If things seem to be going well with someone you just started dating, you might begin to wonder if they're truly interested in a long-term relationship. It's common to speculate, and search for signs they're as happy and interested in commitment as you are. But even though it may be awkward, it's almost always better to skip all that and simply ask.
"You don’t want to fall for a person who doesn’t share your goals," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "Knowing the truth quickly will allow you to find and date different people who want a long-term relationship." There are, however, a few early signs and signals to watch out for that may mean this person is thinking long-term — even if you haven't had that chat yet.
Once you notice these signs, it should give you the confidence to talk about the future. "If you think the person is interested in commitment and you have that same goal, I would advise working to move the relationship in a more committed direction," Bennett says. "Be intentional about having important conversations, like defining the relationship and establishing some degree of exclusivity." That way, you can both be on the same page — no speculation required. Here, a few ways to tell if someone might be interested in a long-term relationship, according to experts.
1. They've Had Long-Term Relationships In The Past
If your new love interest seems like they might be interested in something long-term, you very well may be right — especially if they have a history of commitment.
"Past behavior is the biggest predictor of future behavior," Bennett says. "If the person you’re dating has typically pursued long-lasting relationships, it’s a very good sign [they] will want to get into another one."
2. They've Asked About Your Dating History
If you've only been on a few dates, and they've already asked about your dating history, that's another good sign. "A date who is interested in your past relationships is looking for clues about whether you are interested in commitment," psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, LMFT, PhD, tells Bustle. If it seems like you're both interested in each other, take this is your cue to open up and admit it.
3. They Drop Hints About Their Relationship Goals
Keep your ears open for subtle talk about the future, as it can reveal a lot about where your date's mind may be. "If someone frequently brings up goals associated with long-term relationships early in the relationship, it’s a good sign that [they are] interested in having one," Bennett says. "This could be generally mentioning marriage, sharing a house, or even wanting children." Even if you haven't talked about how these topics apply to your lives, it's still a good sign.
4. They're Making Small Commitments Already
You might notice that this person seems to be taking tiny steps in the direction of commitment. "These could be cutting off contact with other dates, asking to be exclusive, saying 'I love you' in a reasonable amount of time, and so on," Bennett says.
There may even be smaller signs of commitment, such as leaving a few belongings at your apartment, wanting to meet your friends, etc. If you notice things like this, it may be the perfect time to chat about the future.
5. They Make Conversations A Priority
Things are likely going well if you're both making the relationship a priority. You might notice, for example, that they "follow up with you and ... call back when they say they will," Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, an individual and couples therapist, tells Bustle. "They’ll be intentional and reach out to you — even if it’s for a few minutes."
When someone's interested in a serious relationship, they won't disappear for days on end, let texts go unanswered, or fail to return phone calls — like less serious folks are wont to do. If this relationship is going somewhere, you'll both be enjoying each other's company way too much for these types of games.
6. They Open Up About Their Life
If someone's just looking for a casual fling, they won't be as likely to open up about their past, talk about their worries, or reveal any secrets. So if the person you are dating starts to open up, take note.
"While they may be reserved, someone who is serious about you will let you know about their life and about some of their experiences," Dr. Powell says. "They’ll be willing to talk about their childhood and goals for the future." This is a sign that they're comfortable, and looking to create a genuine bond.
7. They Plan Meaningful Dates
Speaking of bonds, someone who is thinking long-term may be more likely to plan meaningful dates — especially ones that get you both out of your comfort zones.
"If your date is inviting you to do interesting things, that’s a sign [they want] to cultivate the relationship and move forward toward commitment," Dr. Tessina says. "They’re looking for compatibility."
The same is true, though, even if you go on casual dates, or simply hang out at home. It's all about that quality time, and getting to know each other.
8. They Introduce You To Friends & Family
"If someone can visualize a long-term relationship with you, they'll probably want to introduce you to their friends pretty quickly," Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "Likewise, someone interested in a serious relationship will express interest in meeting your friends and family, too."
This is less likely to happen when someone who isn't interested in commitment. Once you start meshing social circles, it really does take things to the next level.
9. They Make Plans For The Future
If you already have weekend plans for two months down the line, that's a surefire sign. "If they're happy to start making plans in the future, like a concert that's a few months away ... they're definitely thinking about a long-term relationship," Graber says. "Even if the details aren't mapped out, including you on future plans is a positive sign."
10. They Talk About Creating Traditions
It's one thing to go on a fun date and have a good time. But if your new partner wants to turn it into a "tradition," that's something else entirely.
"Maybe its your first holiday together and you go to a particular party, or you have a certain meal," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. If they talk about doing it again, it's clear they're not only valuing your time spent together, but also looking towards the future.
11. They Want To Resolve Communication Issues
If you're hanging out with someone casually, it won't really matter if you "get" each other, or if you communicate effectively. But if you're planning on spending a lot of time together — AKA, making a commitment and dating long-term — things like this will matter.
That's why, if the person you're dating is focused on "how you argue, how you make decisions together, and how you resolve problems and conflicts," it may be a sign they're interested in sticking together, Dr. Klapow says.
Of course, the only way to know for sure is to ask. If you're feelin' the relationship and would like to see it go somewhere, let your new partner know. Once you both open up and talk about your feelings, you'll no longer have to guess, and will officially be able to fully commit.