One of the questions I'm often asked as a dating coach is, "when is the right time to define the relationship?"
Of course, there's no right or wrong answer to this. You can bring up the conversation whenever you please. But do I think there are a few things you should know about a person before you get into a serious relationship with them?
You fucking bet!
Many people are so blinded by the feel-good emotions that come with the beginning of a relationship that they don't stop to consider if it's the best decision for them. Or, worse, you're so triggered by the person that getting them to define the relationship feels like the ultimate way to prove your worth (avoid this at all costs).
So if you're thinking about defining the relationship or just want to make sure you're making the best choice for your future self, ask yourself these questions:
What side of you does this person bring out?
Do you feel on edge or judged when you're around this person? Is your body tense, warm, and buzzing? Are you weirdly critical or insecure, even though you're not when you're around other people?
Or are you happy? Are you having a lot of fun with them and showing up authentically?
If your answer is positive, then that's a good sign! If it's not, then there's probably something about them that brings out that side of you, and chances are, it's not great.
Are they someone you'd want to be friends with?
If you wouldn't want to be friends with the person you're dating, then why be in a relationship with them? Friendship is vital for long, lasting relationships.
You may think that sexual attraction or "passion" is all you need, but friendship gets you through the inevitable lows of all relationships.
Do you want this out of fear?
You have to be really honest with yourself to answer this question. Do you want to be with them because you genuinely enjoy their company and think you're a great match?
Or are you rushing to define the relationship because you're scared to be alone? What about because you want to feel worthy enough for them to "pick" you?
All my unfulfilling past relationships had a common theme: I got into them out of fear. Don't make that same mistake.
Do you feel comfortable around them?
This is similar to my question about the side of you that they bring out but more focused on whether you can be your authentic self around them.
Are there parts of you that you feel like you have to hide? Are you able to be your goofy, uninhibited self around them? Can you let your guard down, be vulnerable, and make mistakes?
If so, that's a great sign!
Have you had enough time for trust to build?
My last question is about something a relationship won't survive without: trust. Have you spent enough time, gathered enough memories, and have been in enough situations with them to know they're trustworthy?
It's not enough to know you like them; it's important to spend enough time with them to see if they're a good, genuine person. I say that this process takes at least 2-3 months of regularly seeing someone.
Check out my free dating anxiety journal prompts to help you understand yourself more and the changes you want to make in dating.
If you want to move towards feeling confident and secure when looking for love, grab your copy of my 30-day dating guide "From Anxious to Secure."