"This is a thing!" I announced ceremoniously about three months into my relationship before we were officially calling it that. Up until then we'd just been "hanging out" -- every day -- and sending "hey you" texts like teenagers.
I'd met his best friend and he'd met mine. We parachuted into each other's routines without 24-hour notice. My mom had even popped into the picture to surprisingly non scare-him-away-screaming results. By this point his stuff was no longer invading space in my bathroom, it had full citizenship. He'd even answered my door once in his "play clothes" and to their credit, my startled friends just keep it moving.
We'd gathered up all the necessary miles for a relationship upgrade. But I still had to say something. If closed mouths don't get fed, then those trying to play it cool just get left out in the cold. I knew that if I was really ready for the grown-up relationship I kept saying I wanted -- mutual respect and admiration, a safe space to be vulnerable, support and most of all commitment -- then I would have to be a grown-up and stop waiting for him to pass me a note that asked "Will you go with me? Yes? No? Maybe?"