Emil Ludwig said: "The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story." For many, however, the most crucial moment in a relationship is the moment of first commitment --- the time when two people choose to move from the "getting to know you" phase to monogamy. When deciding to turn casual dating into an intimate relationship, remember to remain honest about yourself, your feelings for your partner and what you expect out of the relationship. In this way, the relationship is founded in trust and openness.
Review your intentions for beginning a monogamous relationship. While you may want to enter a monogamous commitment because of your increasing emotional connection to your mate, beware entering a monogamous relationship due to issues of jealousy or fears of abandonment.
Messiah College's Counseling Services Office suggests not entering a relationship with any of the following unrealistic expectations: your lover will save you, your lover can read your mind, you can get along without fighting or that you can spend every moment together. Perhaps most importantly, don't expect to change your lover.
Check your potential relationship against Ron J. Hammond's "...Rules of Date and Mate Selection:" :
- Can you meet your partner's needs while he meets yours?
• Does a relationship with your partner maximize your life rewards while reducing life's costs (emotionally, intellectually and financially)?
• Does your partner share enough similar background traits (lifestyle, language, religion, age, cultural or intellectual similarities)?
• Is there a lack of warning signs of deeper problems (habitual infidelity or several short-term relationships)?
Plan a time and place to speak with your partner. Ask your partner to meet you at this time and place.
When choosing the place for the meeting, select a quiet, intimate environment that allows for sharing personal information. For example, serving your partner a dinner at home allows for both parties to speak openly without worries of public humiliation or interference.
Tell your partner what about her makes you want to enter a monogamous relationship with her. Make sure to remain loving; Kansas State University's Counseling Office reports that people in relationships value emotional warmth.
Tell your partner what he can expect from you in the relationship. At this point, make a commitment to your partner. Try to avoid ambiguous or everlasting words, such as "forever" or "good boyfriend.' Instead, you might say: "I want to take you to the opera and cook you dinner. And I don't want to do this for anyone else. I want to give you the respect of my full and considerate attention."
Allow your partner to respond to your request to add monogamy to the relationship. If she answers "yes," then celebrate the newly formed relationship with a great day together. If she answers "no," respect her decision and think about whether you want to continue the relationship with different expectations. If you decide to leave the dating relationship, do so with kindness and gentility.
- Don't threaten your partner with absence is she chooses not to enter the commitment. Allow her to choose what commitments she wishes to make.
- Try to avoid alcohol when discussing the practicalities of a relationship. Alcohol has a euphoria-inducing effect, which can cause people to overestimate a relationship. Additionally, it can intensify any potential rejection.