At what point do you really know a person? After a few weeks? A few months? Maybe a few years! It’s different for everyone, but when it comes to spending the rest of your life together, some certainty would be ideal. There are many stages to dating. Firstly, meeting each other, then getting to know each other better, committing to a relationship together—and then the big one— deciding this is your forever person. But how long should you date before getting to that step? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help figure it out.
Have you lived together before?
While not everyone believes in living together before getting engaged for various reasons (cultural and personal), it is a great way to see if you’re compatible with your significant other. You can learn a lot by living with someone. You’ll discover how you each deal with home expenses, the best way to divvy up household chores, their daily habits, and the quirks you may not see outside of a home setting. Some classic examples: do they dispense their toilet paper roll from the front or the back? Do they squeeze their toothpaste from the middle or rear of the tube?
You’ll get to see each other on your cranky mornings, when you’re running late and you need to decide who gets to use the washroom first, as well as the evenings when you come home from work and may have had a bad day. All of these experiences will give you additional insight into your future together.
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Have you traveled together before?
Traveling is a true test of whether you can get along with someone or not. It takes problem-solving, planning, and time management skills and puts them to the test, all while being in a brand new environment. What better way to see firsthand how your significant other deals with being lost in a new city or a flight delay? You may discover you both love making itineraries and waking up early to get the most out of your trip. Discovering these sorts of things about each other is a great way to bond and shed a light on how similar situations would be handled in your everyday life together!
Can you have the important conversations?
Before you get engaged it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page. Having important and sometimes difficult conversations are necessary. For example, deciding when, and if to start a family should be something you both agree on. Do you both want children, or does only one of you want children? Is one enough, or are you both on board to procreate your own football team?
Are you religious and do you expect your partner to convert? Did you want to be married in a church, or are you dead set on a non-denominational wedding? Does your partner want you to sign a prenup? Do you plan on having separate bank accounts, or merging them into one? It may sound like a lot to think about, but no matter how long you date, these questions need to be answered before you get engaged.
How do they make you feel?
The surefire way to know if you’ve dated long enough to become engaged is to answer the simplest questions: Do I love them? Am I ready to spend my life with them? If you can answer that without hesitation then you’re ready. There’s no time limit on love. You can marry someone after knowing them for a year, or after knowing them for a few months. When your life goals are aligned and love and respect are there, you’re definitely ready!