Dating can be confusing, especially if you haven’t verbally defined the relationship. But you don't necessarily need to have a clear talk to determine whether you’re heading in a more serious direction, or if you’re already there. If you haven’t had “the talk” about the seriousness of your relationship, some signs can add up to a clear answer.
A sign of a serious relationship is if both people are committed to each other. If you're in a monogamous relationship, both of you have set aside the idea of dating around because you are content with your relationship. Being committed is more than just wanting to continue the relationship, it means making the sacrifices to make it work. If both of you are making fair compromises to keep the other in your life, such as going out of your way to spend time together during a busy week, this is a sign of true commitment in a serious relationship.
Another sign of a serious relationship is when you have spoken about your future together, whether it is looking several months ahead or a few years down the road. You may plan your lives around each other, or even consider the other person when making life-changing decisions, such as whether to take a new job. Making plans together strengthens your connection. Planning together means that you’re expecting the relationship to be long term and gives you events to look forward to as a couple.
Trust and Support
Your relationship is more than just a casual affair when you start to confide in your partner and lean on her for emotional support. He may be the first person you think to call when you have a flat tire on the road, or she may be the first person you call when you’re having a bad day. According to psychologist Kevin D. Arnold’s "Psychology Today" article “Tests of Trust: Important Moments in Relationships,” talking to your partner about negative emotions is a way to test if the relationship will work out. If you are able to connect over the negative emotions, such as having a stressful day at work, you are able to build trust and a stronger bond.
Family and Friends
People in a serious relationship allow their significant others into their close circle of friends and introduce them to their relatives (immediate family and maybe extended family members, too). You will know your relationship is serious when you get close to your girlfriend’s friends or are considered a part of her family.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images