when does a relationship turn serious?

In the past couple weeks I’ve had a few conversations about chivalry, dating, independence and the role that they each play in dating or relationships. Among those conversations, the one that stood out the most to me was defining the seriousness of a relationship — and when you compromise your independence.

Most 20-somethings fresh out of college are thinking about establishment…they aren’t always focused on a relationship — which can make for an unplanned transition in priorities and goals. Instead, they are hoping to land a good job with the ideal plan being to find something that has a salary that:

  1. Allows you to maintain your lifestyle — whether it be one you’re growing into or one you’re desperately holding on to.
  2. Pay off debts — school loans, car notes, credit cards, etc.
  3. SAVE! So you can make all the big purchases you want: houses, cars, jet ski, etc.
  4. Invest: business, property, real estate, retirement etc.

For a lot of us, our pay check is dedicated to #1 and #2, leaving less attention to focus on #3 and #4. I’m sure you can see how this can turn into a bigger tangent than intended, so let me go ahead and move into how this ties into dating.

Many times in your 20’s you often find the person you will end up marrying, but before you get to the point of marriage there’s this little dance we all have to do called “dating.” Which many times we can date multiple people — even at the same time. BUT the biggest question many struggle with is, “when does a relationship turn serious?” and “what will I be sacrificing?”

For me the answer is simple: its when you stop living in the moment and start planning for the future; together.

A serious relationship is pretty much the practice run for how your marriage will work with that particular person. Your communication and approach on disagreements wont change just because there is a ring. If priorities and goals aren’t on a similar accord, you’ll end up in two different places. And finally, one of the most critical aspects, you inherit each others good/bad financial decisions (debts, credit, etc.).

When you enter into a serious relationship you have to consult each other before making major purchases or life decisions for the simple reason that now your actions don’t just affect you — ring or not. Its crucial for the consideration and mutual respect you should display for each other — and to also prevent acting on impulse when in hindsight it may be a bad decision.

I know its a hard concept to understand because many men a list of what they need to have/accomplish before they deem themselves ready for marriage…which I can understand and relate to from the perspective of being a provider. Many women want to establish themselves and their independence — which I can understand as well from wanting the same things for myself. Both are meant for those who are single; when you’re in a relationship its simple — you have an obligation and responsibility to another person and that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you disagree…then you’re probably not with the person you believe you’re going to marry.