The idea of love at first sight as a possible thing that happens gives me very real anxiety. It couldn't possibly be true, right? Sure, lust at first sight is totally reasonable and an event I have encountered firsthand. It can spur a glorious night or string of nights involving super hot, sweaty fun. But I really don't buy that simply a series of glances right off the bat proves an accurate predictor of emotional connection potential. I understand that a lot of senses go into play when biology goes behind our backs and forms or doesn't form a solid attraction. However, how can pheromones realistically explain our intellectual compatibility with another human? How may one's musk explain the person's aptitude for understanding thick sarcasm and not just getting offended all the time? There's no way lingering eye contact has the power to reveal much about a person's inner peace or turmoil, how they take their coffee, the status of their relationship with their mom. A lot goes into long-term attraction and romantic rapport. It takes longer to suss such lasting forecasts. I'd wager about a month into dating someone, though, you have a decent shot at accessing what can and probably will happen in the possible LTR scenario. There are signs, and here are some of them. So you can figure out if this go in the dating arena will likely sink or swim—whether or not it's time to adjust the sail for a lengthy cruise or take a deep breath and abandon ship now.
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They respond to texts within a reasonable time window
No one wants to spend a mortal eternity playing chase. When your significant other doesn't mess around with games and (at least mostly) gets back to you within about an hour (granted they're not swamped at work or, I don't know, sleeping), that means they're a real, mature adult person who is capable of being responsive, present, and connected to you, all of which are very nice qualities for a potential long-term partner to have. They don't feel the need to create some sort of mystery or essentially ice you out—because they dig you and they want to make sure you know that. It's a courteous way to reassure the other person you're confident in your feelings.
They are eager to make and keep plans
Yes, we are all busy and we have things going on, but when you invite another person into your life by way of a relationship, you gotta learn to shuffle. It's essential. If your SO wants to schedule time together—especially in thoughtful, varied ways—that's great. It's even better if they prove such hangs' priority by rarely breaking plans you two make.
You hang out with each other in daylight hours, and actually enjoy it
It can be shocking the first time you see a partner in daylight hours—but if you want this thing to have a forever (or at least 3ever) chance, daylight does have the nasty habit of happening. Make sure you two can still enjoy each other while doing activities that don't employ alcohol and darkness.
You can spend a length of time together...when not in bed
Listen, it's pretty easy to spend insane stretches of time in bed when you just started dating a new person you like, lost in Netflix, delivery, and frequent pauses to make out. But when you don't have the laptop as a crutch, how do you actually dig the other person's company? Does a harmony still exist while vertical for longer than it takes to pass a club line? This is important, guys.
...but, you still definitely HAVE PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY
Conversely, you gotta make sure what you're starting isn't just a super great, platonic friendship (which are needed, too, duh). There has got to be a sizzling, physical attraction. If it cools right away—as in, one month in—that isn't super promising.
You guys laugh at the same things
A matching, or at least similar, sense of humor is crucial. A particularly facetious friend of mine once tried to date a dude who didn't understand sarcasm and, well...he thought she was being serious and thus, frankly a total bitch. Needless to say (but here I go anyway), they did not have a long shelf-life together. If you can't laugh together, there is zero future.
They're down to meet and hang with your friends
Balancing friends with alone time in your limited windows of leisure time has to happen. When someone is skeptical or slow to meet up with your pals, bail. You want and totally deserve a partner who feels confident enough to carry on swimmingly with your crew—not someone who will only attend events with a Charlie Brown cloud over their head. No one's got time for such an energy. These people suck in social situations and generally also suck in relationships.
...and vice versa
Hey bb, it's gotta go both ways. If you find yourself not hesitating to spend time with your SO's mains, it could be a sign that you're possibly onboard for the long haul. Because it really is important to get to know your significant other's friends. These are the folks your boo confides in, relies on, has history with. They're integral with who your partner was and is—isn't that kind of an exciting idea to explore? Not to mention, if your person is rad enough to choose you, chances are their friends are cool AF, too.
You're both excited to tell other people about each other
In a non-obnoxious way, of course. The gushing just flows.
This isn't describing your relationship? Here's the 5 dating tips you need to know, from your bartender:
You share an even split between dressing up and dressing down for each other
It shows respect and care when you spend a few extra minutes putting on the ritz for New Boo. And early on, that absolutely needs to happen. However, it's pretty important to make sure they see the real you, too—the one sans make-up in a pantless uniform including only non-date underwear and your high school Brain Bowl t-shirt.
You also do a good job splitting expenses
Money continues to be a thing we have to ponder and take into account. (Ugh, adulthood. Gross.) One person cannot solely swallow all the coffee, dinner, and entertainment bills. If there seems to be a good balance intact that keeps everything fair, that's a great start.
They're excited to learn about lots of areas of your life
They cannot wait to check out the old cafe you used to manage and visit your favorite dive and try out that badass bagel shop on the other side of town that you can't stop dreaming about.
...and you're thrilled to learn more about theirs
You can tell you're settling in for good when you can't get enough of learning about your boo's history. You have no hesitation asking for their exact order, too, at their childhood burger joint. Even if mixing raw onions with potato chip crumbs does sound a bit barfy on first mention—you trust their taste, at least for the first try. Anything in the spirit of learning more about this wonderful person you're increasingly comfortable calling yours.
They pay real attention to you when you talk
You can always tell when someone really listens to you, because the things you say will come back up. This doesn't have to be via lavish display—like, seriously, dude? When you pay big bucks to have your honey's favorite grocery store sub sandwich shipped from 2000 miles away, you set the bar high. Clearly, you were listening. What rings much more reasonable and sincere may be even be as small as remembering the name of your family's first cat. Or the fact you're secretly, inexplicably still nervous about Hocus Pocus.
You both are willing to go outside your comfort zone for the other person
I am almost 80 percent sure most of my former long-term partners would have never voluntarily elected to attend 6AM yoga on their own, but they at least feigned enthusiasm and joined my pre-sunrise class more than once. None of these attendees proved to be merely flings. And trust me—I would not choose to try my weak-fingered hands at indoor rock climbing for just anyone. But! We try because we care about the other person and they care about this thing so we will try to care about it also! However, the openness must be present on both sides otherwise that's just not fair.
You have similar life goals
It may seem a little premature or creepy to bring up Big Stuff like marriage, kids, world travel, homeownership, religion, pets, etc., too early on in a new relationship, but as we get older, these things seem foolish to ignore. It's important you don't fall hard for someone who is atheist and allergic to all animals if you're serious about both your Catholicism and collection of cats. Talk about these things—and if that alone is enough to scare them off, then good riddance.
You HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS ON LIFE AND CURRENT EVENTS
Sometimes differing views does have a way of working out swimmingly, but usually only after lengthy, honest conversation. Either see things the same way or be very honestly cool with not agreeing.
They make you feel like you want to be a better person
Who doesn't want to improve? If your new sweetie inspires you to wake up earlier, go running, push yourself professionally, learn to tap dance, master the art of fermentations, etc., that could only up the awesome on your life—and by extension, theirs. The most positive, lasting relationships are those that stoked both parties' fires to just be more rad citizens of Planet Earth. Something we can all benefit from.
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