How to Tell if You're in a Serious Relationship

Picture this scenario: you've been seeing someone for a while now. You've gone on a few dates, you talk to each other a lot over the phone or online, and you're doing so much together now. But is it a serious relationship? Could it still be just a casual thing that won't get much further?

If you want to be sure one way or the other, you'll need to ask the following questions about you and your partner.

1. How do you talk to each other? This can be one of the less obvious signs to pick up on when you're transitioning into a long-term relationship with someone. You might still be prone to the same casual chitchat that you got into on your first dates, but there are subtle cues for people who are getting serious with each other. This includes signs like always complimenting each other or being the first person that your partner calls when they get big news. The more this develops in your everyday conversation with your partner, the more serious you're becoming.

2. How do you touch or engage each other? It's possible for close friends to be physical with each other (e.g., a hug, an arm around the shoulder, or a kiss on the cheek), but there's a way of touching that only real couples can get away with. Moves like putting your arm around your partner's waist or them resting their head on your shoulder are far more intimate. In early dates, you might be more grabby and passionate in your touches, but the sign of a serious commitment is when you and your partner hold each other gently and with real feeling.

3. What are you like when you're alone together? In quiet, unguarded moments, you can see how you and your partner feel around each other. For example, do you find it easy to curl up on the couch together when you watch TV? How about sleeping in bed together? Just like with touching, in a short but passionate relationship, you might touch or talk to each other with a lot of fire but no real connection. A serious commitment means you're more likely to be affectionate without requiring passion. It means enjoying each other's company for its own sake, even if all you're doing is talking or lying in bed together.

4. What do you (both) want most? This is probably one of the--if not the most--hardest questions to answer. But it can determine the next step with you and your partner. Ask yourself if you're enjoying the time you and your partner are spending together. Look at how you feel around each other and if you're happy with the results. Sure, you'll have some bad days now and then, and maybe some mornings you'd rather not look at them, but what about all the other days? Being able to appreciate your partner and who you are around them is the litmus test for whether or not you've got the real thing in your hands.

Image by Seranya Photography on Flickr

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