Meeting the parents. Engagement. Marriage. Home-buying. Having a baby. These are the turning points we think of when someone says, “relationship milestones.” However, there are other things that take place in the course of a relationship which can be considered smaller, but still important, milestones (or maybe just quarter-mile markers).
Combining Cell Phone Plans
Like it or not, most of us couldn’t live without our cell phones. It’s an important part of our day-to-day lives, something we won’t leave the house without. In a way, our phone number is an extension of our persona. When you combine cell phone plans with someone, you’re meshing your main mode of communication…and the service contract that goes with it. Once you agree to combine contracts, you are committing to stay with your partner for at least the next two years. Too early in a relationship and this can cause undue panic. It’s not buying a home or getting married, by any means. But it is a situation that makes you stop and take a moment to reflect on your relationship.
Sure, married people do it all the time. They’re used to everything being “ours”—not “yours” or “mine”. Yet, the first time you use your partner’s car can be intimidating. Maybe your car is in the shop, or their car has 4-wheel drive and you are going to the mountains with friends. Simply asking someone to borrow his or her car can trigger anxiety. There is also your partner’s worry to consider: allowing someone to use your car sends a clear message, “I care about and trust you.” When your partner hands you the keys, they are putting an important part of their daily life in your hands. Just like with a cell phone, you’re stepping into your significant other’s zone. You’re going to change the mirrors, the seat, the steering wheel, and the radio station. Nothing says “ours” like changing someone’s radio presets.
Getting The Flu
The first time your partner hears you vomit is a special relationship moment. How will they react? How will you feel about it? When they get home from work, will they have the fortitude to help you get through the evening? You’ve been on the couch all day, only getting up to use the bathroom or take your medicine. Dirty and cranky—a good partner will overlook your condition and offer to make you some toast, while you muster up the energy to take a shower. Once you’ve made it through a virus with your significant other, you bond in a way that will prepare you for all kinds of future maladies.
Although these examples may not elicit the same responses from everyone, they are a small example of the kinds of things we all face when entering a serious relationship. While things like cell phone plans and apartment leases do speak to a certain level of commitment, they’re nothing to be panicked about. If you love someone enough to even be considering these steps, it’s probably a good sign that you’re headed in the right direction with the right person.