Should You Be Honest About What You're Looking For In Relationships Up Front? Yes, & Here's Why

You only have to exchange a few messages on a dating app before the inevitable question is raised: "What are you looking for?" Maybe you're not sure, so you say something like, "I'm up for anything!" or "I want to meet people and see what happens." So you get together, and halfway through your first drink, they hint at coming back to your place. Maybe you're into the idea, or maybe you're offended that your date doesn't seem interested in getting to know you. This is exactly why it's important to be honest about what you're looking for in relationships right from the start.

Even if you tell yourself you're open to anything, deep down, you're usually either ready for a relationship, or you're looking for something casual. And if you don't tell a potential date what you really want, you can't be upset if they try to steer your outing toward something more romantic or more physical.

Defining the relationship can be scary, and a few years ago, you could probably wait until things started getting serious to have that conversation. But with all the available ways to find a match today, there are so many more unspoken lines waiting to be crossed and potential opportunities to unintentionally hurt someone's feelings. In order to protect your heart and actually find the right partner for you, you should consider being more honest about what you're looking for from another person. Here are three other reasons why the sooner you have that initial discussion, the better you'll feel.

1You should always advocate for what you really want.

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Asking someone if they'd like to be your significant other on the second date might be a little intense. Asking what kind of relationship they're looking for and telling them what kind you're interested in is a powerful way to take control of your own love life. And the sooner you get in the habit of speaking up about your intentions, the easier it will be to communicate with anyone — a fling, a partner, a friend, and even a boss. You don't have to wait around for someone else to kick off an important conversation. It's 2018; if you want to speak up, you should!

2You don't want to waste your time (or anyone else's).

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No one can read your mind. You can assume all you want, but you have no way of knowing what another person is really thinking unless you talk to them. Feeling out a first date is one thing, but the earlier you bring up these questions, the better. If you find yourself texting your friends after the fifth, 10th, or 15th dates asking why this person isn't your partner yet, maybe you should try asking them. You'd probably be frustrated if you spent three months hanging out with someone, only to find out they just wanted a FWB, while you were interested in spending Valentine's Day together. Solution? Save yourself and the other person the time and possible heartbreak by having an honest conversation up front.

3You can establish a pattern of open communication early on.

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Communication is everything, so why not establish a pattern of openness and honesty right away? Whether or not you end up with this person long term, they'll respect and appreciate your direct approach to dating. Leveling with a potential partner from the get-go not only starts your relationship off on the right foot, but it's also such a simple way to show your maturity. Set the precedent of being an awesome date, hookup, or partner rather than reinforcing negative dating behaviors and helping to make them the norm.

We have to work together to break the cycle. It's easy to blame dating apps, the internet, and social media for people's sh*tty actions, but what about looking to ourselves? We want our dates to take us seriously, to feel comfortable talking to us, and to be honest with us about their feelings. If we expect this kind of behavior from others, it's only fair that we practice it ourselves.

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