20 Things to Know Before You Get Serious

20 things to know before you get serious
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 24, 2011

1 of 21

Recently, my cousin came to me for advice. She had been in a 3-month casual dating relationship and felt like it had the potential to become serious. When I started asking her questions to gauge if she was ready, I realized, that even though she had easily been on 20+ dates, talked on the phone for nearly 100 hours, and sent an endless number of text and Facebook messages to this guy, she knew nothing about what mattered for a long-term commitment. When you decide to enter a serious relationship with someone, it is a very important decision. Therefore, I suggest it be well thought out.

2 of 21

Is that his crib, his boy’s, or his parents? You need to know!

3 of 21

Knowing his love language and making sure he knows yours will ensure that you both know you are loved.

4 of 21

Be realistic about your deal breakers. Expecting to change someone is a plan that never works.

5 of 21

The relationship he has with his family can be very telling. A good relationship with mom usually translates to increased respect for women.

6 of 21

Make sure you positively know you’re physically attracted to him before things get serious. Attraction rarely grows over time.

7 of 21

Are his values in line with yours? If not, consider this a red flag.

8 of 21

Not everyone is sexually compatible. #RealTalk

9 of 21

This is a non-starter on everyone’s list. If you want children and he’s adamant that kids are not in his future, keep it moving.

10 of 21

If not, there may be a reason for it. Pay attention to how he treats people. If he lacks empathy and kindness toward others, he likely does not know how to be a good friend and will not be one to you.

11 of 21

Here’s the most important question: If he is, can you handle it?

12 of 21

If you’re ready for a serious relationship then you’re ready to talk about serious topics, and STDs is without question one of them.

13 of 21

Not everyone thinks graduating from a serious relationship means marriage. Does he?

14 of 21

Are you okay with his preference? Disputes over finances is the leading cause of breakups. Good communication upfront can alleviate issues down the road.

15 of 21

As we say, “everyone has one..or two..or three…” Disclosure upfront allows for making informed decisions and also shows the level of trust key to sustaining a long-term relationship.

16 of 21

Credit scores determine access to many things in life. If yours and/or his are not up to par, develop a strategy to get on the right track.

17 of 21

Interestingly enough, most studies on political affiliation shows that couples with shared political beliefs stay together longer.

18 of 21

When the going gets tough, do the tough get going? Does he become selfish or selfless?

19 of 21

And, I’m not talking about in the Olympics. One-in-four adults have a criminal record, however, not all offenses are equally alarming. Make sure you know if he has committed a crime, what it was, and if you’re comfortable with it.

20 of 21

Being able to talk openly and effectively to resolve conflict is the best indicator of long-term success.

21 of 21

I estimate 80 percent of us are not doing exactly what we dream of doing, professionally. What are his desires? Is he likely to quit his job at Goldman Sachs to become a full-time rapper? I’m not saying that’s a bad move; you just simply need to know the plan.