7 Signs You’re In a Legit Grown Up Relationship

Young love is sweet. It’s fun and it’s carefree and it’s awesome. And, if all goes according to plan, it eventually develops into a full blown grown up relationship. But how do you know when you’ve made that big leap? Well, day in and day out, things will just start to feel more natural and less forced. If you can’t tell whether you’ve made it into the next phase of your love, here are 7 sure-fire signs to look for in your relationship.

1. Your home decor has changed. That Animal House poster? Gone. That handmade mirror your bestie gave you? It has a safe place in a box with the rest of your high school memories. Instead, you start to cover your walls in photos of you and your partner experiencing life. You might even get some legit frames to put them in, too. When you’ve been in a relationship for a while and feel like it’s the real deal, you’ll have less interest in showing off those ratty concert posters and more of a desire to invest in art or nice photography. Your home will become more about the life you’re building together — your trips, your dog, your shared interests.

2. You kind of enjoy making separate plans. When you first start dating, it’s all about each other. Friday night is date night. Saturday night is also date night. Oh, and so are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednes…you get the picture. But at some point you’ll start to see the value in spending time apart, too. Boozy brunch with the girls? Totally necessary. A bar night with the boys for the big game? Done. Maybe even a weeknight coffee catch up sesh with dear ol’ mom. When you’re comfortable not always needing to do everything together, that’s when you’ve graduated to the grown-up life.

3. You start to embrace the silence. At the beginning of a relationship, silence is THE WORST. It’s freaking scary. Those moments after the laughter subsides and the conversation starts to stalls…welp, they’re ripe for worrying. You start to ask yourself all kinds of questions: Does he not like me? Does she find me boring? Am I having fun? Should I say something? Why isn’t she saying something? But eventually, those fears will subside and you’ll appreciate the phrase ‘silence is golden’ more. When you’re comfortable in your own skin and understand that moments of quietness are actually completely okay, that’s when your relationship is moving on up.

Carmen Markay: Engaged, grown up relationship

Photo by R See Photography on Munaluchi Bridal via Lover.ly

4. Gifting is now a joint thing. Admit it — you once bought your boyfriend an expensive wallet just to show him how much you cared. When you’re in a grown up relationship, gifts become less about the price tag and more about your specific wants and needs. You’ll go from buying sweaters and earrings to investing in experiential things (like that trip to California so you learn how to surf together) and necessities (like that new coffee table you really need for the living room). You and your partner are in this for the long-haul, so why not celebrate that with something legit and personal?

5. Together time has been upgraded. At one time in your relationship, you definitely built date night around watching episodes of “Friday Night Lights” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” You dimmed the lights, popped some popcorn, and nestled in under a blanket for a romantic night of staring at the TV. And while we’re all for spending a night in on the couch, at some point, you’ll realize that doesn’t really constitute spending time together. When you start setting aside a night for date night or making plans to explore your city on the weekends, that’s when your relationship has been upgraded from the fun intimacy of summer love to the full-on forever kind of love.

6. You know what’s worth fighting about. The first few weeks of a relationship are like looking through rose colored glasses; everything is perfect and you’re feeling totally blissed out. But at some point, you have to be real people and accept that you’re not always going to agree and get along. You’re going to fight and sometimes it might be over little things, like how to properly load the dishwasher or Ray Lamontagne’s singing ability. But once your relationship has matured a bit, you’ll learn how to really fight — appreciating what’s worth fighting for, what’s a disagreement you can work out, and when you’ve crossed the line. People in grown up relationships know how to say sorry like they mean it…because they do.

7. A (hug/snuggle sesh/dance party/knock knock joke) can solve just about anything. Being in a grown up relationship isn’t all work and no play though. When you’ve made it to the grown up, forever phase, you’ll know just what to do for your partner to make everything okay. Bad day at work? BAM — freshly baked ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies. Stressful conversation with mom and dad? Let’s hug it out. Whatever life throws your way, you’ll be able to handle it like no one else can.