Watch Your Relationship Grow
Relationships — platonic, romantic, or familial — are a fundamental part of the human experience. However, figuring out the dynamics and interpersonal cues within a relationship can be difficult. Not only that, but it can also be hard for people to figure out what they themselves want, especially when it comes to a potential romance.
Due to the complex nature
of this topic, give yourself time and space to process your emotions before you
make any decisions about what you want to do in a relationship. This will help
you feel grounded and confident about your choice, regardless of what it is.
As you consider whether you’re ready to move forward, look for these signs.
Sign Number 1: You Want More
As you might imagine, one of the most important things to look for when examining a relationship is whether or not a desire for more is present. It’s notable, though, that this does not just mean “more” intimacy. This also means more time, more commitment, more shared space, and more resources, among many other things.
However, wanting more doesn’t matter unless everyone’s current expectations and commitments are already being met by all involved parties. Taking a relationship to the next level doesn’t magically change anyone’s personality or style of relating. The point of this is to ensure that you want all the changes and increased interconnectedness that come with entering a new stage of a relationship. This requires an already-stable foundation and will not solve any existing issues.
Sign Number 2: You Feel Safe
If the relationship makes everyone involved feel secure, stable, and protected, that’s a great indicator that it can handle moving to the next level. This may sound obvious, but it’s a fundamental part of every strong relationship, and people overlook it far too often. Does your partner ever have moods or outbursts that cause you to question what they’ll do next? Have they ever done something that scared you? All too often, people brush such experiences under the rug, convinced that they’re isolated incidents. However, when these negative responses happen, more often than not, you’re actually seeing how your partner reacts to stress. It’s a bad idea to deepen a relationship with someone who behaves in ways that make you feel threatened or unsafe.
Sign Number 3: You Trust Each Other
This is another sign that may seem obvious but also tends to fly under the radar. If a relationship is ready to move to the next level, honesty feels safe and is a simple expectation — from both parties. Do you ever question if your partner is telling you the truth? Do you feel comfortable being truly and fully honest with them? If you aren’t sure, try tuning into yourself physically. Your body can tell you the truth even when your mind falters.
Sign Number 4: You Hold Yourselves Accountable
In a relationship, especially one that’s serious, it’s important that all involved parties know how to own up to their actions, and that they’re willing to admit when they’ve made a mistake and acknowledge what they could have done better. Both members of the relationship should feel comfortable apologizing when they mess up.
Sign Number 5: You Share Similar Values
You and your partner don’t need to agree on every single thing, but for the health and longevity of the relationship, it’s a good idea to check in and ensure that you agree on most or all of the big issues — the things that speak to fundamental moral and philosophical beliefs. Otherwise, as your relationship deepens, you could find yourself experiencing a divide that increases the tension in the relationship and ultimately results in both people’s unhappiness.
Sign Number 6: You Like the Physical Elements
Unless the relationship in question is solely about engaging in physical intimacy, moving your relationship to the next level isn’t all that likely to affect how you and a partner engage with each other. If you don’t feel like you’re receiving enough physical affection (or the right kind of physical affection) from your partner, simply moving your relationship to the next level isn’t going to fix any deficiencies. Be sure to address that issue first, and then discuss escalating things.
Sign Number 7: You’re Both Independent
A lot of people think that couples should do absolutely everything together. However, it’s actually more important that everyone involved has at least one activity, preferably more, that they do without their partner. These can be hobbies, self-care routines, or platonic hangouts, among many other options. These should be fun things, so your job doesn’t fulfill this requirement. It’s okay to do activities with your partner (vital, in fact), but both of you should be able to do things you enjoy without the other being present. By maintaining a degree of personal autonomy, you protect yourselves from falling into a state of unhealthy codependence.
Take Things At Your Own Pace
Of course, no human being — and therefore no relationship — is perfect. Nobody goes through life without making a few mistakes. These signs should be things you hopefully see reflected in your relationship most or all of the time. Though please note that there is no “most” when it comes to Sign 2, safety. If you do not feel safe 100% of the time, leave the relationship entirely.
You can use the above indicators to help you make your decision, but remember that this choice requires conscientious action, as well as an agreement from your partner. Additionally, even if all the indicators above are satisfied, there’s no obligation to take things to the next level. You and your significant other can take things as quickly or slowly as you both feel comfortable with. As long as your mutual happiness is the priority, you can find a satisfactory way forward.
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