Casual dating is a marvellous way of getting to know all kinds of people, without having to feel tied down to anyone until you’re absolutely ready.
Serious relationships tend to be monogamous and long-term—or at least conducted with that intention in mind.
Let’s consider the signs, to see where you might be.
1 Odds are, there’s more than one person. Because you’re not serious with any one person, there are probably 2+ people in the picture at any given time. Maybe you’re texting one person, but planning a date with another.
2 May see each other occasionally, or even a little more. If you’re not serious with someone, why see them all the time? Might as well see them on occasion, or maybe regularly, but not most of the time. The minute you see them too much, you inch closer to something more serious.
3 The chances for unfulfilled romantic feelings are high. This is a sad reality that everyone needs to understand: sometimes you won’t end up on the same page. It could be that one of you has intense feelings, and the other doesn’t. It could be that one of you wants to commit to a relationship, but the other one isn’t ready, despite having romantic feelings.
4 Might not know each others’ friends. Now, if the person makes it obvious you’re not even close, and will never meet their friends, it’s never going to get serious.
5 Level of seriousness is low. The expectation is low, so marriage and family planning aren’t really on the table. The minute serious topics come up, someone has developed feelings.
If you’re already in love, but just want to feel reassured that the feeling is mutual and everything’s just dandy in loveland, look for these subtle signs in your romance.
1 It’s been made official, obviously. If you two lovebirds had the whole “we should be an item,” conversation, then things are pretty clear.
2 Both parties see a potential future together. It may sound obvious, but people get tunnel vision and focus on the present, so it’s a good reminder: being in a serious relationship means you’re aiming for a future together.
3 If trust is ever broken, the relationship suffers. In a casual setting, people expect their sexual partners to have other sexual partners. If someone lies, no real emotion is involved. Meanwhile, in a relationship, these things will break trust, and trust is not something you want to lose. It’s almost impossible to get back and, chances are, you’ll spend your time kissing your partner’s feet and feeling inferior, until the love is gone on both sides.
4 You know each others’ friends. Your friends have been around for however long, so they’re important to you. If you introduce someone to them, then they did something right and earned their way to your friends. If it wasn’t serious, you’d never come close.
Differentiating the dating vs. relationship status can be a little messy, depending on the situation. But by using these signs, you’ll be in a better position to know just where you are.