A very good friend of mine asked me point blank the other day a question which I know often lingers in the minds of most guys who are going steady with their girlfriends. The question was:

“How do you know when you are ready to tie the knot with your girlfriend and live together?”

As a guy who got married roughly a year ago, I was surprised that I couldn’t find an easy answer to that question. I mean, how could I not answer it? I’ve been there so I should know, right?

I struggled to find a concrete answer not because I didn’t know what they were, but because the answer to that, I realized, is actually not based on hard facts. Instead, it is based on signs, feelings and emotions. Because as cliché as it may sound, you just know when the timing and the person is right.

In an effort to give an answer to my friend, I took a moment to reflect and do some introspection in order to break down the five overarching signs that would definitely tell you that the woman you are dating is the one you would want to spend the rest of your life with:

Sign #1: You are comfortable around each other

When you first go out with someone you just met, it is our natural tendency to put our best foot forward in order to impress our date.

That exact same thing happens when you are with someone who is not “The One”. Every date, no matter how long you two have been together, feels like a first date where you put all your defenses up to make sure she doesn’t see your quirks. Needless to say, you try so hard to hold yourself together every single time in order to keep her impressed. As days pass by, this would feel unnatural and tiring. It’s a red flag in the relationship.

But if you and your girlfriend can put your guards down and reveal your quirks and oddity to each other without ever feeling conscious about it, then that is a good sign that you are comfortable enough to be around each other and getting married and living together wouldn’t be a problem.

When I asked my girlfriend-now-wife why she thought I was different from other guys she met, she responded by saying that she felt really comfortable when she was with me.

I felt the same about her too.

We feel we can be our true selves without pretentions whatsoever when we are together.

If you feel the same way about your girlfriend then this is a tell-tale sign.

Sign #2: Your future plans include her

When you lay down at night, or jot down your plans for the year ahead, do you see your girlfriend as part of your future plans?

When I was still a bachelor, I remember that I would always think of Joan (now my wife) whenever I would make important decisions such as travelling, switching careers, buying something expensive such as a piece of furniture and even moving to a new condo.

If you are currently thinking of your girlfriend when you make these big plans and changes in your life and couldn’t imagine a future without her in the picture, then that is a big sign that you are thinking of her as your future wife.

Sign #3: You’ve gone through the toughest fights and you have resolved it

I always tell my readers and even friends who ask me for relationship advice that one of the signs that you are in a relationship with someone who is for keeps is when you two, as a couple, have argued, and have gone through the biggest fights but in the end you have always found a way to resolve it.

You see, too much fighting is a red flag, but so is not fighting at all. Because if you two, as a couple, have not yet had any major fights, then it can only mean two things. Either you are in the early stages of the relationship and not yet ready to live together -OR- one of you is hiding their feelings and not opening up to speak about it.

Fighting is always healthy in any relationship. It means that both of you are comfortable enough to speak your mind and express the fact that you disagree on something, but whenever you argue, you two should still be able to make up and reconcile your differences in point of view.

That being said, if you have gone through major fights and you have overcome them, then congratulations because that is another good sign that you might be ready for the next stage in your relationship.

Sign #4: You both get along with each other’s family and social circles

When you marry someone, it would be impossible to ignore the fact that both of you would now share the same family members and social circles.

And so, even if you move out of your parents’ homes and start living together, you would still see your parents, her parents (i.e. your in laws), her siblings, her friends and her social circles more often than ever.

If you can get along well with her relatives and friends and in the same way she can also get along with your family and social circles, then that is a great sign that you two would be living in harmony.

Sign #5: You share the same beliefs, goals and direction in life

Let’s be real. If you are in a relationship with someone, there are only two things that could happen:

Either you get married or you break up.

When a couple breaks up, and you interview them what went wrong, most of the time you would hear that the reason for their split is because they do not have the same beliefs and direction in life and at some point they have gone separate ways.

Ever heard the lyrics of the song “Shoulda Woulda Coulda” by Beverley Knight? That’s what happens when couples don’t have the same direction in life.

As two people who would be living together until you’re gray and old, your goals, as a couple, should be aligned and leading to the same direction, not opposite.

You should have openly talked about and discussed if you are on the same page when it comes to having or not having kids, staying in the Philippines or migrating abroad, living in a house or living in a condo, religious affiliations, splitting the bills when it comes to utilities and expenses, money matters, family values and so on.

If you have all the above ironed out, then that is a green light that you are ready to propose, get married and live together for life.

What are you waiting for?

Lamudi’s #YourHeartIsHome Campaign

Did you tick all the five signs? Then it’s time to join Lamudi Philippines’ #YourHeartIsHome Campaign! Share your love story and tell us why you and your loved one deserve to live in your dream condo rent-free for six months here: https://goo.gl/1KX4rK

*This blog post is brought to you by Lamudi Philippines. Check their website here to know more about what they do.