Does proximity equal closeness?
Sometimes proximity can be enough to prompt feelings. There’s a good reason why plenty of people meet partners at work, college dorms, apartment elevators. Reality dating shows play off of this premise: put people looking for love inside of a house, see what happens.
Of course, proximity alone is not enough, but sometimes in long (or short) term relationships, proximity can make the status of things slippery. Without the occasional checkpoint, you may not know where you stand, or might fall into a rhythm without setting up boundaries. Point being: it may be helpful at certain points in your relationship to have a check-in with your partner to define—or redefine—your relationship.
This doesn’t have to be the often-dreaded DTR conversation. Checkpoints will just help you assess what you want out of the relationship, what you’re needing more or less of, and can even just be an occasion to note something about the relationship that feels especially good to you.
If you’re newly dating
If you’re newly dating, the notion of checking in about the status of the relationship might seem more obvious. The how and the when is the part that requires more tact: while there is no guide for this aspect, trust your intuition. If you are feeling anxious about the nature of the relationship, touch base in a way that feels comfortable. If you are losing sleep over it, determine what it is that you’d like and do your best to communicate it clearly. And if you are in an undefined space and enjoying it, don’t let the pressure of a supposed timeline rush this conversation: it’s up to you.
As best you can, try to be honest about what you’re looking for upfront, either in your dating app profile or by being honest early on. It will save all parties from a potentially far more tangled conversation down the line.
If you’re in a committed relationship
In the same way that when you are first dating someone you set boundaries and communicate your wants, it is never too late to introduce these practices into your long term relationships. It can be easy to fall into a routine, and, in any relationship, it is worth assessing if certain habits serve you. People change over time, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean growing apart, it is good to talk through how to best be partners to one another through these changes. Maybe your needs are different, and making space to communicate this will be a healthy way to care for yourself and your partner.
The positive spin
If this all seems overwhelming, fret not. When you acknowledge something you appreciate in your relationship, it is a form of checking in. Saying “I like when you —” is a great place to start. Practicing gratitude is an easy way to get comfortable communicating about what’s working, and it will make it easier for you to communicate if something doesn’t feel right.
So go ahead, get close, the proximity won’t cloud your vision.