Are You In A Dating Relationship, Or Is It Just Casual?
It isn't always easy to gauge the seriousness level of a relationship. If you have been seeing someone for a little while, then you might be wondering whether you have crossed the line from casual dating into a committed relationship. Sometimes this happens without someone coming out and explicitly stating it, but it's going to be important to know for sure. You want to know how you should approach your current relationship, and you're also going to want to go over expectations.
Casual relationships can be a lot of fun, but you might be more interested in having an exclusive relationship with the person you see if you have developed feelings. If so, congratulations! Ahead, we’ll discuss ways to tell if your relationship is progressing before you feel confident enough to initiate a “define the relationship” conversation.
How Often Do You See Each Other?
Do you see your dating partner multiple times per week? Or is it more of a few times per month type of relationship? If you are spending a lot of time together, that is a sign that you're dating rather than just being engaged in a casual relationship. You might have been casual with this person at first, but as you started becoming more bonded to them, the time you spent together started to increase. Knowing this, it's easy to see how people could naturally start to "know" that it has turned into a full-blown relationship.
The problem with this is that it isn't going to be clear unless you come out and say it. Often, people are nervous about discussing the matter due to not wanting to have their feelings hurt if someone else doesn't feel as strongly. Regardless, you can understand how spending more time together signifies that your relationship is becoming more important. If you feel a strong urge to be around this person, then you probably have more than just casual feelings for them.
Are You Seeing Other People?
Casual relationships usually are not exclusive ones. If you are still seeing other people in addition to your primary partner, then it's likely that you're in a casual relationship. Of course, there are many exceptions. Some like to use an open relationship structure rather than adhere to traditional monogamous practices. If you feel that you thrive in these relationships, you could be in a "dating" relationship, even if it is a bit different from that to which a monogamous person might be accustomed.
Whether or not you're really dating or if you're just casually seeing each other has more to do with commitment. For most people in America, commitment is going to involve exclusivity. This means that you will only see one person, and you will be expected to be faithful to them. If you are dating and potentially sleeping with others, then you probably aren't dating this person unless you have specifically discussed the idea of an open relationship.
Admittedly, it can be somewhat complicated to determine your relationship status when you haven't had a real discussion on the matter. This can lead to misunderstandings, and sometimes one person will think they're supposed to be loyal while another does not. It's important to talk about these things so that nobody feels like they're being hurt or betrayed. If you care about your partner, whether they're just a casual partner or if they're something more, then you need to figure things out.
Ask yourself whether you would feel jealous to know that your dating partner is seeing another person. If this idea bothers you more than a little bit, then there is a chance that you want to date this person exclusively rather than just keep the relationship in its casual form. It's going to be time to talk about the matter further soon, and you need to be honest about your feelings. You shouldn't feel that you have to keep things casual if that isn't what you want.
Do You See Yourself Having A Future Together?
If you see yourself having a future together with your partner, this indicates that you want the relationship to become serious. You might find yourself thinking about your partner and where you will both be in five years. If your ideal future sees you together with this individual and works toward common goals, you want this relationship to have legs. Coming to terms with your feelings is the first step toward figuring out your true relationship status.
Many people are afraid of commitment due to having been hurt in a past relationship. You might be one of these people, and taking things slow probably felt like a good idea. You have enjoyed having a casual relationship with your partner, and things might have evolved. You could be spending more time together than usual, and you might start to feel the familiar sensation of love wrapping itself around you. This can indeed be intimidating when you're worried about how things will turn out, but it's best to open yourself up to the possibilities so that you don't miss out on something special.
When your relationship with your partner is just something casual, it's going to be less likely for you to want to factor them into your plans. You might not be sure if you will still be dating them six months down the line if you aren't taking the relationship all that seriously. It depends on your perspective and your feelings on the issue. It's possible to love someone while still only being in a casual relationship, too, so your desires play a huge role. What your partner wants and needs out of a relationship is equally important, as well.
Having An Important Conversation
When you want to be together with your partner, it's crucial to have a real conversation with them about everything. Even if you feel like you're probably in a dating relationship, it will be best to confirm that with your partner. They might not feel the same way, and they might not have the same expectations that you do. It could hurt to hear that they aren't thinking of your relationship as something serious when you are, but it's best to face the truth.
Chances are, you're going to hear what you want to hear. It's likely that your partner is also feeling drawn toward you and that he or she is taking it more seriously as the relationship continues to evolve. You can't make assumptions based on how you're feeling. You need to consider your partner and talk about expectations and what you want out of this relationship. It's an important conversation to have, and you should probably make time for it sooner rather than later.
