With the holiday season upon us there is a festive feeling in the air. Streets are jammed with couples shopping arm and arm, and homes have mistletoe positioned atop many a doorway. The question that comes to mind for many singles is: are you sharing this joyous time of year with someone special who has potential for the long term? To answer this question, it is paramount in the dating world to be aware of the cues that your partner is giving off. In doing so, you will be able to determine whether your relationship can go the distance. If there is real chemistry, both parties will be actively engaging one another. The tone is generally set early on, indicating if one dinner will lead to another versus a quick peck on the cheek, "Great getting to know you" ending. Truth be told, people act on their feelings when in love (or lust). As a couple are you merely going through the motions rather than moving toward the potential of a commitment? Here are some considerations to keep in mind when assessing the viability of your current relationship.
-Follow Through: As you continue to date someone, are their intentions actualized? Is there consistency or are you receiving more mixed messages as opposed to regular contact? As basic as this sounds, often times doing what you say and saying what you mean, does not always happen in the world of courtship. The willingness to follow through indicates that there is an attraction of mind, body and soul beginning to develop. Stability and a sense of comfort are core to the transition of casual dating evolving into an exclusive relationship.
-Saturday nights should be for you. Repeatedly being relegated to brunch, a walk in the park or a midweek happy hour is a clear sign that the coveted Saturday night slot is being held for someone else. Weekday get togethers can be fun, but weekends are reserved for the ones that you truly want to be with. Don't allow yourself to assume the role of fill in on the calendar.
-Hearing their voice: People who are into each other want to connect as much as possible. Texting can be a quick and easy way to touch base during the day when we are often too busy to talk on the phone, but once work lets out, time ought to be made to catch up and speak live. If interactions are solely done through texting or emails this means that the other person is either too busy multitasking to focus on quality conversations or is not interested enough to dedicate a block of time to you. Nothing can take the place of human contact.
-Dates are mono-mono. It is great to meet each other's friends, but group hangouts are not a way to really get to know someone. Beer fests with friends, happy hours with co-workers and Friday night movies with the extended family do not fall within the parameters of dating. Those who want to form a relationship find a way to be together just the two of them. It's all about priorities!!
-Being in the present: When spending time alone, is the person you are with looking at their phone or scoping out the room rather than giving you their undivided attention? Are you nothing more than an adult voice on a Peanuts cartoon to them, or do your remarks elicit responses and dialog? Eye contact, holding hands and meaningful conversations are the foundation to building a connection. Distractions around you should organically fade away so the focus becomes on each other.
-Thoughtfulness: As you continue to date, is your partner taking note of your likes and preferences? If you've stated an interest in art, is a day at the museum offered up as a suggestion? Having the person that you are seeing listen and act upon your passions is an important cue with regard to their appreciation of who you are. Also don't underestimate the value of small gifts that warm the heart, such as cards, flowers, your favorite ice cream stocked in the freezer etc. Little gestures go a long way in expressing how you feel.
-The Future: Making plans a few months out does not necessarily mean that marriage is in the future, but it does indicate that you are committed enough to envision yourselves continuing to date down the road. It is not too soon to verbalize plans for Christmas or New Year's Eve. Doing so will have you nicely cued up for Valentine's Day!
Time is valuable, so when dating focus your energy on quality introductions. If the vibes are not positive, be diplomatic and move on to another. Keep your eyes wide open and listen to your instincts when it comes to whether you are making valuable connections. Persistence in the social world and a heightened awareness of the type of people you are meeting are the best strategies for singles. When a relationship is right, there will be no game playing, but rather a natural and unforced sense of wanting to spend time together. Both of you will be aglow from your enjoyment of each other.