sponsored post : how do you know when you’re ‘in a relationship’?
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It’s coming up to the two-year mark for my relationship with my boyfriend. Two years feels both very long, and very short.
On one hand, I feel like we’ve been together forever and can’t quite remember what life was like pre-relationship. But on the other hand, I feel like two years is nothing in the scheme of things – our parents have been in their relationships for more than 20 years, so two suddenly feels quite inconsequential by comparison.
Reflecting on this, the thing that strikes me about reaching this milestone is remembering some of our first markers – from first dates, to first kisses, to the moment when I guess I realised that this was a serious, committed relationship.
For me, it happened very organically – we had been friends for years, so by the time we started dating it was pretty clear we were in this for the long haul.
But something that I have heard friends grapple with, and have indeed considered myself in the past is just when it becomes appropriate to label a romantic dalliance as ‘a relationship’.
I love you
Popular culture would have you believe that there are several important benchmarks that can signal the beginning of a ‘relationship’ – the first kiss, marking the change from friendship to true romance; the first time you sleep together; or the first time you say ‘I love you’.
My friendship circles have equally random markers of relationships – being together for a mandated three months, meeting your partner’s parents, or for some, even living together.
Looking at relationship advice pages on sites such as eHarmony can really help you decide what markers are most important to you.
To me, it seems that the moment when dating turns into a relationship is actually quite intangible – it’s something that kind of just happens. Slowly you realise that any uncertainties you had about each other are evaporating, and you become more and more integrated into each other’s lives.
A relationship is really just a shared commitment to a life together, and that isn’t something you can pin down, or link to a specific conversation, action or date. Perhaps for some, marriage is the true marker of commitment. I don’t subscribe to that personally, but I understand its importance for others.
Go with the flow
As wishy-washy as it might sound, my advice would be to just go with the flow. Stressing about whether or not a dalliance is ‘serious’, or whether you can call someone your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner straight away is going to put unnecessary strain on your relationship from the start.
Although it might seem a little annoying to hear, when you’re in a committed relationship, you just know, without ever having to say it out loud.
And you know what? That uncertainty at the beginning, when you’re not sure what’s happening, but everything is still so great and exciting? Well, that’s kind of the best part.