Honestly, you probably won’t feel 100% ready for the big things. You may want them, fear them, or visualize them, but rarely do any of us feel completely ready for major changes. So, please don’t put pressure on yourself by waiting for some perfect moment when you’ll have ultimate clarity. Life doesn’t really work that way, and that’s okay.
Fortunately, there are things you can tap into when you need help figuring stuff out. You can use intuition, ask supportive people for advice, talk to a professional counselor, or even read a few self-help books. You can also use this list of questions to cut through the muck and begin to find the answers you seek.
Monogamy: Do you both want the same things out of a relationship? Is there more to your relationship than sexual attraction—as in, do you really like who this person is? Are you both willing to work on good communication, mutual respect, and trust?
Moving in together: Do you get along well enough to be around each other 24/7? Since this is kind of a big step, are you prepared to discuss what this will mean to your relationship? Are you both okay living together and not being married? (Because living together doesn’t automatically result in an engagement.) Does it make sense financially? Does it feel right emotionally?
Marriage: Are there any deal-breakers you’re not sure you can overcome? How are you two at compromising? Can you picture a future together? What does it look like or feel like? Do you bring out the best in each other? Here are 20 signs that may indicate you’re ready.
Baby: Are you financially prepared to support a kid? Will you need to quit school or your job to parent? Do you have room in your home? Does your partner also want a child? Here’s what to do when only one of you feels ready for a baby.
Breaking up: Have you stopped having sex? How often do you fight? List 10 words that describe how you feel around your partner—do they mostly make you feel good or bad? Have you started to consider dating other people or do you daydream about being with someone else? Here are five reasons why you should just break up with them already.
Also, should you feel ready to upgrade your birth control, we can help with that.
P.S. Pools. Hot tubs. Lakes. Oceans. What you should know about sex in the water.