Is this Official? His Point of View

So how do you know if you’re on the road to becoming a real couple, or if things are going to stay casual forever? According to guys.

When you start dating someone and things are going really well, there is usually shift towards being super casual with each other and becoming more serious. This shift typically starts happening before you’re comfortable enough to speak up and be like, “Hey, what are we doing? Are we exclusive? Are we not? Let a girl know!” And because you’re so paranoid about what’s going through his head, and how he feels, and whether or not you’re on the road to being Facebook official, you might miss some of the signs that things are getting serious.

So how do you know if you’re on the road to becoming a real couple, or if things are going to stay casual forever? A bunch of real dudes talked about in an Ask Reddit thread, and I’m sharing the responses. Here are 12 signs your relationship is getting serious, according to guys:

You Feel Less Pressure

mudra311: I think what I noticed, with my last relationship, was that she could literally show up to my apartment unannounced and I’d be happy to see her. We were so comfortable that things just ‘worked’ like that. In a weird way, when things get serious they feel more casual. When things are casual they feel more serious, if that makes sense.I love the last part of this! I knew my boyfriend and I were serious when I felt like the pressure was off. I wasn’t always stressing about when I should call him or what I should wear. Things felt more casual, which sounds weird, but it’s true.

You Don’t Feel Like You Always Have To Look Amazing

mrsmeltingcrayonsFemale: When you’re comfortable sending them pictures of you with weird faces that are really, really unflattering.Whether it’s sending horrifying Snapchat pictures, going to his house with no makeup on, or letting him see you while you’re crying and sick, being able to be your true self is a really important sign.

Other People Always Expect Him To Be With You

curiosity_abounds: I started to realize it was more serious when close friends invite me to dinners/hangouts/events and it’s assumed that he is coming with me. I realized then that others saw we were getting serious, and they approved of him being around.When things are casual, no one expects you to bring the person around all the time. But when things are more serious, people ask where your SO is when you show up to things alone, because they just assume you’ll be together.

Bathroom Stuff Is No Longer A Huge Issue

ViciousNakedMoleRat: You poop, while she’s at your place. I remember when one of my friends told me she knew things were real with her BF: it was because they could talk about pooping without feeling weird. Hey, you might never chat about your bathroom habits with your BF, but when you feel comfortable enough to do stuff while he’s around (even if you’re not talking about it), you know you’re pretty comfortable.

You Can Hang Out Together While Doing Your Own Thing

Kimbenn: With my current relationship, I knew things were serious when we could do opposite things in the same room, without talking, and still be content with being with each other. As college students one of us might be studying while the other is goofing off or both of us are studying, yet we still enjoy the presence of the other. In short, awkward silences aren’t awkward.You know you’re really comfortable with each other when you can hang out while he’s doing his homework and you’re watching your favorite show, and you go a while without talking… and it doesn’t feel weird.

You Know Each Other’s Schedules

mudra311: I remember dating someone for a month or even a few weeks and its like pulling teeth finding a schedule that works. Being in a serious relationship wasn’t like that at all. I knew everything she was doing for the week beforehand, and she knew my schedule as well. In between we would just say we were hanging out or not. I remember almost never being told we couldn’t do something. If she had to study, I would just hang and watch TV or play video games. That’s what I really miss about being with someone.Yes! Exactly!

You Start Spending More Time Together Than Apart

Leesure_: When you spend more nights together than apart it’s usually a sign. When my boyfriend and I first started dating, we took things slow and only saw each other once a week. When I realized I was seeing him every other day, I knew things were getting to a pretty serious level.

When You Include Him In Plans Without Really Thinking About It

Kudhos: I’d say when she starts making plans and include you in them. When a friend is like, “Hey, you can bring so-and-so!” and you’re like, “Cool, I definitely will!” and you assume he’ll go even before you ask, you know things are at a pretty real level.

