You’re in a romantic relationship that you want to turn into something serious. The relationship has been going on and on without turning that crucial corner—marriage or a commitment to be exclusive. You really love your partner, but how can you tell if they are serious about you in the same way?
The best way to know for sure is to reveal to your partner what you hope for and then ask what they want for the relationship. Put your feelings out there and then hear what they have to say. I understand however, that may sound scary to you. It’s normal to fear that honest and direct discussion because it leaves you vulnerable. If you still want an answer but you’re afraid to rock the boat, look for these 4 sure signals that will tell you whether your partner’s feelings are sincere.
Now, bear in mind, the lack of these 4 signals isn’t bad if you’re in a young relationship. If that’s the case, keep a watch on whether things develop. But if you’ve been together for more than a year and you don’t see the below signs, you have to be honest with yourself. You either need to change what you’re looking for or change your partner.
1. Future discussions: Partners in love (or committed to one another) are comfortable talking and fantasizing about the future—whether it be next weekend, holiday season or year. When you talk about the future together, it underscores a desire to be together, and it says, “I see you as an important part of my life.” The absence of any such hopeful plans is not a good sign. Also, if you start talking about future plans and your partner changes the subject or gets defensive, you are getting a message you should listen to—even if you don’t want to hear it.
2. Family and friend introductions: Someone who is serious about you wants you to know and spend time with their friends and family. They want to show you off. Ask yourself whether you know most or all of the people who matter to your partner. Also, just as important, someone who is sincere wants to know and impress your family and friends.
3. Emergency contact: Partners who are serious about each other know where and how to contact each other at all times. In case of an emergency, aren’t the two of you a team? Also, if your partner is talking about how they need space or privacy, ask for specifics (how long and for what)? It is one thing to want independence, which is OK, and another to want space.
4. Expression of love. If your partner is serious about you, they should be able to say “I love you,” without being prompted.
Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®) is a relationship expert for OurTime.com, as well as a professor, therapist, research scientist, and author of 5 best-selling books, including “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship,” available on Amazon.com. Learn more about her at: DrTerriTheLoveDoctor.com.