In dating there are several milestones in the course of the relationship getting more serious: the first date, first time you hold their hand, the first kiss, meeting the parents, and, in Broaddus relationships, the first break up. The question becomes how do we progress from the first date to the first break up (or whatever it is normal couples do)? Or more on point, what are some things you ought to be examining as the relationship deepens?

-Trust. Do they keep their promises because the simple math is that a promise breaker = heart breaker. Are each of you people of integrity and honesty?

-Friendship. How good of friends are you? You have other friends and can judge those relationships. How does this one stack up to those?

-Conversation. Can you be open and share with one another? Communication is key and, counterintuitive as it may seem, so is learning to fight. When I hear “we’re perfect, we never fight” then I’m pretty sure the relationship isn’t serious. Disagreeing is fine, you have to learn how to resolve disagreements.

-Be yourself. Do they let you be yourself and love you for it? If you can’t relax, you can’t breathe. On the flip side, they’re not getting to know you, but some version of you that (apparently) doesn’t want to risk rocking the relationship boat.

-What do your friends and family think? This is a quick spot check of your relationship. Do you include your friends and family (and kids, if applicable) or have you cut them off? Can you maintain friendships apart from each other?

-Possessive. Do you feel smothered, bothered by their jealousy? This is a potential red flag for future abuse. Just something to keep an eye out for.

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but a few things to examine in the course of the relationship. I find it curious that I didn’t have anything to say about your feelings.

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