You’ve been navigating the dating scene, but lately, something feels different. Could it be that you’re ready for a committed, serious relationship? Here are five signs that could be telling you it’s time to jump into the deep end and get serious about your relationship.

You’re Emotionally Equipped

The work that goes into building a serious relationship begins before you even know the person you’ll spend your life with. It might be cliche, but the work really does start within; being a good partner requires a certain level of emotional intelligence.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman popularized the term emotional intelligence in his book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.” He breaks the concept down into five basic areas:


Being self-aware means that you recognize patterns in the way you behave and realize the impact your emotions and actions have on others. You have learned how to name your emotions and pinpoint what sets them off. You embrace humility as a key part of being human, and you’re not scared to apologize when you mess up. If you’ve had previous relationships, you’ve learned from them and are ready to apply those lessons to your next relationship in a new, more mature way.


If you’re good at self-regulating, it means your emotions match up with what’s happening around you. You don’t overreact or underreact – your feelings are appropriate for the situation. You know how to pause, reflect, and control your impulses. You think before you act and consider the consequences. You’re able to adapt to changes, showing that you can handle your emotions well. You also know how to manage conflicts and ease tension when necessary. 


If you’re intrinsically motivated, you have a thirst for personal development.  It’s not just about external rewards like money or fame; you have an internal drive for personal growth and understand how it directly enhances your ability to be a good potential partner. It’s about being inspired to succeed—whatever success looks like to you—as a way of developing yourself. 

Genuine growth isn’t motivated by a need to satisfy someone else’s image of you—but by the desire to focus on your own goals of self acceptance and happiness. This is important when you’re building a life alongside someone else because, in a serious relationship your success in life will impact your partner and vice versa. 


The fourth part is empathy. This means understanding where other people are coming from in conversations. It allows you to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, drawing on your own experiences—and even when you can’t relate-you extend compassion.. When you can be compassionate to what others are feeling, it’s easier to remain non-judgmental and recognize that everyone is doing their best in their circumstances. You respect others as individuals and are ready to build a partnership based on mutual respect and understanding.

Social skills

If you’ve developed your social skills, you know how to play well with others. It means being aware of their needs during conversations or when resolving conflicts. You understand that a relationship requires compromise and are willing to work together to find solutions to conflicts. Effective communication, active listening, and open body language all contribute to building connections. These social skills improve your ability to navigate and thrive in all relationships, but especially with your significant other.

You Have Time to Date

Even with a matchmaker to do the heavy lifting, carving out time to date can be difficult. Co-founder of the Gottman Institute Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman says that career is a major factor for many singles, especially those still establishing themselves professionally. The demands of a budding professional career make it difficult to prioritize a budding romance. 

This is reflected in the continual steady rise in the median age of marriage in the US. In 1970, men and women were married for the first time at about 23 and 21 respectively; by 2023, median ages had risen to 28 for women and 30 for men.

For younger singles, single parenthood is another factor that can make it hard to find time for a relationship. Gottman says that younger singles tend to be more focused on their careers than those looking for companionship later on in life. Coupling this with the time and financial demands of single parenthood, it becomes difficult to emotionally invest in a new partner.

This should also be a consideration for those who have gone through a divorce or experienced the loss of a spouse, Gottman says. It may be tempting to suppress your feelings with the excitement and novelty of a new relationship, but it’s essential to take time to grieve. According to Gottman, leaving these feelings unaddressed can allow them to “sneak out the side door” and affect your new relationship.

You Crave Stability

When you’re ready to get serious, confusion and playing games are not attractive; they’re a turn-off. According to AASECT certified sex therapist Caitlin Cantor, when you’re ready for something more serious, casual hookups, dating people you know won’t work out, and engaging in relationships that bring intense highs and lows will all become less appealing to you. A connection that’s based on lust just won’t cut it for you.

When stability becomes something to look forward to, you’ll notice. If someone is distant or playing games, you won’t see it as a challenge but as a warning sign; you don’t have time for that kind of behavior. When you find yourself ready to exchange the excitement of chaos for the steadiness of stability, you’re prepared for a serious relationship.

An unfulfilling relationship won’t make you happy. You deserve a stable relationship, and recognizing this is another sign that you’re ready. Cantor says that this is critical because accepting less than you deserve will not lead to a happy or fulfilling relationship. Stability also comes in the form of emotional reassurance; someone who makes you question their feelings about you is not a good relationship partner. 

You Found a Compatible Partner

Sharing similar values is a great indication of compatibility, according to licensed marriage and family therapist and author of “The Seven Destinies of Love,” Claudia de Llano. Seeing eye-to-eye on the important things leads to greater relationship satisfaction, while the opposite is a recipe for conflict and stress.

She says that some important areas to consider are family, finances, lifestyle, politics, and religion. While your partner doesn’t need to share your exact set of values, a fundamental difference in your worldview can make a serious relationship hard to maintain.

When you’re seeing someone new, dating expert Julie Spira recommends testing this by talking about your values and desires about the future generically at first. This will give your new partner a chance to chime in with their own opinion, giving you an idea about whether they are on the same page. Then, you can decide to be more vulnerable and share more if you’d like.

If you and your partner feel emotionally connected and comfortable sharing vulnerable aspects of yourselves, it may be another sign to take the relationship to the next level. Consistent and open communication is essential in a serious relationship. You should feel able to share your feelings with your partner, and talking to them about things that interest you—shared interest or not—shouldn’t cause you anxiety. In fact, the feeling of being seen for who you truly are can deepen the intimacy of your connection.

You See a Future Together

To assess whether a baseball player should become a Hall-of-Famer, statistician Bill James created a list of 15 questions. Oddly, these were based on something other than scientific evidence or data; James created the list based on his expert intuition. Relationship Psychologist Gary W. Lewandowski put together a list of questions that can be asked and answered in a similar way to see whether your relationship is “Hall of Fame worthy”.

The questions are pretty straightforward, but they’re not all easy to answer. They include: ‘Do you and your partner think more in terms of “we” and “us,” rather than “you” and “I”?’, and “Do your close friends, as well as your partner’s, think you have a relationship that will stand the test of time?”. The questions are not meant to have definitive answers but rather are meant to make you reflect on different aspects of your relationship. 

Trying to imagine how your current partner might fit into your life in ten, twenty, or thirty years can be hard. By thinking about the questions here, you can reflect more deeply on what being together long-term might be like. Being able to answer the questions on Lewandowski’s list honestly and affirmatively is a great sign that your relationship has a future. 

Love is a journey, and sometimes, you find yourself at a crossroads, wondering if it’s time to take a detour into something more serious. If these signs hit home with you, it could be a signal that you’re ready for a serious relationship. Trust your gut, take things at your own pace, and when the moment feels right, dive in.