Relationships happen in phases. You don't simply meet someone, throw caution to the wind and head to city hall for a marriage license.
There are a few steps in the middle there that slowly get you to the point of being completely committed and settled -- and each of them come with their own surprises and challenges.
1. Making it official.
There comes a time, after a few dates, for that awkward chat about what exactly is going on between you two.
Hopefully, you're both on the same page.
This is usually when the terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" get dropped as you discuss if you'll be seeing other people. It's also the part where you talk about what each of you wants for the near future.
This is where the fuck boys and the flaky girls typically run for the hills.
2. Bringing them home.
Regardless of home being your actual family's house or the place you live in with your roommates, home is where the heart is. Bringing a new person into the place you call home says a lot about how serious you are.
If they meet the family and they are well-received, that's a great start.
By getting closer to those around you, they'll know you mean business and they'll get to know a different side of you.
That will either give them more reasons to love you or it will make them take a step or two back.
3. Leaving your toothbrush.
Just like DNCE sings, this is kind of a big deal!
You have let them see your unkempt morning hair and your favorite oversized sleep shirt.
It's not about who you want to spend the night with, but who you want by your side in the morning, and leaving some essentials at each other's places is a huge step.
4. Moving in together.
At a certain point, keeping work clothes, gym stuff, toiletries and groceries at your SO's place gets to be a little much.
Why not save some money and just live together already? For me, this decision was not only romantic and exciting, but it was going to make my life a thousand times easier.
I was no longer stuck without my work uniform at one place or the other. You have all your things and your love in one spot.
5. Mentioning weddings.
It's pretty clear you guys have said the L word already.
The next topic to actually say out loud will be the one with the white dress and the fancy vacation to follow.
It's easier to talk about when you have friends getting married because you can say things such as, “I like blah blah, what about you?” in an effort to find out what they're into.
Starting to think about the big day will prepare you for it when it becomes a reality. That means way less stress and planning.
6. Getting a pet together.
From what I understand, having an animal together is much like a real baby except it will never speak your language and it probably wont outlive you.
But it's still a huge commitment!
You'll have to agree upon how to train it, make sure it gets fed and walked and plan your travels accordingly. These are very adult things to do and you can only do them with someone you trust.
From there, it's really just crossing your t's and dotting your i's! You know you've fallen in love with a person you can depend on, talk to and be around with minimal effort.
If you've got extra milestones in between or more phases of your relationship, that's even better. Each relationship is different.
As long as you're both happy, you're ready for whatever the next step may be.
Originally written by Gwendolyn Poppe on Unwritten