If your partner hasn’t asked you to be in a committed relationship with them and you’ve been dating a long time, you might feel like you’re in a kind of relationship limbo.
If you’re asking yourself (or your partner) ‘are we in a relationship or just dating?’ It sounds like it’s not clear.
To help you out, there are some key differences between dating and being in a relationship.
Here is a list of 10 clear signs that you’re no longer just dating and are in an exclusive relationship (without your partner saying it!):
Are We in A Relationship or Just Dating? 10 Signs that Say Relationship!
1. You’ve Told Each Other You’re Exclusive
The main difference between dating and being in a relationship is exclusivity.
Dating is all about getting to know someone and most will keep their options open while doing so.
When you’re exclusive with one another that’s a definite sign that you’re in a relationship together, whether it’s been said explicitly or not.
2. Both of You Have Said “I Love You”
Those three-words everyone wants to hear their partner say when they feel the same don’t come lightly.
You can fall in love while dating, of course, but when you’re in a relationship, it’s expected that you both feel and express love for one another.
Saying “I love you” is a big step in any relationship and if you haven’t said it yet, you might still just be dating.
Or, it might be that you find it hard to open up and say those words, and that’s something you’re going to need to work on.
3. You No Longer Arrange Dates and Just Hang out All the Time
There is also a very big difference between arranging dates and not being too sure when the next date will be, and just hanging out all the time.
Dates are pre-planned and you know when they’re happening.
When you’re just hanging out, it’s more spontaneous and you don’t need to put so much time into arranging to meet up.
It’s nice not to have those date nerves and anxiety too, you know you’re comfortable in a relationship at that point.
4. You’re Staying Over Each Others’ Places a Lot
If you’re comfortable enough with each other to stay the night at each other’s places on a regular basis, that’s usually a good sign that things are going well!
It shows commitment, trust and mutual respect, and that you’re both comfortable sharing each other’s personal space.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, but if you’re finding yourself spending more and more time at your partner’s place, it might be time to have a talk about where things are going.
5. You’ve Been Leaving Belongings at Each Other’s Places
This is taking things one step further than staying over at each other’s place – it’s almost like you’ve got one foot in the door!
If you’re both comfortable enough to leave possessions at each other’s, it means you’re not concerned about other people knowing you’re serious.
It’s a way of saying, “I’m in a happy place with the relationship and I don’t care who knows it.”
6. You Talk About the Future Together
It’s possible you’re getting excited while dating and talking about stuff you’ll do in the future.
But if you’re really talking about the future, like sitting down and planning things far into the future, it sounds like you’re in a committed relationship.
This is a good thing, it means you both see the relationship going somewhere and are planning on sticking together for the long run.
7. You’re Comfortable with Them Seeing You without Making Effort
When you’re dating, I’m sure you’ll agree that you want to impress your date and you’ll put a lot of effort into your appearance.
I’m not suggesting you are no longer putting in effort, but if you’re comfortable enough with your partner to see you first thing in the morning, after work, or anytime at a minute’s notice, it’s no longer dating.
8. You’ve Introduced Each Other to Your Family Members
Introducing your partner to your family is a big deal, at least it is for most people.
It’s a way of saying, “I want you to be a part of my life and meet the people who matter to me.”
If you’ve both met each other’s families and have been accepted, it shows that things are going well and you’re both serious about the relationship.
9. You’re Not Anxious About when You’ll See Them Again
When you’re dating someone, there’s always that anxious feeling about when you’ll see them again, if they’re seeing someone else, if they feel the same, etc.
But if you’re in a committed relationship, those feelings of anxiety should start to dissipate because you know you’ll see each other again soon.
You might not be seeing each other every day, but you’ll feel it if you’ve moved on from scheduled dates to seeing each other.
10. You Can Just Feel What You Have Is Special!
When romance is concerned, there is always just a ‘feeling’ that overwhelms us.
If you feel like what you have with your partner is special, and it just feels ‘right’, then it’s probably because it is!
Sure, sometimes we get it wrong, but if you’re checking off other points on this list then it sounds like you’re in a relationship and not dating.
Even if you’re not the kind of person to talk about this in the open, it doesn’t harm to ask your partner how they see your relationship.
No matter how difficult it feels to ask, if they feel the same as you do they’ll be just as excited as you are to find out!
Related – How to ask for a second date.
What Is the Difference Between Dating and Being in A Relationship?
The main difference between dating and being in a relationship is when you’re in a relationship you have a mutual commitment to each other.
You and the person you’re with have agreed, either formally or informally, that you’re seeing each other exclusively and are in a relationship together.
Sometimes the lines are blurred when you’re not the type of person to talk about this kind of thing or your feelings openly, but there are some huge differences between dating and being in a relationship.
If you’re still not 100% sure, the best thing you can do is simply come out and ask your partner.
You could say something like, “So, I was just wondering…. are we still dating or in a relationship?”
Or, you could make it a little more lighthearted and say something like, “I’m so over this pretentious dating thing, are we in a relationship or not?”
This should give you the answer you need without feeling like you’ve put your partner on the spot!
Image credits – Photo by Blake Carpenter on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.