How to Begin a Serious Relationship

Begin building your relationship with a solid friendship.
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Feeling those first pangs of love during the teen or young adult years may seem somehow different than your grade school crushes. When you're ready to move from infatuations to a serious relationship, knowing where to begin is key. While the love part may come naturally, the partnership and commitment aspects take time and work to build.

1 Date Night

Before diving into a serious relationship, you need to know if your potential partner is the right person for you. When you start dating, it's likely that you're also exploring how you get along with different types of people. A relationship that involves casual dating can help you get to know the other person and decide whether the two of you work well together. During the first few dates, discuss mutual interests, your families, your friends or plans for the future.

2 Sharing and Caring

As your relationship begins to deepen, you'll need to start sharing your feelings with each other. Although this includes sharing how you feel about each other, you can also reveal your thoughts and emotions on other issues. Discuss your greatest hopes and dreams, worries or stresses and even fears about the future. Make sure these discussions are two-way conversations in which you both share equally. If one potential partner does all of the talking, the other may feel unappreciated or that her feelings aren't as important to you.

3 Communicate Your Intentions

Assuming the other person in the relationship is a mind reader won't get you far. Clear communication provides a way for you to make sure your boyfriend or girlfriend understands your intentions. For example, while you might think that you both agree on a monogamous relationship, your guy may think it's still casual enough for him to date other people. Ask your partner if he wants to take your relationship to the next level and make it a serious commitment. Discuss what this means to both of you, including issues such as monogamy and how much time you'll spend together.

4 Trust and Honesty

If you find yourself asking around to see if your girl is still seeing her ex, sneaking a peak at her texts or checking her social media page, the level of trust in your relationship isn't where it should be. Beginning a serious relationship means developing a mutual sense of trust with each other through honesty. While trust is essential, don't expect it to happen overnight. Building a complete sense of trust in your partner may take time.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.