What Are Your Expectations about Entering a Committed Relationship?

Expect that your committed partner will support you emotionally.
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Before you pledge your love to each other, making a serious commitment, take stock of what your long-term expectations are. Not every person has the same idea of what a committed relationship looks like. Whether you've known each other as friends for years or are new to dating each another, sit down and discuss what commitment means to you both prior to taking the plunge.

1 The Future Meaning

Commitment implies a long-term relationship. That said, "long term" has different meanings to different people. Relationships end for all kinds of reasons, such as not spending enough time together, changing interests or moving on to a new phase of life, notes the TeensHealth article "Love and Romance." Although it's unlikely that you're going into a committed relationship with a timetable in mind, both partners need to have realistic expectations when it comes to what "long-term" is. For example, if you're in high school, do you expect to stay together until after your senior year? If you're in college, do you have a plan that includes keeping close if you get jobs in different cities after graduation?

2 Trust and Honesty

The ability to trust your partner is a prime predictor of how long you stay together, notes communication coach Preston Ni in "7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success" for Psychology Today. Ask yourself if you can trust your partner, whether he's dependable or not and if he's someone you can count on as reliable. Expecting dependability, reliability and the truth are all realistic -- and in most cases, necessary -- expectations for a healthy long-term committed romance.

3 The Challenge of Change

As a teen or young adult, you're still exploring who you are and what you want out of life. Entering a committed relationship means that you must accept that you -- and possibly your partner -- are still growing and going through changes. Having the expectation that your wants, needs and goals will stay the same for the long term isn't always realistic when you're young. For example, if you're head over heels for your girl at age 16, this doesn't necessarily mean that the two of you will end up married with children in your 20s.

4 Exclusive Expectations

Although you may think that pledging yourself to your relationship equals exclusivity, careful communication is critical to making sure that this expectation turns into a reality. Just because your guy wants to "officially" date you doesn't necessarily mean that he's given up on other romances. Have a direct conversation, asking your partner if you are -- or aren't -- exclusive. If your expectations include monogamy and his don't, you need to decide if this is the right relationship for you. Effective communication is an essential ingredient in matching exclusivity expectations. If you don't get your ideas out into the open, you run the risk of ruining the relationship.

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.