It might sound old-fashioned to some, but commitment is something plenty of people are looking for in life.
As Match’s dating expert, I know modern dating has a bad reputation as being full of people looking for ‘no strings’ romance. But here’s a fact: the majority of questions I get are about finding long-term, committed relationships. If that’s what you’re looking for too, your dating goals are first, to identify what you want, and then, to get good at spotting people who want the same thing.
If you’re ready to #startsomethingreal, here are seven signs of commitment to look out for in your date’s behaviour.
Commitment sign 1 – They Give You Their Time
The first, most crucial ingredient for building a relationship is willingness to invest the time it takes to build that relationship with you. If you’ve not “clicked” with anyone recently, try making more time for dating and don’t be afraid to go on a few dates with the same person to see if it happens.
Likewise if you’re on the receiving end of someone who never seems available for a date, be prepared to let them go: the bare minimum you need for commitment is someone willing to give you the time it takes to get to know each other.
Commitment sign 2 – Consistency
It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of the first few dates: but remember you’re looking for a marathon not a sprint. So instead of jumping to a premature conclusion, take it steady and look out for someone who’s consistent. If they want to see you three times one week, then go quiet the next, they’re probably not the one. Look out for people who are always ready to make time for you.
Commitment Sign 3: They Respect Your Time
Of course you want to invest your time in people who speak to you, and treat you, kindly. But look out for people who respect your time. Relationships need time to grow, and someone who respects this isn’t going to expect to see you all the time from day one. Sometimes it’s nice to be spontaneous, but they should understand you have job commitments, a social life and other demands on your time, and book dates with you in advance.
Commitment Sign 4: Honesty
Nobody likes playing guessing games – so invest your time in people who bring clarity and stability to your life instead. If someone continually dodges the “what are we” talk, or is unable to commit due to other circumstances in their life, let it go. Even if they have a good reason to not want commitment, you have to know when to think “this just isn’t for me”.
If you know you want something more meaningful, you need to find someone who is open from the start about where you stand.
Commitment sign 5: Compromising
The ability to compromise is one of the most important ingredients for dating success. Your date shouldn’t always need to do things “their way”. Forming a relationship and bringing your lives together will involve a lot of adjustment: you’ll need to decide who you spend your weekends with, whose family you see at Christmas and a million other points of difference. It takes emotional maturity and fair-mindedness to balance out these conflicting demands, so prioritise people who recognise your needs as equal to their own.
Commitment Sign 6: Effort
Every successful relationship involves give and take, which means there will be times when things aren’t equal in workload, happiness, stress and more. While being supportive is a fantastic quality, you also need someone who works as hard at the relationship as you do, even if they show it in different ways.
There are some obvious signs of effort, like planning dates and splitting your time between your two homes. But keep an eye out for the little things, like loading the dishwasher, asking how your doctor’s appointment went, or going to see a film they don’t really want to because you do. Remember this goes both ways!
Commitment sign 7 – Acceptance
Nobody is perfect, but a strong relationship includes acceptance of who you are. You shouldn’t feel you’re being put on trial or overly scrutinised. A true sign of commitment is recognising that someone doesn’t need to be perfect to be a perfect match for you. The right people for you will listen and understand when you open up to them, and will learn to love your foibles even if you don’t.
These signs of committed behaviour are arguably far more important than someone looking the part. But remember it’s not just about finding someone who can bring them to the table, but finding the ability to give them back.
If you can accomplish this and look for someone who has similar relationship values, you will find there are lots of potential partners out there. So make sure to judge the people you meet on the right criteria, and to turn up to the dating process with an open mind as well as an open heart.