Leave no rock un-turned when you are dating someone. Any type of red flag should be discussed. Does that seem weird? I think that many people are afraid to over step boundaries when they are dating with questions, but if you are getting to know this person and wanting to know if you should progress the relationship, you have the right to know what ever you think is important. You should be comfortable with this person enough that you can have real, meaningful conversations. Let's back it up just a bit. There are steps to dating and many times some steps are skipped. There is a trend going on of skipping straight to exclusive courtship and being intimate in ways, such as holding hands and kissing.
Take time to get to know the person, dating others as well and not rushing anything. It is a nice stage of dating that is more carefree and has less emotional drainage. Learn the important things first so that you don't get too far into a relationship that seems hard to get out of. Do they have a testimony? Do they have a desire to build a strong, happy family? Once you think that all of the initial questions are answered and you feel you want to move on in a relationship, don't assume. Too often we don't discuss these transitions and it seems like in our culture now, we just assume that we must be boyfriend and girlfriend. I tell you from my experiences, I think that it is something that has to be discussed. Talk about the progression of the relationship so that both parties can be on the same page.
Be straight forward with your feelings. Tell them how you feel about the progression of the relationship and that you would like to be exclusive. This basis of discussion is important so that you feel open with being able to discuss all topics.
Now, relationships can move on from there in two different directions. You can continue on the path that will and can eventually lead to marriage or any time along the path there may be a separation of the relationship.
This is something that I want to talk about. You have to be straight forward in these situations as well. Do not beat around the bush. Do not let there be a "falling out". You should have no intention of hurting the other person, because inevitably there will be some hurt anyway.
I am going to share a couple of personal stories in which break ups occurred. I have had all different kinds of break up. I have had the kind that just kind of happen, the relationship fades away. I have had the one where they beat around the bush and don't ever say what they want to say and I have had one where I was very honest and kind and there was still a lot of pain. In one situation I had been getting to know a young man, we were never officially dating, at least I didn't think so since it had never been stated. We were just friends who had gone on a few dates. Well, he asked me out on a date and told me that he was not ready for a relationship, it seemed a little out of the blue to me, as he proceeded to talk about stuff we could do in a few days and asked me to hangout with him and another couple for games in a few days and said he would call me. He said he just didn't want a serious relationship right then. I agreed, because I was not looking for anything serious then. After he took me home that night, he never called me again and wouldn't answer my calls or texts and it was gone. I feel like he beat around the bush, thinking that this was the way to not hurt my feelings. Everyone, honesty is the best policy. It will be painful either way, but leave a relationship, whatever stage it is at, the most honest and caring way you can.
Another experience was when I had been seeing a young man for awhile, but I felt that the relationship should not progress for various reasons. I asked to meet with him and as we walked I explained the best I could the way that I felt and it was painful for both of us. It is not always only painful on one side of a break up. It was a rough day as we discussed different things, but I parted the best that I could. I tried to leave no question unanswered and said that I was open to discussing more if necessary. After some heartache, we were able to be cordial and friendly.
Breaking Up without Going to Pieces: When Dating Doesn't End In Marriage
Read that talk no matter if you think you need it or not. It has so much good in it for relationships as they progress and for both directions of progression.
(In Regards to Chapter 2 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")