You Start Leaving Your Things At His House

BonjourMyFriends: There’s a box of tampons in my bathroom.You know things are getting serious when you feel comfortable leaving your stuff at his place because you know you’ll be able to get it again shortly.

You Guys Respond To Each Other Pretty Quickly

wtknight: One thing I always notice is that both myself and my partner start returning calls and messages right away. If it’s casual then people return messages when it’s convenient for them. Exactly.

You Meet His Family, He Meets Yours

Work-AfterMale: I would never introduce someone to my family if we weren’t somewhat serious.When you live with your parents, it’s almost impossible for you not to meet your BF’s parents or for him to meet yours. But when you start to introducing him to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, that’s when you know things are getting to a different level.

You Start Talking About The Future More

arrogant_ambassador: The dialogue changes. There is a sense of longevity, the idea that you will see each other in a week, a month. You begin to plan ahead, to discuss multi-tiered outings.If you’re really casual, you’re pretty careful not to talk about plans in the future, whether it’s a month or year away. When you feel like you’ll still be together in the future, you talk about it with ease.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

I Took a Relationship Hiatus for 18 Months

What abstaining from romantic love taught me about myself.

A while ago, I ended an unhealthy relationship and decided to give dating a wide berth for the foreseeable future. That turned out to be 18 months. I made the decision not out of bitterness or because I didn’t want to love again, and not even because my heart had received a sucker punch. It definitely had (multiple times).

But I realized that after my last relationship, I didn’t recognize myself. I felt so far removed from the person I wanted to be. I knew I needed to get to know myself, not a man.

Women spend so much time learning who we’re supposed to be that we forget to pay attention to who we actually are. The fear of being alone drives us towards men with whom we are ultimately (and sometimes glaringly) incompatible.

And one day it occurred to me that I was unfit to be anyone’s partner until I could stand to be myself.

Step 1: Face down my own emotions

I took some time to feel what I hadn’t let myself feel: all of the pain, abandonment, insecurity, etc. that had accumulated throughout my adult life. It socked me in the jaw. But I faced it down and began dealing with it. At first, I was terrified. I felt the suffocating loneliness of dating withdrawals. I panicked when, with no one else around, I stood face to face with my own demons.

But here’s the incredible thing: it didn’t last forever. After a few months, I learned new, healthier ways to deal with loneliness. The negative voices gradually softened. Like exercising a new muscle, my confidence and sense of self-worth strengthened.

Step 2: Date myself

It started with simply learning to be with myself. I took long walks and I thought. I took time to do exactly what I wanted to do. I wrote a novel. I read my favorite authors and watched my favorite films. I realized that while I love company, I don’t necessarily need it to be happy. Everything I need is already contained within me. Self-soothing is a wonderful skill we somehow acquire as babies and promptly forget once we reach adulthood. I’m proud to say I rediscovered it.

Step 3: Rekindle platonic love

Then I focused on my platonic relationships. I received so much more love than I could ever have anticipated. My friend recently told me I’m much easier to be around now than I was a year and a half ago. Taking this time to clear my own head opened up myriad possibilities — I cultivated friendships and relationships with family that I had neglected, began a new career path that I had dreamed of but never had the courage to pursue, and above all, in committing my love to those dear to me, I learned how to love myself.

Step 4: Set new #relationshipgoals

Affirming my choice not to date was liberating. I know now that if and when I do enter into a new relationship, I will do so as a more capable and compassionate partner. I also learned that I’m fine being alone. I faced my demons and came out alive.

There were times when I miss being kissed. I miss holding a man’s hand or the back-and-forth repartee that accompanies a first date. But I also recognize that it’s worth waiting for. I refuse to accept anything less than exactly what I want.

If it’s not out there, so be it. I’ll be ok. I have friends and family who love and support me. I have a new career that constantly challenges and rewards me. I’m enough.

Loved this? Discover more stories about finding yourself while single on Love TV.

