The early stages of a relationship are often full of questions.
Does he like me? Do I like him? How do I know if he’s the one for me? Or if I’m making the biggest mistake of my life?
There’s no timeline for when you fall in love. For some people, it can be super-fast. For others, it can take much longer.
Just because you’re not in love with this person yet, that doesn’t mean the relationship is dead in the water and you should call it quits.
It could be the start of something truly amazing – that just isn’t there yet.
Wondering what’s going on with your new relationship? Check out these 12 signs it’s moving in the right direction, even if you’re not in love yet.
1) You’re honest with each other
Honesty is important in relationships, especially in the early stages.
Catching the person you’re dating out on a few lies isn’t a good sign. Because if they’re lying about that, what else are they lying about?
I’ve had friends who started dating someone only to find out they lied about their age or what they did for work. In my opinion, these are major lies that would break my trust entirely.
It’s normal for people to hold back a little when they first start dating. Some things are personal, and they’ll only talk about them when they’re completely comfortable.
But if either of you are lying about things to avoid spilling personal details, this is the opposite of a relationship on the right path.
2) You talk about how you feel
When a relationship is going well, you talk about how you feel. You both aren’t afraid to admit that you like each other or that you want to see each other again.
Even if you still have a few walls up, you don’t make out like you don’t care or avoid the subject of “feelings” whenever they come up.
Instead, you talk openly about where you see things going and how you’re both feeling (even if it scares you).
3) You’re both looking for the same things
The idea of “opposites attract” has been debunked by many a psychologist in recent years. While it’s important to have some differences, too many differences are just problematic.
If you’ve discussed the idea of kids and marriage and have different views about what you want, this isn’t a good sign.
Likewise, if one of you doesn’t want a long-term relationship and the other does, this also isn’t good.
But if you’re both looking for the same things, and can agree on the important stuff, that’s great news. Your relationship is heading in the right direction.
4) You talk about the future together
There is such a thing as “too much too soon” for many people. Discussing marriage and kids in the early stages could be a sign of lovebombing.
However, when it feels right for both of you, there’s nothing wrong with talking about a shared future together.
Two friends of mine had known each other their whole lives, but only started dating in their early thirties. When they finally got together, they were already talking about moving in together, having (more) kids, and getting married.
It was fine because it was right for them, and they both knew what they wanted.
But even if it’s not to that extreme, you still talk about the future together when the relationship is going well. Because you actually see a future with them.
5) You continuously date each other
When you first meet someone, you usually go on a ton of dates. Once it’s been a while, the dates might gradually decrease and shift into doing more “normal” things together.
But the dating won’t stop entirely. According to experts, you should always date your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together.
When a relationship is going well, you should still be dating and doing nice things together. Even if you’re saving money, the dates could be walking around a park or cooking a nice dinner at home.
But if all you do now is hang out at his place to watch him play video games or just visit for a late-night sleepover – this isn’t a good sign.
6) You feel good about where things are at
When your relationship is heading in the right direction, you feel good about where things are going.
You don’t feel stressed, anxious, or like you’re making a big mistake by dating this person. Instead, you feel calm, cool, and content about it all.
Everything about being with them feels right, and they just seem to have slotted conveniently into your life and made it even better than it was before.
7) You want to see each other often
When you like someone you’re dating, you want to spend time with them.
I remember dating someone before. I thought he was alright to hang out with. When he suggested plans, I’d go, and we’d have a good time. But I wasn’t desperate to see him again.
When I met my current partner, I couldn’t wait to see him again. I wanted to book plans regularly and see him often.
Even though we both led busy lives, we still made more than enough time for each other (with just a phone call sometimes). And neither of us could go very long at all before suggesting the next date.
8) You enjoy spending time with them
Alongside wanting to see them often, you actually enjoy each other’s company when a relationship is going well.
Dates with them are full of laughter, fun, and a warm feeling.
You don’t sit on dates with them distracted by your phone, thinking about what else you could be doing, or just outright not enjoying yourself.
Time with them slips away like it’s nothing, and you can’t get enough of being around them.
9) You don’t play games
Nothing good ever comes from playing games in a relationship. Even in the early stages, it isn’t a good idea.
Guys I’ve known in the past have had unusual ideas about “waiting three days” before messaging a girl they liked after the first date.
But when you both like each other, what’s the point in pretending like you don’t? Or waiting to message them for days when you just want to message them?
If either of you are playing games in the relationship, this isn’t a good sign.
But if you’re both open, honest, and true to yourself with everything you do, things are probably heading in the right direction.
10) You’re consistent with your communication (on both sides)
All good relationships have strong, healthy, and consistent communication. In the early stages, that can simply mean you talk regularly.
When things aren’t going so well, it’ll be a very different experience. You could go days or even weeks without speaking to each other.
You or the other person could start replying very slowly when they used to be quick (and it’ll be for long periods, not just the hours they’re busy at work).
Or either of you could ignore each other intentionally before responding – if you even do at all.
11) You both make the decisions
In a healthy relationship, you both play an active role in keeping the “spark” alive.
One person isn’t always calling the shots, organizing plans, making the first move, or keeping the conversations going.
Even if you have more traditional values about one partner doing more than the other, all relationships need a healthy balance.
Expecting one partner to take full control over the relationship and make all the decisions could be a bad move.
It could lead to a controlling, toxic, or codependent relationship – rather than a healthy one based on mutual trust and respect.
12) You still do things you want to do
When your relationship is going in the right direction, you still maintain a healthy level of independence from this person.
You haven’t quit all your hobbies to spend time with them. Nor have you stopped talking to your friends and family entirely.
Sure, you might spend more time with them than other people nowadays (which is very normal).
But when you’re dating someone who’s good for your life, this person is (as my friend wonderfully put it) “an overflowing extra to your already full life”.
They’re not your sole reason for living and existing (which is a sign of a codependent relationship).
The early stage of a good relationship is supposed to be a happy time.
You’re supposed to be enjoying yourself – going on nice dates, getting to know each other better, and starting to fall madly in love.
And when you feel good about where things are at, this is a clear sign that you’re on the right track.
But of course, not all relationships are supposed to last forever. If things are turning sour before you’re even in love yet, this could be a bad sign.
And (provided you’re not just self-sabotaging) it might be time to end things.