There’s so much focus on the major relationship milestones—moving in together, getting engaged and then married, having kids—there are so many smaller but equally important things that happen in the earlier phases of your courtship that mean just as much. Look out for when these things happen—they bode well for your long-term potential.
You can order food for your partner at a restaurant and be confident that they’re going to like what you picked out for them (and vice versa).
If you can choose a meal for your partner without worrying that they’re going to hate it, it’s clear you’ve spent enough time together getting to know their likes and dislikes. Knowing when your partner will likely to want a burger over a salad and what temperature to have it cooked to is a sign that you’re comfortable in your relationship and that you both are on the same page. At the same time, you aren’t worried when your partner says they’re going to bring dinner home because you’re positive that you’ll enjoy whatever it is they get for you.
You throw on their clothing without asking.
You know that it won’t bother them if you borrow their clothes. In fact, you’re pretty sure they like it when you do. It’s a seemingly insignificant thing, but borrowing a shirt of your partner’s when you hop out of the shower or a pair of their shorts to sleep in without feeling like you need to ask first definitely is a sign that your relationship is progressing.
You’ve dealt with a serious, difficult and/or traumatic situation together and have grown stronger because of it.
In some cases, hard times signify that a relationship isn’t going to work. When people are stressed, worried, or frustrated, they tend to act differently than they do when life is smooth sailing, and that can easily be a deal-breaker, bringing your relationship grinding to a halt. However, if you’ve dealt with a really serious and/or difficult situation with your partner and come out the other side stronger, it bodes well for your future together.
Your partner is the person you call when you need help.
Is your partner your emergency contact and the first number you’d call if you popped a tire? That’s a good sign for your relationship. If you feel like you don’t want to bother them when you’re dealing with an issue or you’re too embarrassed to ask them for help, you’re either in the early stages of dating or it’s a definite red flag that it’s never going to last. Being able to rely on your partner when you’re dealing with something difficult is important.
You’re comfortable looking gross around them.
If you’re the type of woman that usually wears makeup and makes an effort to dress in cute outfits, it’s an unofficial sign that your relationship is moving forward when you feel comfortable enough around your partner to forgo the foundation and wear clothing that isn’t your most flattering style but makes you feel relaxed. You know they’re with you for who you are on the inside, and you feel confident enough in your relationship to let your guard down (and your lipstick).
You have a relationship with members of their family.
Do you occasionally text your partner’s mom or have their cousin as a friend on Facebook? Are they invited to family dinners and they’ve had multiple conversations with your siblings? Having relationships and being in contact with their family (and having them get to know your family as well) is a sign that your relationship is moving forward. You’re combining the separate lives you and your partner had before you were in a relationship and building connections with people that they’ve known forever and who are important to them.
You keep clothes, makeup, and a toothbrush at their place.
You might even have a key to their place as well, you just don’t officially live together. Either way, leaving personal items at your partner’s place is a sign that your relationship is growing. They want you to feel comfortable and at home when you’re with them (even if you haven’t talked about moving in) and that shows that they feel like the two of you are in a serious relationship.
You instinctively help with your partner’s household tasks without feeling like you’re imposing.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to be your partner’s maid or do every little chore for them, but if you don’t feel weird or awkward emptying their dishwasher or folding their laundry, it’s a sign that the relationship is moving forward. You enjoy helping your partner with the boring, seemingly endless everyday chores because you like making their life a little easier when possible.
You always know when you’ll see each other again.
You no longer even have to ask what your partner is doing on Friday night or if they’ll be your date to your friend’s wedding. You know what their schedule is like and vice versa, and you have unspoken plans with each other for specific days and/or times. There are no late-night booty call texts because you’ll already be laying in bed together. You always know what you’re doing and where you stand.
You tell your partner everything all the random thoughts that pop into your head without fear of judgment.
You don’t feel the need to edit or filter anything when you’re talking to your S.O. You aren’t worried about sounding stupid or whether your partner will judge or take offense to anything that you say without thinking. Feeling comfortable about telling your partner everything (and wanting to!) shows that your relationship is moving forward.
You have a show that’s yours.
Having a show that you watch together is a small, unofficial sign that your relationship is progressing. Sharing Netflix and Hulu passwords turns the dial up on your relationship up even more. It might not seem like a big deal, but committing to watch a show together (especially one with many seasons) and sharing passwords shows that the two of you are committed to each other.
Your texting conversations have slowed down.
Maybe you don’t text because you no longer feel insecure about being out of touch. Maybe you do it less because you don’t need to since you’re always together. Either way, this is a good thing.
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