Signs Your Relationship is Getting Serious
No matter how long it takes to get there, reaching a new stage in a romantic relationship is always an exciting—and sometimes scary—experience. When you get to that sweet spot where the thought of seeing your significant other again still makes you nervous (but in, like, a good way) but you don’t have any doubts that you will do so, the tenor of your relationship changes. There is a line between “seeing each other” and “dating”—but how do you know when you’re about to cross it?
Some signs are more obvious (saying “I love you” to one another is a good place to start), but others sneak up on you when you’re not looking. Here are some subtler signs that the one you’re with may be The One.
You Can’t Stop Thinking About Them
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s one thing to want to spend a lot of time with your significant other but yearning for their presence when you’re apart from one another kicks it up a notch. Your partner being on your mind nonstop is your brain remembering what makes you truly happy and instinctually trying to recreate those circumstances.
If you find it difficult to think about going a week without seeing your partner, you are definitely emotionally invested at a level beyond that of a casual relationship. If you can’t manage seven days, imagine how hard the rest of your life would be!
They Consult You About Big Decisions
People in casual flings don’t worry about whether their plans will cause inconveniences for the person they’re seeing. If your significant other asks for your opinion before booking a trip, or making a major purchase, or applying to a graduate program, it means that they’re cognizant that their choices may affect you, which demonstrates a level of commitment absent from casual dating. Likewise, if the effects on your partner are a deciding, or even contributing, factor to the choices you make, it’s a good sign that your relationship has reached a more serious stage.
You Consume Media Together
“Netflix and chill” rarely means just hanging out and watching television, but if you do feel comfortable spending an afternoon marathoning a series together, that’s actually a fantastic sign of close emotional intimacy. It takes a high level of comfort around another person to be able to quietly spend time together without any expectations and not get antsy.
You Don’t Fear Sharing Your Flaws
Nobody’s perfect, but we tend to put our best face forward when we enter a new relationship. Feeling like you can be vulnerable and show the less appealing parts of your personality to your partner without the fear of judgment demonstrates that you have reached a level of trust with them where you have faith that they will continue to want to be with you, flaws and all.
This goes double if you feel like you can share information that you think could be used against you. We guard our deepest secrets close to our hearts for good reason; feeling comfortable sharing those means you likely see yourself in it for the long-haul.
You Start Thinking of Being with Them as Being Home
Here’s a sneaky one. Even not living together, a couple in a serious relationship will see their lives entangled in inextricable ways. Maybe you get used to waking up with another body beside you. Maybe you rearrange your grocery lists to plan for meals for two. Maybe you look at each other’s work schedules, so you know the perfect time to take off on a trip together. When your picture of coming home includes another person, that’s a clear sign that your relationship is no longer a casual fling.
You Meet the Family
Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum—you and your partner probably both have family and friends outside of one another. A casual relationship may keep those parts of your lives separate. By introducing you to their family and friends, your significant other is showing you that they want your lives to mesh together in new and previously unexplored ways.
It is also a sign of vulnerability—your partner may act differently around friends and family than they do around you when the two of you are alone together, and introducing you to this circle is an offer to a window into a side of your partner you may have never seen before. Accept this gesture for what it is—a gift.
Conflict Doesn’t Mean Game Over
In my experience, it doesn’t take much to end a casual relationship. All it can take is one small disagreement to bring the whole thing to the ground. It’s easy to drop a partner who you’re not emotionally invested in and just move on, but cutting ties gets more difficult as your relationship deepens.
Constant fighting is a sign of an unhealthy romance, but occasional disagreements should be expected and are par for the course. The ability to experience discord in your relationship and then resolve it and move on demonstrates a mutual commitment to making the relationship work.
You’re Both Honest About What You Want
And probably the best sign your relationship is getting more serious—you’re both honest with each other about what you want to get out of it and are willing to discuss what you need to do to meet those desires. It’s difficult to think about the future of a relationship that’s barely left the ground; if you’re comfortable talking about what your relationship will look like down the line, you and your partner have reached a level of commitment that shows you’re both in it to win it.