You’ve finally met an amazing guy and transitioned from casual dating to actual boyfriend and girlfriend titles. While things seem to be going great and you’re pretty sure your love could actually go the distance, you can’t truly call it a long-term relationship until you do these 20 things happen:
You’ve told Each Other Your Phone Password. You trust him enough not to go snooping in it, but you recognize that if something were to happen to you, he might need to use it, whether to get in touch with your mom or to answer your worried friends’ texts.
You’ve been Stuck Somewhere Together. It’s easy to get along on romantic dates, but you’ll always remember the four hours you were stuck on a broken ski lift together and ended up singing the entire Hamilton soundtrack while you waited to be rescued.
You’ve given each other the perfect unexpected gift. When you run out of the safe gifts in a relationship and he stops giving you subtle hints, the pressure is on. If he completely loves what you pick out for him, you might even know him better than he knows himself.
You’ve bonded with each other’s parents. It’s one thing to meet Mom and Dad for dinner, but it’s another to actually develop a strong relationship with them. The latter takes actual time and effort and requires you to prove not only that you truly care about their son but that you plan on sticking around enough to integrate yourself into the family. Once you’re automatically considered part of the tribe, you know you’re for real.
You’ve taken Care of Something Together. Whether you get a pet together, babysit a niece for a weekend, or just own a potted plant, the shared responsibility will make you a better couple. It won’t always be easy, but it will give you a good idea if your future together should include kids.
You’ve worried that Sex is Getting Boring. At some point in the relationship, you’ll have tried all of the ways you want to have sex and in all of the locations you both want to do it. After the wild passion of the first stage of the relationship, things start to seem a little dull — or at least you wonder if HE’S thinking they are. If you haven’t wondered if he’s getting bored of you or vice versa, the relationship is still young. Don’t worry, though — sexual passion usually goes in and out like the tide.
You can order for each other at a restaurant. You have true mastery of his likes and dislikes if you can tell the waiter what he wants while he’s in the bathroom, or if you can pick up some dinner on your way home without texting him to confirm. He knows how you like your coffee and that you always ask for extra ketchup with your fries. It’s a match made in heaven.
You’ve been through a crisis together. Moments that truly stomp on your heart happen rarely in life, so you may be with someone for a long time before a crisis comes along. Still, it’s how you handle these moments that makes or breaks your relationship. If there’s a death in the family, if one of you gets a major illness, or if you get caught in a natural disaster, you’ll see each other’s character very clearly. The stress drives otherwise happy couples apart as their coping mechanisms clash. You won’t really know how it’ll go until it happens.
You openly talk about bowel movements. In the beginning of a relationship, you’re not necessarily going to walk out of the bathroom and announce when you’ve just dropped the kids off at the pool. Once your relationship is solid, however, poop talk isn’t only no longer taboo, it’s likely a regular part of your daily conversation. Ah, comfort.
You’ve bumped into one of your exes while you’re out together. This isn’t going to give you some dramatic insight into your partner’s character. The actual moment you see each other’s exes doesn’t matter, whether it’s super chill or really awkward. What actually matters is how you handle the jealousy and comparisons that result. Were you happier with him? Do you worry that she’s hotter than you? If you’re able to just go back about your business after the encounter, you’re solid.
You’ve told him your dress size. Not many women are open about their dress size, especially not in the early stages of a relationship. If you’re comfortable enough with him that he can help you sift through the racks looking for your size, you’ve made it to long-term territory. The same goes for him and belt size!
You make Joint Financial Decisions. You don’t have to open a joint checking account for things to be serious. Hell, some couples never share finances, but long-term couples still make big financial decisions together. What happens when one of you wants to save for a trip but the other burns through their savings? Somehow long-term couples have to come to an agreement about money, and if you’ve got this down, you’re in it for the long haul.
You’ve completely lost it around each other. How do you act when you’re so frustrated you could break something? He’ll see you angry eventually, just as you’ll see him angry, and you’ll both need to learn how best to deal with it if you’re going to be together through life’s biggest annoyances. This does NOT mean you should accept abuse or violence of any kind, but everyone loses their temper sometimes.
You’ve experienced serious embarrassment around each other. Your period arrived early and you didn’t notice until you were in a public washroom. Does he give you his coat to tie around your waist and later reassure you that it was hardly visible? It can be hard to confide in new partners when embarrassing things happen, but once you know that he has your back, you can feel even more confident in the relationship.
You’ve become each other’s emergency contact. If someone needs to be driving you to the hospital, it’ll be him. And if someone needs to be making your medical decision for you, it won’t be mom anymore (sorry mom!), he understands your wishes best. He knows the same is true of you too.
You’ve been through a Breakup Scare. I’m always worried about couples who say they’ve never had a rocky period in their relationship. People argue over all sorts of silly things and then refuse to apologize even when they’re kind of starting to get the vibe that they were wrong, after all… The good news is that this moment happens to everyone and relationships that make it through become more committed than ever.