At midnight on Tuesday, music superstar Taylor Swift (and cat lady extraordinaire) bestowed her fans with a new track from her upcoming album, 1989, called “Out of the Woods.” While she doesn’t name any names (ahem, Harry Styles) on the synth-heavy track, T. Swift told Good Morning America that the song is meant to “capture the fragility and breakable nature of relationships.”
With lyrics like “Are we out of the woods yet? Are we in the clear yet?” the catchy tune certainly exemplifies what it’s like to be in the throes of a new relationship. It’s that feeling of “excitement, but also, extreme anxiety and a frantic feeling of wondering,” as Swift says.
Sound familiar? Us too. Don’t worry, Taylor—we’ve all been there. Dating someone you’re crazy about is fun but nerve-wracking at the same time. So how do we know when we’re “safe” in a relationship? We spoke to Patti Feinstein, a dating and relationship expert, to learn five telltale signs that you’re “in the clear.”
1. You’re not wondering when he’ll call.
Rather than stare at your phone all day waiting for his name to show up, you can sit back and relax because you’re confident you’ll hear from him—or you have plans already. “He says, ‘Let’s get together on Friday. I’ll pick you up at 9,’” Feinstein says. Even if you don’t have concrete plans, he texts, “How’s your day?” so you know he’s thinking about you.
2. You’re completely at ease around him.
You know you’ve hit the relationship lottery when you can totally be yourself with him—sans makeup, with morning breath, or on your period—and all of it is cool with him too, Feinstein says. And when your conversation lulls, you don’t start chattering aimlessly about the weather—because even an awkward silence doesn’t feel awkward with him.
3. You’ve met each other’s families.
A major milestone in any relationship, visiting his family signals the possibility of, well, marrying into it. And remember, it’s not just a test to see if they like you, Feinstein says. “Look at his family dynamics: How do his parents get along? How do they treat each other?” You want to make sure his family values align with yours.
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4. You’ve had a fight—and you’ve gotten through it.
It’s easy to get along in the first fluttery beginnings, but the most important milestone in any relationship is when you have a disagreement—and you deal with it. “You’re going to argue again in the future, so you want to be able to communicate well and get to the other side of it together,” Feinstein says. No matter how big or small the issue is (whether to order Japanese for dinner counts), you were able to resolve it—calmly.
5. You’re not asking these questions anymore.
“This is the number one sign that everything is good,” Feinstein says. Questions like “Are we in the clear?” naturally go away when you know in your heart that he’s the one, and rather than worries or anxiety, you have a sense of overall peace.