When Should You Start A Relationship After Dating?

It can be tricky to know when you should have the “what are we” talk with the person you’re dating. If you bring it up too early, you risk scaring them away. And if you wait too long, you could miss your window. The best course of action is to look out for the signs that you’re ready to start a relationship rather than just dating, and then bring it up with the other person. Check them out below!

  1. You’re sure you enjoy each other’s company. A healthy relationship takes more than just mutual attraction. Along with the physical side of things, it’s important to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. That’s why they say that friends often make the best romantic partners too. When you do enter into a relationship with someone, they’re going to take significant space in your life. If you’re going to be intertwining your schedules and making them part of your world, you should actually like them and spending time with them. It sounds like a given, but a lot of people totally forget about this.
  2. The attraction is there. A healthy relationship takes more than attraction to sustain it. But that attraction is also vital. It’s what makes you romantic partners instead of friends. Sometimes, you’ll have to date a person for a while to really work out whether you’re attracted to them or not. Other times, it will happen instantly. In most cases, you either are attracted or you’re not—it’s not something you can work on.
  3. You’re at the same level emotionally. Being at the same level emotionally is important when it comes to starting a relationship with the person you’re dating. Are they emotionally unavailable? Are you prepared to put the same amount of yourselves into this relationship? Do you feel the same about each other? You should be on the same page with your emotions and your hopes for the relationship.
  4. You can be vulnerable with that person. Relationships require a certain amount of vulnerability. You can keep your guard up while you’re dating. But eventually, you have to let that person in. That’s how intimate bonds and true connections are formed. You’ll never really get to that place with your partner if you are trying to be perfect all the time. So you have to ask yourself if this person is really someone you can be vulnerable with. When you feel comfortable around that person, it’s a sign you’re ready for a relationship with them.
  5. You communicate properly. You might have heard that communication is one of the pillars of a successful relationship. Of course, you’ll get better at communicating over time. But until you are both able to communicate your needs reasonably well, you might struggle in a real relationship. Neither one of you is a mind reader, so it’s important to let each other in on what you want, need, and expect. Can you tell that person when they’ve upset you? Or do you just tell them what they want to hear? Without communicating properly, you won’t be able to set boundaries, which is another key ingredient in a healthy relationship.
  6. You can get over obstacles together. No matter how good a match you are as a couple, there will be obstacles to overcome. Before getting into an official relationship, it’s a good idea to make sure you can operate as a team and overcome problems together. It’s actually a good thing to have had an argument before you commit yourself fully to that person. Then you’ll know how you get over hurdles like that as a couple.
  7. You’ve made room for each other in your lives. Just dating someone doesn’t really require you to change your schedule. But when you are in a real relationship with that person, you have to make room for each other in your lives. If you’ve already started making room, and shifting things around so the other person has space in your schedule, it’s a sign you’re ready for a relationship with them. But if you’re not prepared to make room for the relationship, then you’re probably not ready to have one.
  8. You both have the same vision for your future. It’s a good sign when you and the person you’re dating want the same things out of the future. But if you don’t have the same vision, it’s not a good idea to enter into a full-blown relationship. If you dream about marriage and they are terrified by the idea, you probably won’t be able to fulfill each other’s needs in a relationship.
  9. You’re exclusive. According to Cosmopolitan, exclusivity is a sign that it’s time to take your dating life to the next level. If you are both ready to commit to each other fully and take yourselves off the market, then it’s an indication that you’re ready for a relationship. Some people don’t go exclusive until after they’ve had the talk. But if you find yourselves naturally withdrawing from dating apps and other romantic situations, it could mean that you’re ready to take the next step.
  10. You don’t feel the need to play the field. Even though you’re having fun dating someone, you may still feel like you want to keep exploring what’s out there. In this case, it’s better that you keep dating rather than starting a relationship because it will only fail. You’ll feel trapped and unhappy and you won’t be offering your partner your full self. Wait for it to feel right before you take the plunge.
  11. You feel like you can trust them. It’s the biggest cliche in the book but that’s because it’s true. You’ll never be able to have a successful relationship with someone if you don’t feel like you can rely on them or their word. You want a partner who you know will be there for you without a doubt when you need them. If this isn’t the case, this isn’t the person for you.
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.