Knowing when the right time is to make your relationship official, or at least bring up the discussion with your partner, can be a daunting task. You don’t want to potentially scare them away, but at the same time it’s often important to find out where you both stand.
You often hear people these days say a relationship is not official until it’s “Facebook official”, but how long should you wait to make a long distance relationship official and what exactly is the meaning of an official relationship?
Before you decide to change your official relationship status, let’s look at some of the signs you should make your relationship official, ways to make it official, and the importance of setting terms for your official relationship.
When to Make Your Long Distance Relationship Official
For many, knowing when to make things official just comes naturally. Without even discussing the matter, a couple may find themselves already fully committed to the relationship without really needing to put a label on it. For others, insecurities, past relationships, and future plans may lead them to seek confirmation that the relationship is headed for the next phase. We may not wish to waste time if it is looking like the relationship may not have a future.
When it comes to long distance relationships, making them official can be somewhat tricky. There are of course long distance relationships that exist where the couples are already committed, engaged, or married before the long distance begins. For these couples, making the relationship official has already been dealt with and this step is therefore not needed. For those just beginning a long distance relationship, making it official calls for a great deal of trust and patience.
Long distance relationships don’t normally progress in the same way as traditional relationships do. Because there is distance, your relationship is built more around communication and establishing an emotional connection rather than physical interaction. Things that lead to more commitment, or “making it official”, in a traditional relationship include dating or attending events together, meeting each other’s friends and family, and spending the night at each other’s place.
However, with a long distance relationship, it is a lot more difficult for these types of things to happen within a short amount of time. Therefore, such relationships may require patience from both sides in order for your relationship to develop more fully before you call yourselves an official couple. You can of course both fully commit to the relationship, but you both must realize that it may be taking more of a leap of faith as you haven’t really seen each other in a typical day to day life setting.
Even without physical interaction, there are signs you can look for that may point to it being time to make your long distance relationship official. Trust is key when it comes to online relationships or where couples are separated by distance. As long as you’re both on the same page and both understand what the other person expects, you can enjoy a rewarding and successful relationship. It comes down to how much you are willing to commit to the relationship even if it lacks the traditional amount of quality time together and physical connection that couples enjoy when distance isn’t an issue.
Signs You Should Make Your Long Distance Relationship Official
As we have discussed, long distance relationships don’t always follow the same pattern that leads to making them official. For people in traditional relationships, there are signs that can make it quite obvious that the relationship has become serious and that you’re ready to make it official. You begin to go on dates more frequently, may have dinner with each other’s friends, meet each other’s parents, or may begin packing a bigger and bigger overnight bag where you eventually begin to just leave some of your belongings at each other’s place on a permanent basis.
With long distance relationships your bond strengthens based on the discussions you have with each other as you continue to share more and more about your personal lives. Unless you have a private jet or unlimited funds, you don’t always have the luxury of spending your free time or weekends with each other. It’s much harder to show your affection by holding hands or kissing and it can be hard to know how the other person is truly feeling about the relationship when you lack the actions to back up the words that are spoken.
Thankfully, there are signs that you can look for that signal a long distance relationship is headed towards becoming official. Emails, texts, and phone calls will become more frequent as you long to hear from each other. While you can’t attend events together or head out on dates, you will find yourself eager to share your daily happenings with each other as the relationship progresses.
You may not meet each other’s friends and family, but you might find that you get friend requests from people associated with your long distance partner which shows your partner has brought your name up with their friends and family. Sleeping in the same bed each night is impossible when it comes to long distance relationships, but you can easily wish each other a good night and say good morning on a daily basis. If you find you are both very sexual, you can of course engage in phone sex, Facetime sex, or Skype sex to feel closer to each other.
When it becomes apparent that you are both in contact with each other quite regularly, it signals that you are both becoming invested in the relationship. You may find that you are both making your relationship more apparent on social media outlets by tagging each other or posting photos of the times you were able to meet up. As the relationship becomes more visible in the public eye, it may be time to discuss if you are both ready to take the next step and make it official.
