How To Turn A Casual Relationship Into More

The dating game doesn't come with rules. Rather, there are plenty of *unspoken* rules, but no clear directions. It's a game of trial and error and all players are stumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out how to advance but never knowing which move or which direction is going to take them there. So when you start to feel like you'd like to turn a casual relationship into something serious, it can be very confusing. You can't Google or Mapquest your way there. You have to rely on your own instincts and moves to take the relationship to the next level.

But it takes two to tango, so you can't advance a relationship by yourself. If you feel confident that this person is worth investing in, you're going to have to communicate your feelings with them, which can be really scary. You are placing yourself in a vulnerable position, putting it all out there and saying "take it or leave it" knowing that there's a chance you'll lose it all. So how do you find the words? When do you share them? What do you say? These are 11 ways to turn a casual relationship into something more, over time.

1. Be Clear With Your Intentions

Let this person know that you're in it to win it. Let them know that you're looking for a relationship that has legs. Make sure it's clear you're not just looking for something light.

2. Take Your Time

Don't rush into something more serious. Take your time getting to know each other. Make sure that you can share your secrets and folds of your personalities at a natural pace. Really make sure that you're letting this person see all the dimensions of your character.

3. Make Healthy Evaluations

Sometimes our egos get the best of us and we think we want things that we don't actually want. Make sure that this isn't about winning a game, it's about winning a person's heart.

4. Lead By Example

Don't expect this person to be serious about you if you're not serious about them. Treat them with the respect that you would treat a boyfriend or girlfriend, from the very beginning. There's no reason to save it for later.

5. Visualize It

Before you ask for something, be sure to know what it will look like if you get it. Try to picture what a serious version of this relationship will look like. Is it attainable? Would the addition enhance your life or change it?

6. Consider The Changes

If you take this relationship into a more serious zone, there will be things that will be required of you, too. Are you willing to go to their wok holiday parties and be their plus one at a wedding that is a eight hour bus ride away? Make sure you like this person enough to take on their life, too.

7. Are You In Or Out?

Decide what your deal-breakers are. If this person wants to keep things how they are, does that work for you? Or is this all or nothing for you?

8. Do A Compatibility Check

Do you two want the same thing out of life? Have the same values? Do your long-term plans align? If not, it might not make sense to take it to the next level.

9. Make Time To Talk

If this conversation is important to you, make sure this person takes it seriously. Pick a time to talk that works for both of you — i.e., not at 2 a.m. after you two have been out all night partying and are half asleep.

10. Spill Your Guts

Find a way to tell this person how you feel about them in a clear and direct fashion. Let them know what you like about them. Let them know why you think you're compatible. Tell them what you want.

11. Stick To Your Guns

If you go into this conversation telling yourself that if they're not invested in taking it to the next level that you're out, then be out. Don't take scraps and change your standards.

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