This week, I had to go to a new dentist. It had been years since I’d set foot in an office because I am terrified of dental work. But before I could even get into the the chair, I had to fill out all the paperwork, and when I got to the part about who to contact in case of an emergency, I didn’t even pause before entering my partner’s information. At least in that way, I had some peace of mind. So, if you think might be ready to add your partner as an emergency contact then I highly recommend it.

However, it’s actually a pretty big step in a relationship. After all, what you are saying is that this is the person I know I can count on in a medical emergency. They will know what to do and who to contact if things go poorly. Needless to say, you really have to be sure that both of you are ready for that responsibility, and that the relationship is in the right place as well. So, how do you know? I reached out to Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, to ask how to recognize the signs that the time is right. Here is what she had to say.

1The relationship is on solid ground.

According to Dorell, knowing the right time to make your partner your emergency contact is all about considering the strength of the relationship. “It is less about how long [you’ve been together] and more about whether or not you are exclusive and feel solid in the relationship,” she tells Elite Daily. Dorell adds that you should only trust them with this responsibility when, as she says, “you are exclusive or at a level where there is no ambiguity around where you both stand in the relationship.”

2You can count on them to be there for you.

How much do you trust your partner in general? Do you think of them as someone who you know will drop what they are doing if you are in an emergency and need them? If so, Dorell says those are good indications that you are ready to make them your emergency contact. “You trust them — often this is a gut feeling — and they’ve demonstrated the capacity to be there for you emotionally and make you a priority,” says Dorell. However, since there is also a medical and personal aspect to this role, Dorell says you also need to have achieved a particular level of intimacy with your partner first. “If you have both shared intimate details about each other,” she says.

3You feel comfortable asking your partner to be your emergency contact.

One last sign that the timing is right, says Dorell, is that your partner is actually on board with being you go-to person in an medical emergency. “Asking them how they feel about being an emergency contact is also important,” says Dorell. “[That you’ve expressed] this to them and they are on board is a pretty clear sign that the time is right,” she explains.

If you feel like you are ready and you can trust them, but have’t quite reached the stage of asking them, Dorell suggests taking a straightforward approach. “It can be a simple, straightforward dialogue: ‘I’d love to add you as an emergency contact. How would you feel about that?,’ she suggests. “Then, wait for their answer and if they are not sure they can take on that level of responsibility, then it’s better to know up front than add them without their knowledge,” she concludes.

Ultimately, knowing when to ask your partner to be your emergency contact should come naturally because it will be a point in the relationship where you trust them enough to be there for you, and that that you feel intimate enough with them to share those personal details. With those two factors combined, asking them to be that person to be your emergency contact will just feel right. So, don’t be afraid to trust your gut on this one.

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