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Relationships are hard. Actually, let’s rephrase that: Dating and “situationships” are hard. They make you feel all types of things: confusion, hope, endearment, and, god forbid, the L-word — all jokes, kinda. Hookup culture and the undying plentiful of committal issues in the sea weren’t what we thought our adult lives would be, but here are some factors that can help indicate whether it’s finally time to determine the relationship.

1. Time

One personal rule I have in my dating life is the three-month rule. Like anyone else, I mingle here and there in my day-to-day life to see if anything organic comes my way and have dating apps for the occasional swipe when the first method doesn’t seem to be working out for me. When I am pursuing someone, though, I typically give us three months to feel each other out, date one another, and see what kind of relationship I want with them. Personally, as someone who wants a committed relationship, I give this window of time to allow myself to see if I actually want that with them and, if not, have the necessary conversation with the person. On the contrary, if I do see that potential with someone and want to become exclusive with them after the three-month period, not only will a conversation about the next steps will occur, but if the feeling is mutual, you’ve both had some time to set a foundation in understanding one another, how to interact with each other, and “chase” each other so to speak.


2. Intention

Another great indicator in knowing when to have that conversation with your kinda-but-not really partner is intention. Ask yourself: Do they reciprocate the same actions/emotions I do and share? If and when they don’t, is the reason clear and justifiable as to why? The main goal is to notice any gray area that exists in the relationship because this is where confusion and hurt herds, in miscommunication or mixed communication. While you don’t have to explicitly ask, “Are we looking for the same things?”, a simple, “I would like to know how you feel about me and how things are going” are fair areas to cover. Knowing that they have some sort of intention with you, that at least they’ve thought about the situation a bit, shows that they have considered you and your time and attention. In the ideal setting, you would know and have the same inventions with your partner and communicate that with them.

3. Boundaries

The biggest and newest factor for me to weigh when deciding whether I need to talk to someone about our involvement recently has been acknowledging my boundaries and how said desired partner interacts and views them. Again, boundaries are not necessarily a talk that you have to have explicitly. It should be* the unique but natural ebb and flow that your relationship has to make both feel comfortable. When something or someone begins to feel uncomfortable, that’s a cold direct indication that a talk about where both are is needed. When the peace is disrupted with one, the other needs to be made aware immediately. 


4. Gut feeling

Lastly is the most abstract factor in studying whether the right time is upon you and your desired partner, simply feeling like the right time is now– apart from the factors already mentioned. I found that sometimes, particularly the times when I’m not looking for anything and life throws something to me, I’m hit with this sudden feeling of well? What do I do with it now? In the same regard with romantic partners, sometimes there will be ones that you just didn’t expect happening and therefore have a lot of defaulted gray areas organically. In these cases, again, better safe than sorry, ask! 

While situationships are frustrating and seemingly never-ending, it’s important to remember that you deserve honesty and transparency from those you allow into your life and that it’s not asking for too much to at least be on the same page with one another. Finding the courage to say something can be hard and scary at times, but guarding your heart against hurt is the ultimate act of self-care that you deserve. 

Fiorella Izquierdo

George Mason University '23

Fiorella Izquierdo is a senior at George Mason University currently studying Communication with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Graphic Design. She is happiest when she is has a magazine in one hand and a chai latte in the other. Music, fashion, and cooking are some of her other passions, which keeps her busy in her free time. In the future, Fiorella hopes to work as a creative director and travel the world doing what she loves!
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