Love doesn’t follow a formula. As a result, it can sometimes be hard to know whether you’re actually in an “official” relationship with somebody or not. In fact, in some situations, one person might believe that the relationship is “official” while the other doesn’t.
Knowing when to have the relationship talk, therefore, is important – if only to avoid confusion and heartbreak. For some people this conversation can take place after just a few weeks, others wait a little longer, perhaps dating for six months before declaring exclusivity.
In most relationships, one person will be pushing to make things official and the other waiting. But knowing when exactly to have “the talk” can be difficult. So when should you consider taking your relationship with a woman to the next level?
When to Have the Relationship Talk: After at Least Three Months
Although some men will want to make it official within just a few weeks – or days in extreme circumstances – relationships take time to build. In fact, neuroscience suggests that it’s best to wait at least three months before proposing exclusivity because of the effect that dating a new person has on our neurochemistry.
During those first few months of a relationship, our brains go into overdrive, releasing mountains of oxytocin. This is the feel-good brain chemical which heightens our sex drive and gets us interested in our new object of desire. It’s an evolutionary system with the sole purpose of getting us into bed with another person to procure the continuation of the species. But although it may feel good in the moment, it can also get in the way of our better judgement. We may have found a partner who is sexually attractive, but that doesn’t mean that they’re somebody that we will want to be with for the long haul.
A three-month period gives you enough time to figure out whether there’s more than just sexual chemistry driving your relationship forward. These first three months are your opportunity to discover whether your date shares your values. It also gives you enough time to assess whether this woman is sensitive enough to your needs.
You need to find out how they treat you over the long term. This means giving you time to spot signs of passive aggression- which usually becomes more serious in the future. It could also give you time see if this person is genuinely interested in your wellbeing, or just what you can offer them.
Although dating can often be disappointing, going through a trial period is essential to prevent heartbreak in the future. Dating for three months gives you the space you need to think objectively about whether the person you’re seeing is worthy of your long-term affections.
When to Have the Relationship Talk: After You Meet Her Friends
Most women want validation from their friends before committing to a relationship. As a result, it’s essential for men to meet with their friends – and get along with them.
Meeting your date’s friends can be a little nerve-wracking. They’ll be on the lookout for any signs that you’re not the right choice for their friend, and they won’t hesitate to tell her what they think when you’re gone. The trick here is to make sure that you’re the genuine, authentic person you believe that you are. Don’t sugarcoat your personality: act with virtue and her friends, if they’re good people, will automatically like you.
Although meeting your date’s friends might seem like it’s all about you, it’s actually a two-way street. You can learn a lot about her priorities from meeting her friends too. In fact, you may be able to gain insights about whether the relationship is worth pursuing from the quality of her mates.
If her friends are argumentative, petty and bigoted, then there’s a good chance that she also shares in those negative qualities. If, however, they’re courageous, informed and authentic, then you can assume that your date is too. The last thing you want is to be in a long-term relationship with someone who has friends you don’t like.
Make Sure You Meet Her Mom And Dad
Just as your date wants validation from her friends, she also wants approval from two other people with a lot of influence over her life. I’m talking about her mother and father. It’s important to understand before meeting her mom and dad what they’re looking for in a partner.
Most reasonable parents aren’t looking for a ready-made man with a flashy car, a big house and immediate resources to take care of their daughter and her children. What they want to know is whether you have the aptitude to provide a quality life for her in the future. Parents want their children to be well looked after in the long-term, and so new men are often scrutinized intensely, at least to begin with.
Before having the relationship talk, it’s a good idea to meet mom and dad. If you and your date decide to take things to the next level, there’s a good chance that you’ll be spending a lot more time with these people. Often, both yours and her parents’ first impressions last throughout the relationship, and so it’s good to work out whether you actually like each other ahead of time. If your relationship with your date’s parents is poor, it’ll be a constant source of anxiety for you both going forwards and may well lead to arguments.
Meeting the parents can also provide profound insights into the character of your date. According to some experts, the majority of the problems in romantic relationships stem from the fact that people don’t understand each other. But by meeting the parents, you’ll gain insight into your partner’s background, hopefully explaining why they behave and react how they do. By carefully observing the parents, you may be able to pre-empt potential problems before they have a deleterious impact on your relationship.
Assure A Strong Physical And Mental Connection
Human relationships involve the body and mind, both of which need to be strong before taking the relationship to the next level. Physical intimacy isn’t just about sex. In fact, it’s been shown scientifically that touch can bring people closer together and establish long-lasting bonds. A study involving more than 335 people found that those who engaged in non-sexual intimacy were actually happier with their sex lives than those that didn’t. Hand holding, hugs, and kisses are all good for building strong bonds that will make taking your relationship to the next level feel more organic.
