There’s nothing worse than being a relationship with someone—and you realize you define the relationship differently. You think you’re exclusive, then realize he/she is still swiping right on Hinge and Tinder. “We never had ‘the talk,’” they may say as a defense. Or maybe you’re the one who doesn’t want to commit to to them 100 percent yet. Maybe you’re still in the dating-multiple-people phase. After all, what’s the rush? No matter what level you and your yet-to-be-defined relationship partner are at, at some point, it’s bound to come up and it's important you make sure you're on the same page. But when is the right time to define the relationship?
It's a confusing time in dating, where social media and technology (texts and Facebook messages) have overtaken good old-fashioned courting and wooing someone over. Now, all your date has to do is show up on time, as promised, and he or she wins points (versus making a dinner reservation or actually coming up with a plan for a date). According to this New York Times article, many millennials “hang out” versus go on traditional dates.
Of online dating and single people in their 20s, Branding Coordinator Joshua Sky in New York said:
“It’s like online job applications, you can target many people simultaneously—it’s like darts on a dart board, eventually one will stick.”
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But, you can be different. You can actually date someone in hopes of having a future with them, not just because it’s convenient or you’re lonely on a Friday night. Here are telltale signs it’s time to define the relationship.
1. You're Together All The Time
Yes, you’ve forgotten that other people exist. You have friends?! And family?! Whaaat?! That’s right, now you find yourself with this person a LOT, like 24/7. And, if you spend that much time together, it only makes sense to define the relationship.
2. Everywhere You Go, People Assume You're A Couple
Yes, I know, maybe you just have a friend whom you do everything with and it’s not a dating thing, but if this is someone you are dating and everyone else is questioning your status, you should be, too. (I’m not saying to define yourselves with labels if you’re not there yet (emotionally) but you can always define it as “friends with benefits” or “on the way to exclusive” status so both of you are on the same page.)
3. There’s Lots Of Evidence You Two Are Together (Likes Tons Of Pictures On Facebook)
Facebook and social media don’t lie, so if THEY think you’re a couple, why continue to deny it?
4. You Tell Them Everything (And Before You Tell Anyone Else)
You want to share everything with this person, from little moments to bigger ones. They become your pseudo-journal and right-hand man or woman. Your joys and disappointments are theirs—and vice-versa.
5. They’re The Last Person You Talk To Before You Go To Bed
You talk on the phone or text goodnight on a regular basis (the nights you’re not together, anyway).
6. You’ve Told Your Family And Best Friends About Him/Her—And Perhaps Ad Nauseam
After all, how many of our casual dating relationships do we mention to our parents?!
7. You Expect To See Him/Her On Weekends (And Not To Mention Several Other Days And Nights In Between)
It’s just a given we’ll see this person. Also, we assume he or she will be our plus-one for our friend’s wedding or our date to someone’s dinner party.
8. Your Friends Expect That You'll Be Bringing Said Person Along To Events
Not only do you assume your almost-significant other will be at upcoming social events with you, but your friends start to assume so, too.
9. You Think About Them...A LOT
You just can’t help it. They take up a large percentage in the pie chart in your brain: it’s the person (about 90-95 percent), then the rest of your activities, like eating, sleeping, and working. Whether you’re falling for them or not, this person crosses your mind more than anyone else (or is at least in the top three).
10. You Have Way More Good To Say About Them Than Bad
Yes, when we're in the new-to-dating-again scene, we love to complain to our friends about our dates or people we're dating. But when we have nothing but nice things to say about someone, chances are this one's a keeper.
11. You Get Jealous (And Not In An Irrational, Stalking Kind Of Way)
For many people I know, they knew they were really into someone—or on the verge of dating them seriously—when they’d get jealous about seeing or hearing about them with someone else. “Just friends” don’t get jealous—9.9 times out of 10, it means there’s something underlying there and, if so, why aren’t you exclusively dating?
12. You’re Not Interested In Dating Others
You’ve disabled your dating apps and online profiles—Tinder, OKC, Match, eHarmony, JDate, Happn, and others—and you’re not interested in friends setting you up. You also no longer flirt with your hot coffee barista or want to go bar-hopping with friends in hopes of meeting someone, for you’ve already found them. So, now’s the time to say something to them.
13. Sex With Other People ...
You don't have sex with other people. Well, I’m sure some folks out there want to and do, but… um… that said, if you’re not comfortable with the other person having sex with other people, you need to say something. Or cut it off. Or have sex with other people, too. But, point being, you only want to have sex with one person, end of story.
14. You Leave Things Behind
Some people do this on purpose while, with many, this happens naturally, whether you leave behind your hairbrush or a piece of clothing. (I am not suggesting this as a way to someone's heart and exclusivity, though. Then, you are just crazy and trying too hard, Leaving things behind usually happens naturally and is not forced.)
15. You Are Yourself
At the beginning of dating someone new, we’re on our ultra-best behavior. As time goes on, we should still be on our best behavior, but the real versions of ourselves start to come through, too—like we may have cleaned our apartment, top to bottom, the first few times our new beau came over… but then we laxed and he saw us for the none-too-neat person we are. And, he accepted it. Same goes for makeup. Perhaps we once thought he or she could never see our makeup-less face. Yet, over time, we started to not wear makeup all the time around the person, and guess what? He or she didn’t mind! In fact, they may even prefer it.
16. You Talk About The Future
By future, I mean things that are weeks or months away. Any relationship that is future-forward is a key sign that the person you’re with doesn’t see you disappearing anytime soon. So, assuming you agree, define away.
17. You Can't Imagine A Life Without Them
You cannot envision not seeing or having them in your life. How would it be complete, otherwise? And, why would you stop a too-good-to-be-true thing? Why would you ever want to replace the person? Well, good news—you don’t have to!