Nothing can put a damper on your relationship excitement like hearing that special someone say, “I’m not ready yet.” But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Here are some tips for handling some of the most important steps in your relationship when your partner isn’t exactly on the same page.

Becoming Exclusive

Are you ready to become an “official” couple? That’s great! But make sure you’ve checked off these boxes before doing so:

  • Dating consistently for at least a few weeks
  • Checking in with each other pretty regularly on days where you don’t meet up
  • Clicking on some of the key values that matter to you, like faith, lifestyle or marriage

Once you’ve hit these benchmarks, it’s safe to put the idea of exclusivity on the table. If your partner shows some hesitation, don’t be alarmed; they just might need a little time to think about it. Ask them to ponder the idea and get back to you. If things still haven’t progressed in a few weeks, it may be time to move on.

Meeting The Family

Ready to introduce your sweetie to the family? Here are three main factors to consider:

  • Location: If you only need to drive 30 minutes to visit Mom and Dad, it can be a simple Sunday brunch meet-up. If your family lives across the country, you’ll want to be more serious before you ask your honey to plunk down hundreds of bucks to spend a long weekend with your family.
  • Family Ties: When you’re not super-tight with your family, it takes a little pressure off for your significant other. But if your Mom is your BFF and you’re a total daddy’s girl, expect your partner to be a little more anxious about a meet-up.
  • Timing: A casual weekday dinner with your parents vs. Rosh Hashanah celebrations with the extended family: huge difference.

Choose a good time to meet based on location, relationships and timing. And don’t forget to consider your partner’s anxiety – it can be scary to meet the parents! But if your significant other continues to resist on this point, it just might not be the right fit for you.

Moving In Together

There are no set guidelines for moving in, of course, but it’s recommended that you hit a few relationship milestones before that point, particularly the following:

  • Dating for at least 6 months (even longer if you are younger or have kids)
  • Saying “I love you” to each other
  • Talking about your future together

One thing to avoid with this step is moving in with each other for convenience. If it’s a matter of a roommate moving out or a lease ending, do not use it as an excuse to cohabitate. Make this decision independent of convenient circumstances – it should be about your relationship and where you want it to go.

Getting Engaged

This step requires the most thought of all. Is this person your beshert? Are you ready to commit to each other for life? When you’re ready to take your relationship to this next level, start talking timelines with your partner. How long do they need to think things over? If you’re aren’t engaged after another year, will you be ready to move on? Don’t deliver ultimatums, but do be honest about how you feel.

Being ready to commit rarely comes at the exact same time for each member of a couple, but that doesn’t mean that the next step is out of reach. Use these tips to help bring your relationship to the next level while strengthening your bond as a couple.

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