A strong mental connection is also necessary. In practice, this means feeling comfortable – that is, not in danger – when around your date. If you are close to being exclusive, you shouldn’t have any high-stakes feelings about your woman. Rather, the relationship should have matured to the point where both people feel comfortable, even in the absence of conversation. Being with your date should be a non-threatening experience on a psychological level.
Staying emotionally connected with a woman during the dating period is, however, essential. You want to be increasingly open about your thoughts and feelings as you proceed. Make honesty the dominant theme so that you can share all aspects of your personality to test whether you’re compatible with your date. One way that men can emotionally connect with their dates is to “make her feel special” – in other words, do things that will make her feel good AND complement her personality.
It’s not just about sex: winning over the girl requires a little thought about what will make her feel happy. Don’t just go with the usual bouquet of flowers. Do something that will convince her that you’re thinking about her unique needs. For example, imagine you’re on a date with a woman who loves chocolate. Buying her a triple chocolate sundae will show her that you care about her wants. More importantly it demonstrates that you’re attentive, and that you’ve taken the time to remember something unique about her.
You Should Not Be Motivated to Date Anyone Else
It almost goes without saying that if you are considering taking things to the next level, you’re not thinking about dating anyone else. Usually, when you’ve found the right person, it’s clear from the outset, and anybody else you were thinking about suddenly falls out of the picture. But this doesn’t always happen, especially if you haven’t made a meaningful connection with your date.
When to Have the Relationship Talk: After You’ve Traveled with Her
Why is traveling with your date important before having “the relationship talk?” It turns out there are a whole host of good reasons: everything from their tolerance for stress to their ability to help you.
Even with the best planning, traveling throws up surprises. Travelling to new places always brings with it a sense of the unknown. Anything can go wrong, from losing your luggage to getting thrown in a dirty prison cell. Though it all, you can learn a lot about how your date reacts in more extreme circumstances, including stressful events, like losing luggage, missing a transfer, or feeling sick.
Traveling is also an excellent opportunity to observe your partner’s capacity to help you. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture means that both you and your date will need to rely on each other more than usual. Do they do their fair share of the organization, like arrange table reservations? Or do they leave it all to you? Worse still, do they expect you to do it and get angry if you don’t?
Finally, traveling is also an opportunity to find out whether you’re able to spend extended periods of time with a particular person. This is similar to the “airline test” that many companies use to test management. Often, during trips abroad, men find that their dates have annoying habits which weren’t apparent on previous outings.
You are Close to Saying “I Love You”
Finally, you want to make sure that before you decide to take your relationship to the next level that you have developed genuine feelings for the woman in question. Pursuing a relationship in which love is not on the cards is counterproductive, especially if the woman is harboring strong feelings towards you.
Though love is always a risk, it’s eventually one that men have to take. But be careful not to confuse love with desire: there’s a significant difference. Sustainable love is the involuntary response to virtue: it’s the emotional reaction you have to your date’s courage, integrity, and values. It’s something that you respect wholeheartedly and will continue to do so in the future. Desire, on the other hand, is related to the need to own and control- something which is usually anathema to happy coexistence with others.
It’s important for men, therefore, to understand the precise nature of their feelings. Do you have respect for the woman you’re dating? Do you look up to her as a role model and someone with integrity? Or do you just want to get into an official relationship with her to prevent anybody else sleeping with her? If it’s the latter, you ought to call things off.
Knowing exactly when to have the relationship talk is never easy, especially if you have a haven’t had too much experience. But there are a few guidelines, (some of which have been discussed in this article), which can really help. There is no precise moment that’s best for the relationship talk. Make it emerge naturally after a certain point- when your compatibility becomes clear. If you’ve traveled with the woman, met her friends and family, and are close to telling her that you love her, then it might be time to have the exclusive talk.
Of course, it’s not quite as formulaic as this. You might believe that the time is right to take things a step further, but she may not. This is why having a close emotional bond is so important: being able to sense how she feels will help you decide whether the time is right to ask for things to become “official.”
Remember, love isn’t all about mushy feelings- that’s just your biology trying to get you to have sex. It’s about the genuine respect you feel for another person based on their actions. If you’re a virtuous person, you’ll be involuntarily attracted to the virtue in another. What more reason could you want to take things to the next stage?
If you need more advice and an updated dating strategy, I’d love to help. Head on over to my calendar page and book a new client 1-on-1 Skype session with me. I love working with smart, hardworking people looking to reach their dating goals.