Are We Dating? Is It Exclusive? When A Casual Relationship Turns Into Something More

Updated November 26, 2019

Reviewer Karen Devlin, LPC

Determining when a casual relationship is turning into something more can be somewhat tricky. Many people date others casually in modern times. Casual dating means that nothing is all that serious yet and you're just getting to know each other or trying to have fun. People who are casually dating each other might not even be dating exclusively. What happens when you start developing deeper feelings for this person that you've seen casually?

Trying to figure out whether or not the girl or guy that you're seeing is ready to take things to the next level might be nerve-wracking. You could be worried about whether or not they feel the same way that you do. If you bring up becoming exclusive first and he or she doesn't reciprocate those desires, it'd feel embarrassing. It's important to try not to worry about this sort of thing too much because you're likely worried for no reason. You see each other for a reason, and the girl or guy in your life may feel the same way.


To figure out if you're dating, you're going to want to look for some important signs. In this article, I'm going to go over some signs to look out for that showcase that your casual relationship is evolving into something deeper. I'll also discuss how you can go about moving forward together while understanding the expectations for the relationship. A casual relationship can turn into something more, but you do have to be willing to let it happen.

Signs That The Relationship Has Deepened

Your relationship with the girl or guy that you have been casually dating will change over time. One way to determine whether or not things are shifting toward something more serious is to examine the changes in your relationship. When you first started seeing each other, you might not have spent too much time together. Perhaps you went on dates now and then, but you'd go many days without seeing each other. When things start to get a bit more serious, you're likely going to notice that you'll be seeing one another more often.

Instead of meeting up once a week or a few times per month, you might be going on dates multiple times per week. Perhaps you're even spending a majority of your days off of work with this person now. When a romantic interest starts spending more time with you and you find yourself drawn to them, it's a sign that there is chemistry there. You like being around each other, and your casual relationship is likely leading you toward something more substantial.

If you were dating other people at first, then you might even find that your desire to seek out others will diminish. Have you stopped seeing other girls or guys due to wanting to focus on someone special? Has the girl or guy in your life stopped dating others as well? This is certainly a big sign that serious changes are taking place.

You might even notice that the topics of conversation are getting more serious between you two. Casual relationships might not be about developing a deep emotional bond. Some people seek out an emotional connection in those situations, but for most people, it's just going to be about casual fun. If you have started to open up to one another emotionally, then that's a big sign that you might be ready for a serious relationship. Relationships are all about communication and trust, so it's noteworthy to be able to talk to someone on an emotional level.

Search Your Feelings

Searching your feelings is an important part of the process. When you're trying to figure out if things are just casual or if they're something more, it's going to come down to how you feel about things. You won't be able to tell outright how your romantic interest feels without directly asking him or her. The signs might be there that they have become emotionally attached, though. The best thing for you to do is, to be honest with yourself about how you feel.

What do you want out of this relationship? Are you merely attracted to this girl or guy, or do you desire something more? When a relationship starts to become more about having sex or going out to enjoy some laughs, it starts turning into something deeper. You might sense that this is where the relationship is heading, but you have to figure things out in your head first.

Remember that your feelings on the issue are important. If you feel like you might love this person that you have been seeing, then you shouldn't deny it. This could be a shot at a truly life-altering romance, or it could be something fleeting. Your heart will know the answers, and you need to take the time to listen.

Talk About It


Figuring out whether or not you're officially dating is just as simple as talking about it. You don't have to walk up to your girl or guy and say, "are we dating?" Just take the time to sit down and talk about how things are going between you two. Mention that you feel like things have become more serious lately and don't be afraid to mention that you like where things are going.

You can then just come out and ask if your romantic interest would like to start dating officially instead of just being involved with you casually. During this conversation, it's going to be important to confirm that your new partner wants to be in an exclusive relationship with you. Keep in mind that some people do prefer open relationships or polyamorous lifestyles. If this isn't for you, and that's what your partner wants, then your relationship might not be able to move forward.

Just make sure that you're on the same page about stuff. Spending just a bit of time talking about these issues should be enough to help you figure out if you're dating. Dating someone seriously is going to involve a lot more commitment than a casual relationship. Your expectations are likely different, and you need to make sure that your partner knows what to expect. You also want to be able to meet your new partner's needs, so have a good conversation about where you want this relationship to go.

Getting into a committed relationship doesn't mean that you have to start talking about white picket fences and children right away. Even so, it's crucial to understand what your partner desires out of life. If you're going to date someone seriously, then you want to ensure that your core values and desires for the future are in alignment. If they're not, then you might want to think twice about getting into a serious relationship with this person.

Start Dating Seriously

Starting to date seriously might seem a bit strange at first for some, but for most people, this is going to be very natural. If your casual relationship naturally evolved toward becoming more serious, then things might not even change that much. The only big difference is that you have finally recognized your feelings for your partner and have taken action to secure a committed relationship. You can now start exploring your feelings for your partner more thoroughly, and you can feel good about getting to know each other on a deeper level.

It might be good to try to spend more time together than usual to explore this ever-strengthening bond. You don't have to spend every waking moment together, but seeing each other more often during the week will be nice. Take the time to talk and try to see where things are going. Do special things for your significant other and be sure to let them know what they mean to you. Dating seriously is going to open doors, and it should be exciting to explore these new avenues together.

Remember that serious dating does sometimes come with complications as well. Communicating more regularly can lead to miscommunication. Seeing someone more often can be great, but it can also be tough when you aren't used to seriously dating. If you love your partner and want this to work out, you should never be afraid to reach out for help if you feel like your relationship needs it. Every relationship goes through struggles from time to time, but you can overcome the growing pains of a new serious relationship with the help of professionals.

Online Couples Counseling Is A Great Resource


Remember that online couples counseling is a great resource. If you ever need help with taking your relationship to the next level, you're going to be able to count on online couples' counselors. They can help you to work on deepening your relationship while working on issues that could be holding you back from developing a perfect bond. Couples counseling helps couples to develop better communication skills while addressing any other problems that might pop up.

Online couples counseling is great due to being so convenient for anyone to make use of. You can receive counseling from the comfort of home, and you'll be able to reach out at any time. There are many counseling options to consider, as well, such as video chat, phone therapy sessions, text messaging, and email exchanges. If you want to get a little bit of help with taking your relationship to the next step, then you'll always be able to rely on dedicated online counselors.

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