Valentine’s Day Is Great, But Here Are My Favorite Ways to Show Love All Year Round

On a mission to set my marriage up for success, I’ve made a plan to bring Valentine’s Day to every month.

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day.

As a kid, I always looked forward to collecting paper Valentine’s Day (especially the ones that came with candy or temporary tattoos). As I got older, I loved going out for special dates and getting spoiled with gifts or flowers. Plus, no matter what my age or relationship status, I’ve always looked forward to the day after Valentine’s Day when I can score all the half-priced candy.

All around, it’s a good holiday in my book.

And yet, I’m always left wanting more. Not to say that the holiday is disappointing, but I wish that Valentine’s Day didn’t end so quickly. I want to celebrate my relationship, and have an excuse to do something special, all year long.

This year is my fiancé and my last Valentine’s Day as a unmarried couple, and as our wedding gets closer, we want to do everything we can to set our marriage up for success. So, we’ve been focusing on bringing the spirit of Valentine’s Day to every part of the year and practicing showing each other love whenever we can.

Boy, has it made a difference! It’s amazing what a small gesture can do, and how easy it is to make your partner’s day. It brings you closer together, makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and reminds you both of how much you love each other.

Here are some ways that you too can bring Valentine’s Day to every month:

1. If your partner likes flowers and chocolates… buy them more often

Valentine’s Day flowers

Last year, I made a point to make pies during the Summer. Why? I love pie, and I realized I hadn’t had a slice for months. I only thought to buy or make pies during November and December, because I thought of them as a “holiday only” dessert.

I had ten whole other months to enjoy pie that I wasn’t taking advantage of. And that’s just silly.

It’s the same thing with Valentine’s Day.

Every year when February hits, stores stock up on their flowers and chocolates. It’s always fun to see the heart-shaped candies and beautiful roses in vases, but we shouldn’t be waiting for February to get our partners some chocolates or buy them flowers.

If your significant other likes those chocolate turtles (don’t we all?), surprise him or her with a box of them any time of the year. If your honey loves fresh flowers, you’ve got a whole 12 months to buy them. Plus, different flowers will be in season at different times, so you can bring home a different bouquet every time.

I love dark chocolate, and it means so much when my fiancé brings some home just because. It’s a nice way to say he was thinking of me and getting a special treat always makes me happy.

Okay, okay, I’ll admit: some things are strictly seasonal. You’ll have to wait for that pumpkin spice latte and it’s hard to find peppermint bark in June. Just don’t miss out on an opportunity to surprise your sweetie with a special treat he or she loves.

2. Valentine’s cards aren’t just for February, share your thoughts whenever you can

I love Valentine’s Day cards. They’re cute, romantic, and sometimes a little dirty.

Giving your partner a card on Valentine’s Day is nice, but it might mean even more when you give them one out of the blue. Surprising your love by writing some nice things in a card and slipping it into their bag before work, or packing it with their clothes before a business trip, can go a long way.

It’s sweet, flirty, and could really brighten up their day. Play with the idea of getting a few romantic cards during the Valentine’s season, and using them all year. You can write a funny poem, list some things you love about your relationship, or write something sexy. It’s sure to make your partner feel special and appreciated.

Not into the card idea? Maybe stick to text. I’ll never forget the time my fiancé sent me some photos he’d taken of flowers in a garden, saying he was thinking of me. It was such a simple thing, and only took a minute to do, but it really brightened my day and reminded me of how much he cares about me.

3. Plan romantic date nights all year round

My fiancé and I are so busy with work, grad school, and life in general, that our date night dinners usually turn into scarfing down Chipotle in front of the TV before going to bed.

Oh, the romance.

You don’t have to wait until February (or you anniversary) to have a special meal together. Make a plan to have those romantic date nights on non-holiday times.

When my fiancé and I want to have a romantic meal, we love going to this cute little Greek restaurant down the street. But don’t assume that you have to go out to have a good time. You can stay home, dim the lights, pour some wine, and even light some candles.