Let your partner know that you feel the relationship has deepened over time. Truthfully, your partner will probably be happy to hear you say those words. You both might be nervous about labeling the relationship, and you probably don't want to lose each other. Just understand that everything will be fine and that you can successfully transition into a more serious relationship structure. Things won't be that much different, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you're committed to one another and that you share something special.
Moving Forward Together
If you have determined that you are dating and want to build something serious together, you will need to work on strengthening your bond. As it stands, your relationship is at the beginning of becoming something more substantial. Most relationships start as something casual, and they develop into something stronger over time. You have feelings for your partner, and you know that they feel the same way. Now you have to nurture that bond so that you can cultivate a successful and satisfying relationship.
Be sure to figure out what you each want so that you can get on the same page. Not everyone wants the same things out of a committed relationship. Things will likely change somewhat now that you're placing more expectations and significance on your relationship with your partner. This shouldn't feel like it is putting pressure on you, though. If you both want this and you want to be together, then you'll be able to make things work.
Online Couples Counseling Is Always An Option
If your budding relationship could use a bit of help to get things to the next level, then you might want to take the time to speak to an online couples’ counselor. These professionals work with couples who require assistance. You might be trying to figure out how to take your relationship more seriously, but strengthening your bond might not be easy without experts guiding you. Using these dedicated online counselors is an excellent idea if you want to make your relationship work.
The online counselors at Regain can help you work through issues, and they can also guide you toward a happier relationship. They have been able to help a large number of people through tough times. Counselors like this are capable of helping you any time that you are in need. You won't need to leave the house, and the therapy sessions are discreet.
Many people have been able to take their relationship to the next level after engaging in online couples’ therapy. According to a recent meta-analysis of online interventions designed to improve various aspects of relationship health, online therapy is effective in improving relationship commitment, communication, and confidence, as well as reducing relationship conflict, aggression, and distressing mental health symptoms.
There is no shame in asking for help with understanding your relationship seriousness. Like many situations in life, it can be helpful to have the perspective of a detached, neutral observer. The online therapists at Regain are licensed and experienced in assisting couples and individuals with a range of goals. When you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level, you can reach out to a Regain counselor to start mapping out a plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Five Stages Of Dating?
The first stage of dating in romantic relationships involves attraction and romance. It is often referred to as the honeymoon stage or the fantasy phase. In general, this stage lasts about three months but can be as long as two years. During this time, you may see your partner as perfect and discover all of their wonderful qualities. Relationship problems are unlikely to occur at this time. If you’re only casually dating, the relationship isn’t likely to move past this stage.
Feelings of reality and uncertainty come up in the second stage of dating. This is when things no longer seem quite as perfect, and you begin to notice your partner’s flaws and question whether they are the right person for you. Many relationships end during this stage; it has the potential to break your relationship. However, for a healthy relationship, this stage will only make the relationship stronger!
The third stage involves exclusivity and commitment. At this point, both partners have decided that the relationship is worth their time and effort, and they are now dating exclusively. They’ve worked to use both of their strengths to work through any challenges or relationship problems that came up during the second stage of dating, and they’re ready to move into a long-term relationship rather than casual dating.
Intimacy characterizes the fourth stage of dating. This is a period when the couple grows their bond even more through physical and emotional intimacy. This stage is considered a lifelong journey, and it doesn’t mean that relationship problems won’t arise, but healthy relationships will have the tools to solve any issues that come up. Finally, the fifth stage is engagement, when the couple decides they want to be together forever in a long-term relationship or marriage.
What Is A Relationship Versus Dating?
When you’ve been seeing someone for a while, it can be difficult to know whether you’re just dating or if you’re in an official relationship. Casual dating is very prevalent nowadays, but it can be hard to see the differences between casual dating and dating exclusively. While the only real way to know is to talk with the person you have been spending time with, there are also some clues for which you can be on the lookout.
Commitment is one of the biggest differences between casual dating and being in an exclusive long-term relationship. Casual dating is much more laidback, while a relationship or dating exclusively implies that the two of you are fully committed to each other.
In addition, if you’re in a relationship, you’re much more likely to be in constant contact with your significant other. On the other hand, if you’re just casual dating, your communication will probably be much more basic and limited. Rather than everything that’s happened to you throughout the day, you’ll probably make some plans for the weekend.
Priorities also set relationships and dating apart. When you are in a relationship with someone, they typically become one of your top priorities. Meanwhile, a person you’re just dating isn’t necessarily a priority, although you may truly enjoy spending time with them.
What Are The Early Stages Of Dating?
The early stages of dating are often referred to as the honeymoon phase--that time in a new relationship when everything seems to be going perfectly. All you can see are your partner’s amazing qualities, and you have a sort of selective blindness when it comes to their flaws.
