Transitioning from dating to a relationship is an interesting topic we get asked about a lot.
Simply put, taking the step from loosely dating to being in an exclusive relationship is a big one – one of the first big steps in what is hopefully a lifetime of love and growth.
Because so many people want to know how to approach this delicate topic, we decided to create a post going over how to know whether or not to be exclusive.
We are going to take a simple, actionable approach that starts with you asking yourself some questions, followed by talking to your dating partner about these same things.
Are YOU Ready to go from Dating to a Relationship?
Before you even begin to make the jump from dating to a relationship, you need to determine whether or not you are ready for this kind of transition in your life.
Do you see a future with this person?
First, the most obvious question – do you see yourself having a future with the person in question?
Part of dating is to figure out how you and another potential romantic interest are compatible. You learn about each other’s likes and dislikes, as well as each other’s morality, religion, and political alignment.
Assuming that all of these align, you need to take a deep hard look and ask yourself the question: do you see a future with this person?
Consider some of the following factors when asking yourself this question:
Do your career paths align?
If you are on a career path that eventually will require you to move out of town, state, or country, you need to know whether or not your dating partner’s life would be positively or negatively affected by this. If you have plans to move out of country eventually, but your dating partner wants to stay where he or she is at, then there may not be a compatible future there.
However, if you both see yourselves going to the same places and having the same overall life goals, then you will probably have a compatible future with this person!
Do you see eye-to-eye when it comes to children?
While just being in a relationship may seem too early to determine compatibility when it comes to the desire to have children, it is a very important topic to agree upon.
For example, if you do not want to have kids at all, but your dating partner wants to have children at some point, pursuing a relationship together will waste both of your times, resulting in heartbreak and resentment. We’ve seen this happen to many people before.
Are your lifestyles compatible?
Everybody has their flow, their lifestyle. This can consist of many things including health, fitness, bed times, and more.
If you are a fairly healthy person that wants a partner who will work out with you, then make sure who you’re wanting to move forward with also sees that in their life.
Continuing on that thought process, do you both have the same sleep schedule? A lot of relationships in the modern era result in cohabitation, where two people in a relationship move in together to determine whether or not they are ready for marriage. Could your current sleep schedule and other behaviors allow for future cohabitation with this person?
Does it feel right?
We are about to drop that big word…chemistry. Do you guys have chemistry? If you don’t find yourself naturally connecting with this person, it may not be wise to transition from dating to a relationship with them.
You need that natural chemistry in order to maintain a relationship that is both wholesome and romantic. If you are awkward around each other and just don’t seem to click, then this may not be the one for you, and that’s okay.
Hopefully these questions get your brain going, but there are so many more to ask yourself.
Our number one tip we can give you is to not think of just the short term. Focusing only on what feels good right now is a way to develop an unhealthy relationship. This mindset can also bleed into other areas of your life such as your financial or physical health.
Always make sure to look at the long game when it comes to things. You don’t want to feel good immediately just to feel awful for years to come.
Part of being a sophisticated man (i.e. a gentleman) is having the willpower and know-how to resist immediate satisfaction, even when it comes to dating and relationships.
Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions and more, it’s time to look at the next step if you find yourself to see a future with the person you’re dating:
Is your PARTNER Ready to transition from dating to a relationship?
Transitioning from dating to a relationship isn’t a decision just one person makes.
A relationship involves two people who are committed to working together to improve themselves and live a long, loving, and healthy life.
If you alone decide to press the relationship onward from just dating, then you are not taking your partner’s wants or needs into consideration. This can result in relationship strain and resentment for each other.
With that said, you need to have a mature dialogue with the person that you find yourself compatible with.
A lot of men, especially younger men, may be nervous having this discussion.
Part of being a man is being smooth and confident with your approach to situations – you need to apply this even to conversations with somebody you’re dating or in a relationship with!
Here are some tips we can give you to help you approach a mature conversation with the person you’re dating about making that transition into a relationship.
Be Clear and Concise about Your Desires
Without pressuring the person you’re dating, you need to make sure to be clear and concise with them about how you would like things to move forward.
Before you begin the conversation, let them know, “I want to talk to you about where this is going, if that’s okay with you.” Most times, the person you’re dating will be perfectly fine talking with you about the trajectory of your dating life/relationship.
Once you’ve gained permission, discuss with that person how you see the compatibility between you two. This gives your potential partner the opportunity to raise any objections. If they do, let them speak without being judgmental or argumentative. Their feelings and opinions are as valid as yours and will give you valuable feedback on your personal discoveries in regard to how a future relationship would look between the two of you.
After this discussion, everything should be out on the table and all doubts or reservations handled in a non-argumentative manner.
Ask Where Your Dating Partner Sees Things Going
One of the most important things you can do during this conversation is not just hear but listen to your partner.
After you’ve established the grounds of the conversation and how you feel and hope things work out between the two of you, you need to ask your potential partner, “How would you see this moving forward?”
Let them explain themselves and offer reassurance where necessary. Reassurance should be honest and not manipulative – don’t lie to make them do what you want, that is a surefire way to not be a proper man!
Depending on the outcome of the two-way dialogue we suggested here, it’s time to move forward.
If you both decided to transition from dating to a relationship, then you are now both exclusively seeing each other. Because of this, you need to take the time to cut ties with anybody else you were going on dates with.
On the other hand, if you come to the conclusion together that a relationship is not the best idea, it could be for two reasons…
First, it could be because you two are just not compatible in the long term. In this case, that’s completely fine! We want to make a point here to stress that this scenario is very normal when dating. Not everybody you are interested in is your life partner.
Do not let this outcome derail you in any way or cause you to become upset at your dating partner. Remember, this is a choice two people must fully agree on. If he or she doesn’t feel like it’s time to move forward because of compatibility issues, then respect that and understand it is truly for both party’s best interest.
Second, a not making the transition from dating to relationship could also be because there’s just more to discover about each other! In this case, keep going on dates and learning more about one another. When the time is right, either you or your partner will reintroduce this dialogue again. When that occurs, reread this article to help you through that discussion.
All in all, making the transition from dating to relationship status is a big one. It takes two people mutually agreeing upon a long-term future involved in each other’s lives.
Our goal with this article was to help guide you through the discussion that needs to take place to go from just dating to being in a committed relationship.
If this helped, feel free to share this article with any friends or family who could benefit from this advice!
At The Gentleman’s Playbook, all of our articles are crafted by men who have gone through these issues at one time or another – we speak with years of experience from many different viewpoints!