If you and your honey work late or have kids, downsize the same idea to a late-night dessert. Even with less time, you’ll get the same benefit. You’ll spend some uninterrupted alone time together and get a chance to turn up the romance.

4. Breakfast in bed isn’t just for special occasions

make every day valentine's day

Speaking of meals, I love breakfast in bed. It’s one of those Valentine’s Day traditions that should really be an “everyday thing.” Yet, somehow, most of us have to go to the kitchen for breakfast every single day. Exhausting.

Make one day a week (or maybe one morning a month) a “breakfast in bed day.” It doesn’t have to be a big deal: toast a couple slices of bread, scramble some eggs, pour that coffee, and share it with your honey in your room. It could make a lazy Saturday the best day of the week.

Or, if you’re not sure you can get out of bed in the morning without waking your light-sleeping cutie, plan a stay-at-home breakfast date. I love to put on my cute pajamas, slip on those bunny slippers, and make breakfast with my fiancé.

You can flip pancakes while your honey squeezes orange juice, then sit down to watch some saturday morning cartoons. It’s a nice way to relax together, and this special date is the perfect way to show you care without breaking the bank.

5. Give “just because” presents

There’s always pressure to give gifts at holidays or anniversaries, but I find that the more I expect to get gifts, the less I really enjoy them. I already know I’m getting a present, so when it’s not exactly what I want, I might feel a little disappointed, rather than thankful, like I should.

And yet, whenever my fiancé brings home a DVD of a movie I wanted to see but missed in theaters, or orders me a funny cat t-shirt off Amazon, I’m always amazed and incredibly grateful. I wasn’t expecting anything, so even the smallest, silliest thing will seem so sweet.

Surprise your cutie with a little something every now and then, it doesn’t have to be much: maybe just grab a trinket the next time you’re in Target or buy a magazine you think your partner will like when you’re at the grocery store. A little can go a long way, and it tells your special someone that you were thinking of them, which makes it even better.

6. Walk down memory lane

Sometimes we forget to appreciate each other, and all the things we’ve done together. Bringing up a fun date night or looking at some old pictures can really spark those romance vibes and remind you of fun memories.

I like to surprise my fiancé with a framed picture from a special day or even just share a post on Facebook from this time last year. Looking back on memories you’ve shared can make you both feel especially appreciative of your relationship.

7. Plan an event

You don’t need to wait for a special day to plan an event. It’s popular to buy tickets for a show or concert to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but there are fun events going on all year.

Planning an activity is a nice gesture that tells your partner that you want to do cool things with them, and it’s a great way to bond over memorable experiences.

My fiancé and I love seeing comedy shows, so we’re always on the lookout for when our favorite comedians are coming to town. It’s so much fun to go out and do something extra special once in a while, and we get to share something we both love.

Of course, not everyone’s bank accounts will allow for an event every weekend, but getting tickets to a midnight movie or concert a few months in advance will give you something to look forward to together, and that’s half the fun.

8. Remember to listen

make everyday valentine's day

While little surprises and kind gestures will go a long way, communication may be the most important thing in your relationship.

I always try my best to show an interest in what my fiancé says, because I know how important it is to feel listened to.

There’s nothing more romantic, and nothing that will show how much you care, more than listening to your partner. Focus on their stories, ask questions about their day, and take care to remember what they talk about so you can ask about it later. Showing how interested you are in their successes, and their challenges, will mean so much to your beau, and will help your love thrive.

Because I always have so much fun on Valentine’s Day, I use these practices to bring the Valentine’s Day spirit to my relationship, and soon, my marriage, all year long. Hopefully some of my tips will help you and your partner to show your love all year round too.

Need some more ideas for Valentine’s Day? Check out 17 Ways to Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day if You’re Tired of Flowers and Candy, How To Show Love By Making a Difference This Valentine’s Day, or Perfect Bedroom Tips for Valentine’s.