Are you dating or in a relationship? Navigating the dating world and building relationships can be confusing, especially when it comes to defining the difference between casual dating and being in a committed relationship. Learn how to tell if you’re casually dating or in a serious, long-term relationship with this guide.
Frequency of Communication and Contact
Communication and contact between you and your partner is key to any relationship. When casually dating, the amount of communication and contact tends to be less frequent than it is when in a committed relationship. If you’re seeing your partner daily or talking to them regularly, it’s likely that you are in a relationship rather than just casually dating. Keep in mind that communication isn’t limited to verbal conversations — texting, FaceTiming, or sending voicemails count too!
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Level of Physical Intimacy
The level of physical intimacy and contact you share with your partner is another key factor in understanding whether you’re casually dating or in a relationship. When casually dating, it’s expected that you will keep things light, meaning that there won’t be any deep conversations or anything bigger than friendly gestures like holding hands or hugging. On the other hand, when you’re in a relationship, there tends to be more physical contact like kissing and cuddling. Keep an eye out for these signs — they can help you tell the difference between being in a relationship and just having fun!
Mutual Support and Effort
Another surefire way to determine if you’re in a relationship or just casually dating is to assess the level of effort and support being put into the relationship. In a relationship, both partners are devoted to supporting one another through tough times, caring for each other when needed, and feel that the level of commitment is strong. Whereas when casually dating, each partner will likely be more focused on his or her own needs — not necessarily investing in building a lasting bond.
Future Planning and Commitment
Taking the step to plan out a future together is a big sign that you’ve moved beyond the casual dating phase. This could be anything from thinking about buying or adopting pets, making plans to move in together, or making wedding reservations. Once two people make the decision to plan a future together and are in it for the long haul, they have likely moved into an exclusive relationship and have decided that their commitment is strong enough for them to invest in each other for the foreseeable future.
Meaningful Conversation and Honest Discussions
A key step when dating someone is having meaningful conversations. When two people decide to be in an exclusive, committed relationship, they learn more and more about each other by spending quality time together and going through life experiences together. Social media and digital conversations are not enough to truly gauge what sort of a connection two people have. Knowing that two people are deeply connected through an emotional and intellectual bond that goes beyond physical attraction can be a sign that they’re transitioning from the dating phase into a relationship. Honest communication between partners is essential in understanding where they stand with one another and how far they’re willing to take the relationship.
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