Talk” so you can define the relationship. While there’s no right time to do this (though research suggests it’s somewhere around the three-month mark), here’s how you know you should broach the topic.

  1. You spend pretty much 24/7 together. If you spend pretty much all your time together, you’re clearly a couple. This is definitely the case if you both automatically assume you’ll be spending your weekend together or staying the night at one another’s houses. You’re that comfortable in one another’s presence that you take it for granted that it’ll always be there. Just because you’re yet to define the relationship doesn’t mean you’re not in one!
  2. Neither of you is dating anyone else or even looking. You’ve long since deleted your dating apps and so have they. It’s not that you’ve consciously dedicated yourself to this person and only them, it’s just sort of happened naturally. They’re everything you’re looking for in a partner, so why would you look anywhere else?
  3. Pretty much everyone assumes you’re a couple. While this isn’t a sign in and of itself that you should define the relationship, it does lend a bit of supporting evidence to the idea. You’re clearly together enough and giving off enough of a coupled-up vibe that everyone around you assumes you are one. Why not make it official?
  4. You’ve met each other’s family and friends. You don’t introduce someone you’re dating to your nearest and dearest unless you’re serious about them and plan to be with them for a long time to come. If this has happened and you’ve spent more than one occasion in their company, what are you waiting for? Define the damn relationship already!
  5. They’re your automatic plus-one to every event. You don’t even have to ask them nervously to come along with you to a work event or your cousin’s wedding—you just let them know it’s happening and they know to be there. You’re totally a proper couple and you know it.
  6. You’ve left things at each other’s houses. You’ve left behind your favorite hoodie and a toothbrush at his apartment and his boxers and PS5 is at your place because he’s over there so much. You don’t do that with someone you’re only casual with, so define the relationship so you can start officially calling him your boyfriend.
  7. You can’t imagine your life without them in it. At the end of the day, the biggest sign that it’s time to define the relationship is when you feel like you’d be lost without the other person. You know you really like them and want them to be your partner, so why not say it out loud?
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill