You’ve gone a few dates with a guy and you both want to keep getting to know one another. Now what? Here are a few ideas to help you take the next right step…
Have fun! The early phase is for having fun and figuring out if you like spending time with this guy. Do you want to be friends with him? Go do the things you enjoy doing for fun or to relax. Go do the things he likes to do to have fun and relax.
Chill out. You don’t have to know where this is headed. As much as we can tend to stress over what the next big decision or commitment is, it turns out that those things often fall into place when they should. Trust the process and have fun!
Start to meet each other’s people. After a few dates of hanging out one on one, it’s great to start meeting each other’s friends and family. It’s wise to make this happen sooner, rather than later so you can see him interact with people who know you well and so you can find out what they think of his character. Keep it light and breezy: your friends are all grabbing dinner on Friday, so you casually invite the guy you’re dating to come along. Or you were on a date near your parents’ house, so after dinner you stop by to say hi and have some of your favorite ice cream that your mom always keeps in the freezer. It doesn’t have to be the event of the century with fireworks and a invitation sent to every person you know. Keep it low-key and simple. Bringing your team of people into your dating life early on in the process does a few things- it lets you see the guy interacting with a group of people rather than just with you, it allows you to get feedback from people you trust, and it communicates to the guy that you are a woman of high value. You have people in your life that care about you, so he better step it up. This is the good kind of challenge that men of character rise to meet. Also, meeting his people will help you get to know him better as well. How does he treat his parents and siblings? Does he have friends that know him well? (If the answer is no, I consider that a red flag! Proceed with caution! Dude needs to learn how to make friends and keep them before he dates.) Dating within community is a wise step toward a healthy marriage someday. It may take some training on everyone’s part (let’s all go read number 1 and 2 of this list again), but it is well worth it.
Keep saying what you want and need. You’re half of the potential relationship that is beginning here, so your opinion is important. Say what you actually thought of that movie, tell him if you’d rather talk on the phone than text on and off all evening, ask him what he’s up to on the weekend if you’re hoping to hang out together. Bring it on up! See how he responds. I had to really practice saying what was on my mind when Trav and I first started dating. I told myself I was trying to figure out if we could be in a relationship together, so I needed to practice communicating with him out loud rather than just playing things out in my head.
Keep living your life. Of course you will start making space for the relationship as it grows in importance to you. But keep the rhythms of your life intact until both of you are committing to be exclusive and syncing up your calendars more and more.
Let your emotional investment match the verbal commitment you’re talked about together. I know you are totally into him and he is super cute, but has he asked you to be his girlfriend or has he asked you to go to dinner on Saturday? Always go back to the reality of where things really stand. Dinner on Saturday is great! What a fun thing to look forward to! Stay in the moment and live it up. Choose a cute outfit. Tell your co-worker you’re excited about the weekend. But calling all your girlfriends to discuss the entire situation again and again or daydreaming about having him as your boyfriend may take your heart a little too far into the future. There will be a time and place for dreaming together and gushing to your friends. But the early phase of dating is a good time to stay present in the moment.
Okie dokes. Even I’m getting a little too serious now. Let’s all go back to number 1- have fun! Happy dating!
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