From Casual to Commitment

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Things to Consider Before "the Talk"

Before you sit your man down for a heart-to-heart, it's important to take a look at where your relationship stands now. Have you been dating for three months or more? Have you met his family and friends? Can you leave a toothbrush in his apartment without him flipping out?

Or have you two stayed on a fixed dating schedule, without a lot of conversation between dates? "If there's no spillover into the rest of life, that could mean that he's still dating other people," says Atwood.

You also need to take a look at your own motives. Do you really want a serious relationship with this man? Is he someone you could potentially spend the rest of your life with? Or are you just looking for the validation?

When and Where To Do It

If you decide to have the talk, the GuyCritical guys suggest making the setting as low-key as possible. Don't bring up the issue during a busy time, or when the two of you are in bed. "Keep in mind that talking about feelings is tough for a lot of guys. You can help by explaining that you need to understand things, and the only way you know how to do that is to talk through them. And make sure you let him know that you appreciate his willingness to talk about his feelings," says a 36-year-old computer programmer from Boston.

To keep from putting him on the spot, Atwood suggest the "shopping conversation," which basically goes like this: "Brad, I've really enjoyed the past few months and I like you a lot. However, I think you should know that ultimately I'm interested in finding a long-term committed relationship, and I was curious to know what you're looking for." Why this works: "You avoid scaring him off by letting him know that you haven't decided that he's necessarily 'the one,'" says Atwood. "You're just saying, 'I'm looking for a life partner. And if you're not, then I'm going to move on.' This actually increases men's respect. Men like a strong woman who knows what she wants."

Continued on page 3:  What If You Don't Like His Answer?


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