You’ve met someone, started a relationship, you’re happy and everything’s great. Both of you are really enjoying dating and you see each other at least a few times a week.
As time goes by, this may lead you to start thinking about how your relationship will progress in the longer term and whether or not you are ready to take your relationship to the next level. It could be that you want to introduce them to your best friends or your parents. Or that you are ready to start living together.
What’s certain is that, beneath your own thoughts and feelings, you’re subtly trying to pin down how your partner feels and whether they feel your relationship is at the same stage.
Be honest about what you want
If you feel you’re ready to take the next step, then have an open and honest conversation with your partner about whether they feel the same. You might be avoiding this conversation because you’re worried that they aren’t ready yet, but you won’t know until you ask, so stop beating around the bush and tell them how you feel.
Pick the right moment to bring it up
Consider carefully the timing of this conversation. It’s an important discussion so don’t try to broach it when your partner is running out the door or falling asleep on the sofa, as they won’t be giving you their full attention. Go for dinner at a quiet restaurant, or prepare a meal at home, and use this as your opportunity.
Don’t be disheartened if they’re not there yet
The chat you have about stepping up your relationship may not turn out exactly how you envisaged, but try not to be disheartened. You might find, for example, that your partner doesn’t think you have been in a relationship long enough to cohabit, even though you think it would be great, and it’s important to respect their views. If you keep pushing they may become resentful, so let them know that, when they’re ready, you’re ready. Then don’t mention it again until they do, simply focus on enjoying your relationship as it is.
If they are the right person for you, the chances are they’ll welcome the opportunity to discuss where you both are in your relationship in a calm and practical way.