Because communication is so vital with long distance relationships, your words will go a long way in determining if your relationship is official. When you begin giving each other pet names or expressing that you love each other, you can be willing to bet your relationship has become official without it even having been discussed.
If you wish to confirm that your relationship is indeed official you should not fear bringing it up to your partner as it is always a good idea to express where you are at in the relationship. If your partner is genuinely interested in the relationship progressing, they will either express they feel the same way or will discuss why they may need more time. Either way, you should get a clear picture of where the relationship stands.
If you find the relationship has continued to grow stronger but one of you is not willing to commit to making it official, you may want to ask what it is that is holding the relationship back. It may simply be timing, demands of a career, children being involved, or for other personal reasons. By identifying what it is that is inhibiting the relationship from becoming official and determining if it is simply temporary or something more permanent, you can decide whether it is worth working through or whether you wish to not waste your time if you don’t see the relationship ever progressing past the present stage.
It’s important to note that making a relationship official will be different for every couple. It isn’t simply a matter of changing your social media status, rather it is a trusted commitment you both decide you want to share. It doesn’t require a ring, a label, or any other token. It is simply two people realizing they are on the same page when it comes to where they want the relationship to go. By discussing your relationship together and deciding that you are both committed to making it continue, it can give you the motivation needed to develop a plan where you can overcome the distance so you can be together in the future.
What are the Terms of Your Long Distance Relationship?
Because couples will have a different interpretation of what their relationship being “official” truly means, it is important to discuss what this means for your own unique relationship. You want to be sure you are both clear on what the rules are in regards to your relationship so as to not be caught off guard.
Does being official mean you are no longer dating or sleeping with other people? For many this will be a strict requirement of the relationship. For others who are more polyamorous, this may not be the case. Not to be confused with polygamy, polyamory does not involve being married to multiple wives or husbands, nor is it tied to any religious faith.
Polyamory involves having more than one loving relationship where everyone involved is aware of and understands the situation. A polyamorous relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you are having sex with multiple partners, but it does usually consist of treating all relationships involved with an equal share of commitment where open communication and a tendency to not become jealous becomes vital.
After committing to the relationship by making it official, you should both discuss a rough timeline in regards to how you each see the relationship developing from here. It should be made clear how long the long distance is expected to last whatever the reasons may be. You want to make sure you both are content with the amount of physical contact you expect your long distance relationship will have until the distance is no longer an issue.
Staying Committed to a Long Distance Relationship
Once you have made your relationship official and are clear on the relationship terms, the job is then to stay committed to the relationship. Staying committed to a long distance relationship can prove to be more difficult since you don’t have that continual physical contact. There are often long periods where you may not know what your partner is up to and trusting each other becomes paramount to making the relationship survive.
If the relationship involves being committed solely to each other, it is now time to remove your profile from any dating websites. You should also make it clear in your day to day happenings that you are unavailable should you get the feeling someone else is pursuing you.
It is easy to feel as though you should keep your options open, especially with a long distance relationship where you are lacking constant face to face companionship. It is, however, important to understand that in order to make a long distance relationship work, you must treat it as you would any other relationship.
Should you have any second thoughts regarding the relationship or if anything is bothering you, it is important to discuss these things with your partner as soon as they come up. Constant communication in which you are fully transparent with each other will help ease any feelings of stress, jealousy, or loneliness the long distance relationship may bring about.
Because trust is one of the biggest keys to succeeding in a long distance relationship, don’t give your partner a reason not to trust you. Consider their feelings when you post things online and think about things like how a photo without context could be misconstrued. For instance, if you are constantly posting photos of lunch dates or nights out drinking with members or the opposite sex, this may cause problems with your long distance relationship. This can make your partner question your commitment, which in turn may make them question their commitment as well.
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