Finding someone you want to spend time with and date seems to be a challenge and half these days. But if you do find that certain someone you can see yourself with, I’m happy for you. Taking the next step in your relationship can be great, but it can also come with some scary leaps.
When do you know to take the next step in your relationship?
Trust is the most important thing in a relationship, and there is no foundation for healthy communication, intimacy, or accountability without it. If you and your partner have each other’s backs and completely trust each other, you will know you are ready to take the next step. (Whatever that step might be.)
Trust is not something that should be given right away. It takes time to earn someone’s trust, and it should take time for you to trust someone. But if you can establish trust, you will reap its benefits.
Support doesn’t happen without trust and care. It’s the actions that define your trust. Support at its fundamental idea is that you are there for your partner and vice versa. Your wins are theirs, and their losses are yours.
Support shows up in a few different ways, but one of the simplest is asking your partner how they are doing without bringing up anything on your mind. It lets you be available for them, and hopefully, they can do the same to you when you need it.
Feeling safe with your partner only happens when you trust them, and there is some sort of support when they need it. You usually don’t feel safe with just anyone. Otherwise, the world would be a much different place. Safety in your relationship is a gut feeling, and you just know it when you feel it. It’s being your authentic self 100% of the time without fear of judgment from your partner.
Intimacy is a combination of trust, support, and feeling safe. You just aren’t intimate with anyone – that is something earned. And while the view of sex has become more casual with our generation, there is more to intimacy than physical.
Honestly, being physically intimate is the easy part, at least for me. It’s being emotionally intimate and letting someone past my walls and let them see the real me, the anxious, slightly depressed comedic genius that I am. Most days, no one knows what’s going on with me, and very few people have ever had the role in my life of being that support for me. Like I said, intimacy is hard-earned, especially for emotionally unavailable ones.
Accountability is, at its core, support. Sometimes we do dumb things or make mistakes that turn into bad habits. Whatever the case may be, having a partner who can call us out and hold us accountable to our values while still making us feel safe and supported is truly the mark of a great partner and a healthy relationship.
Yes, you are in a relationship. Yes, your partner is heavily involved in your life. However, you should still be independent of each other. You need things that are separate from each other to not get lost in each other’s identity. You are individuals who make up a couple, so don’t lose sight of your individuality.
Talk about money
Finances are one of the biggest stressors in relationships. Not everyone views and treats money the same way, and if you and your partner don’t see eye to eye on it, you can start to bump heads. Learn to communicate about money. It will take time and practice, but, in the long run, you will only be doing yourselves a favor. The last thing you want is to break up with someone you love because you can’t come to an understanding over what to save or what to spend.
The next step
Taking the next step can be scary, but it can also be life-changing. Although, most things that are life-changing are pretty scary. Only you can tell if you are ready to take your relationship to the next level and no one else, not even your partner. So if you aren’t ready to move in with them, get married, or get a dog together, tell them. Communicate how you feel and why you feel that way. Maybe you aren’t ready right now. Maybe you’ll never be ready. Whatever the case may be, your partner deserves to know so that you can take steps accordingly.