“What does a loqka bring on a second date?” the classic joke asks. “A U-Haul,” it posits. It’s only funny because it’s all too true.
When we like a girl we’re not afraid to show it or to seal the deal with a move. Truth be told, though, moving in together that quickly is not ideal, for anyone. You have nothing to lose if you take your time before making the leap. As my dad always says, if she’s the girl for you, she’s not going anywhere. There’s no hard and fast rule as to when it’s ok to move in. But here are a few trial runs you’d be smart to give a go to be sure this girl is – or at least really could be – the one.
Go grocery shopping together
Grocery shopping is a strangely revealing activity. Does she reach for the high price name brand and you head for the generic bargain option? Is she all about the frozen pre-made meals and you’re a cook from scratch kind of girl? Does she think fruits and veggies belong in cans and you already think the supermarket is a compromise always preferring a local Farmer’s Market?
Have family stay over
It’s one thing to go out to dinner or even stay in the same hotel with the family for an event. It’s a whole other ballgame to have them in your home. How they treat one another; how they treat you; how your GF treats them; as well as how she treats you in their presence is all incredibly important. Humans morph and change and grown, at least they should, but at the core, they remain the same. So if the weekend is full of tension and unfulfilled expectations and yelling, you have a good idea of what you may be signing up for.
Go on a road trip
Long drives often reveal the truth about a person. How does she react when you make a wrong turn or when she gets you lost? Is she game to check out the world’s largest ball of strong? What about the local diner? How does she respond if the weather is bad or the hotel is gross or the traffic is at a standstill? How do you figure how who drives, where to go, how much money to spend? If you find you have nothing to talk about after the first hour and you can never agree on a radio station or playlist, you might want to rethink what you’re getting yourself into. Road trips are great incubators for things that real life will surely bring up, allowing you to test the waters before wholly diving in.
Stay together in close quarters for more than a week
Whether it’s your home or hers, a single hotel room, or a room in someone else’s home, a lengthy stay somewhere small can reveal a lot about a potential partner’s habits. If a wet towel on the floor – or God forbid on the bed – is a deal breaker, you want to know now that when left to her own devices, she’ll never bother with the towel rack. Does she replace the toilet paper roll and does she do it the right way? (Yes, of course there’s a right way.) Remember, small space + extended time = reality check.
Take care of each other – separately and at the same time
See what happens when she gets sick or injured or sad, as well as when the same happens to you or – worst of all – when it happens to you both at the same time. Discovering what kind of caretaker and what kind of care needer your partner is is imperative. If she longs for doting and you’re not a doter or you need space and she’s a “fluff your pillow every five minutes and feed you soup on the hour” kind of girl, there may be trouble in paradise.
Plant, build, organize, fix, or create something together
Maybe you always read the directions and she sees them as more of a suggestion. Maybe you always DIY and she always dials for help. Maybe you measure twice and cut once and she always figures it all comes out in the wash. Whatever the case may be, it’s good to know if you can work together or if you’ll always be fighting for lead sled dog and always cringing at how she gets things done when it comes to planting, building, organizing, fixing, or creating.
It might seem silly. But a person’s true colors really come out when the competition is on. It helps to know if your partner avoids competition or craves the win. You can learn a lot about a person by uncovering whether she would rather cheat than lose. And what happens when she does lose? Is she down for the night or does she take it in stride?
And what about partner or team games, is she a collaborator or “a do it all herself or at least do it all my way” kind of girl”? It doesn’t matter as long as her MOs coordinates with yours. But you have to know how she plays before you can be sure you can play together.
See a concert together
You might not think a concert can reveal much. But you may be surprised. Very surprised. First up, what to see. Second, how much is ok to spend on tickets. Front row, nosebleed, somewhere in between. And what about concert-going behavior. Do you arrive with time to buy a beer, find your seat, and see the opening act or is it more like sliding into home where you make it just in time to see the headliner. Standing, sitting, singing.
However you concert make sure the two of you can do it in concert.
Load the dishwasher, do the laundry, make the bed, and generally keep house
You may love catering to her every whim, cooking and cleaning and tending to every little chore while you’re dating. Or she may seem like she’s over the moon to do it all while she’s wooing you. But you need to know not only whether she’ll keep up her half of the house to-dos as well as whether she’ll do them in a way that won’t drive you mad. Wine glasses go on the top. Pink is its own load. And the sheet has to go all the way under the bottom mattress. What seems like nothing when you’re falling for someone can seem like everything when you’re living under one roof.