During the early stages of dating, be sure not to let your new relationship take over your life and replace relationships with friends and family. Be sure to set clear boundaries as well; it’s always easier to set boundaries in the beginning than several months or even years down the road. Casual dating often does not move beyond this stage.
It’s also wise to avoid spending time with your new significant other every single day. Although you might want to, it’s essential to maintain a good balance within your life. When you spend huge amounts of time with someone you just met, it’s easy to begin to feel bonded to a person who is essentially a stranger. You may also fall for someone who doesn’t feel the same way and prefers casual dating over dating exclusively.
The early stages of dating are a time filled with attraction, romance, and fun! Enjoy the honeymoon phase while it lasts but be aware that no relationship stays in this phase forever.
How Long Should You Date Before Being In A Relationship?
Many experts cite the “two-month rule” when it comes to the amount of time you should spend dating a person before making things official. Two months in, you’ve got the chance to really get to know the other person through casual dating, and the spark is still there. It’s a great place to begin building a committed relationship. However, every couple is different! The best time to get into a serious relationship rather than casual dating truly depends on you and your partner’s wishes and comfort levels.
How Often Should You See Someone You’re Dating?
When you first meet someone and really hit it off, it can be tempting to spend every available minute with them. However, relationship experts have revealed that it’s actually better to see a new love interest once a week for the first month or so. This keeps you from essentially falling for a stranger before you truly get to know them. However, dating relationships are all different; some people take things slow, while others move in together soon after meeting.
What Are The Seven Stages Of Love?
The first stage of love is inception, when you begin to think of the other person romantically. They’ll continually pop up in your head for one reason or another. This could happen with a person you met through online dating, dating apps, or in person.
The second stage involves intrusive thinking – this is when you can’t get your new love interest off your mind! You’ll replay conversations, imagine scenarios involving them, and you may even become distracted at work or school. Whether you’re dating at a young age, dating in your 40s, or dating at any other age, you’ll experience this stage.
The third stage of love is called crystallization, and this is when you begin to form a clear picture of the person you’re interested in: both their great qualities and their flaws. Unfortunately, this stage can break your relationship if some of your partner’s flaws are deal-breakers for you.
Next up is the fourth stage, which is characterized by uncertainty, craving, and hope. You’ll feel all three of these emotions in regard to your partner and relationship.
Stage five is referred to as hypomania, and this is the feeling of being so in love that you hardly even have to sleep or eat. You may also notice nervous reactions like your heart beating quickly or stuttering when you speak.
The sixth stage is when you begin to feel an intense motivation to be with your partner as well as some jealousy. At this point, you’ll have a strong drive to win over your love interest completely, and you’ll feel extremely jealous if you think about them being with someone else.
Finally, the seventh stage of love is helplessness, when you realize that you don’t have ultimate control over how your partner feels. During the seventh stage, you understand that if the relationship is meant to be, it will be.
What Are The Three Stages Of Love?
The very first stage is lust when desire drives much of your interactions. Next, the second stage is attraction. This is the point when you may be so obsessed with your new love interest that you may even forget to eat or sleep. The third and final stage is attachment when you grow a true bond with your partner and feel deeply connected.
Regardless of your age, you will go through these three stages; even when dating in your 40s and older, you will still experience lust, attraction, and attachment.
What Are The Stages Of A Romantic Relationship?
Most dating relationships go through a similar set of stages. First up is the honeymoon phase or attraction stage, when everything seems to be going perfectly, and your new romantic interest is amazing in every way. However, the honeymoon phase always ends, leading to the second stage, which involves a lot of uncertainty, doubt, and denial. At this point, you’re starting to notice that your love interest isn’t quite as perfect as you originally thought. Many relationships end during this stage.
The third stage of a romantic relationship is disappointment or disillusionment. During the third stage, you see your partner for who they really are and come to terms with any presented challenges. The fourth stage is when you decide to either commit or end the relationship. And finally, the fifth stage of a romantic relationship is a partnership. At this point, the two of you have committed to each other and formed a deep bond and understanding.
If you ever run into trouble with your relationships, relationship counseling or therapy is a great tool that can help you work through any issues that arise. There are even online dating counseling websites and dating apps that provide advice as well!
What Is The Difference Between Relationship And Dating?
Is Dating The Same As Having A Boyfriend?
What Are Important Relationship Questions To Help You Learn More About Dating?
What Are The 3 Cs In Dating?
What Are The Most Important Things To Remember About Being In A Relationship?
What Are Powerful Tips To Help Maintain A Healthy Relationship?
What Values Must Be Kept To Help Strengthen A Relationship?
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