Sometimes, after a while of dating, there can be a bit of a blur, and uncertainties arise over whether you are or aren’t “exclusive” yet. To make matters less confusing, we’ve reviewed dating vs relationship standards in order to identify which phase you are in.
Here are a few signs that you might still be in the dating phase:
- You’re still dating other people
- It’s not uncommon for people to date as many people as possible before something forms into a long-term relationship.
The whole process of dating is to find someone who you can settle down with.
You don’t know if the person you’re dating is worthy of settling down with until you’ve spent some time with them, and for many It is considered a huge waste of time only to date one person since they might not be right for you.
This is an area where people tend to get hurt. You might be the type who only dates one person at the time, while the other person goes on as many dates as possible.
You should talk to the person you’re dating to see how they approach the whole dating scene.
If you’re the type who only wants to date one person at a time, then you better steer clear of serial daters, as someone who dates many people at the same time will end up hurting your feelings.
The worst part is: they won’t be hurting your feelings on purpose.
Serial daters are people who prefer to date as many people as they can at one time. Some people are great at multitasking, and it’s not a big deal for them.
- You are spending far more time apart than together
- The vast majority of your time isn’t spent together as a couple.
- The time you do spend together is doing things such as going out to eat and probably netflix and “chill.”
Or better: If all of the time that you share is spent doing datey type of stuff, like movies, concerts, and other activities, it’s a clear indication that you are just “dating.”
That’s not to say that you can’t go to a movie while in a long-term relationship.
It’s when the bulk of your time is spent doing these things that you’re in what most would consider the dating phase.
How much time do people spend together while dating?
You might find yourself spending a few hours per week with someone? You probably aren’t seeing the other person every day. Though, you may be if you’re getting close to the serious phase.
You can tell how serious the two of you are by how much time you’re spending together. If you’re just hanging out on Fridays after work, then it’s probably not too serious.
It’s still possible that the relationship could turn serious down the line, but it isn’t there yet.
You’ve got those famous butterflies in your stomach
Every person who has ever gone out on a date knows what these butterflies are its anxiety that you’re feeling, and that is why you feel nervous.
The person you’re dating is still so important to you that you don’t want to do anything to scare them away. Sometimes the nervousness might also be coupled with excitement. You feel so excited to be around the person that you don’t want to do anything to ruin the moment.
That’s how you feel when you are so happy that you don’t want anything to destroy it.
You place such a high value on the dating experience that you don’t want to do anything that could harm it in any way. Will the anxiety ever go away? It will if the relationship settles down. For the anxiety to go away, you’ll need to feel as if the relationship is solid.
If you question if a relationship will form from your activities together, then you probably will still feel some anxiety. You must realize that relationships are a two-way street, and the other person has to feel the same way as you do. If they aren’t showing the same type of anxiety, then it means they might not have the same feelings for you.
It does happen, and there’s nothing you can do to make someone have feelings that don’t already exist.
There might not be any physical chemistry going on
What does physical chemistry mean? The first thing a person is going to deduct from a statement such as that is sex.
You shouldn’t immediately think that just because you’re not having sex that you’re only dating. Sex is different for men and women.
Your background also plays a role in how you view sex. If you had strong religious feelings, then you might not want to have sex until you’re married. Using sex as a guide to tell if you’re dating or in a relationship isn’t a good gauge.
Those of you who are using sex as a means of knowing if you’re past the dating phase may be doing yourself more harm than good. The first step to dating is when you begin to feel physical towards each other. Holding hands is an excellent example of what it means to start becoming physical.
The next step is hugging and then kissing. Sometimes people who are casually dating have sex, and it doesn’t turn into a relationship. There are those people who will only have sex with someone if they’re married to them.
Bodily contact or lack thereof can be something that determines if you are past the dating phase and are onto something else. You shouldn’t place too much of an importance on this area since it may not be the best indicator of where the two of you are headed.
How to know where you are at
Now let’s turn our attention to how you know if you’re in a long-term relationship. A word of caution about considering if you’re in a long-term relationship or not. You aren’t going to sit down one day and finally come to the conclusion that you’re in a long-term relationship.
It doesn’t work that way. You’ve probably had a few aha moments where you realize something has changed in your dating relationship. When the two of you realize you’re in a serious relationship, you’ll then understand what’s going on.
Usually, one person picks up on it before the other. There’s nothing wrong if you’re the one who realizes it first.
Some people are slower to catch on, and a part of that can be that they live busy lives and are juggling a million other things at the same time.
The two of you feel connected on an emotional level
How do you know if you are connecting to a person on an emotional level? You probably won’t know unless you’ve been in a situation like this before. You will start to care about the other person differently. You’ll feel a bond that you don’t typically feel with other people. You care how they are doing. If the other person is upset or angry, it will make you feel differently.
Don’t be surprised if you’re worried about their health and that sort of thing. You will know when you’re emotionally invested in someone when you start to care about them in different ways. It’s hard to describe an emotional attachment, but you’ll know it when it’s there. Things will pull on your heartstrings that didn’t before. You’ll have energy invested in the outcome of how the person is doing.
Your emotions will be closely tied to theirs. If they are feeling less than stellar, then you’re going to feel down in the dumps as well. The bond you share is on a deeper level now. It’s something at this point you know you can’t walk away from without feeling hurt. That hurt is the sign of an emotional bond that doesn’t want to be broken.
You’re together more than you are apart
When you’re dating, the vast majority of your time is spent apart. You only get together to take part in activities when you’re dating. Now you are spending almost all of your time together.
Your life has begun to intertwine with the person to the point that every day you’re with them. You can’t think of what a day would be like without them. You are now joined at the hip as they say.
Your lives can’t be separated. Sure, you work or go to school and that makes your lives different on some level. Any time that you’re not working or studying is spent being together. You can’t live your life without seeing the other person.
Some couples, at this point, are living together. If you’re not living together, then you’re spending the night with each other. You can’t help but want to spend every waking minute together. The two of you can’t be separated under any circumstances.
You see, that’s how you can tell that you’re in a relationship. People who are dating don’t want to spend that much time with each other.
If you’re dating, then all you want to do is have some fun. Now you’re so far away from the stage where all you want to do is have fun.
- You start to think of what the future will be like
- Are you talking about having children?
- Has each of you asked the other if you want to have children?
- Are you talking about where you want to live?
- If you are starting to talk about the future, it’s because the two of you want to have one together.
This is a good sign, and it’s something that you should take very seriously.
People don’t waste their time talking about the future if there’s nothing there.
If you can picture yourself getting old with the person, and you’re telling them about it, then that’s a sure sign the two of you want so much more than to only date each other. The whole purpose of dating is to find someone who you can spend the rest of your life with.
That’s it. If you’re talking amongst each other about what the rest of your life will be like, then you are past the dating stage.
You have now come to the realization that it’s possible to live the rest of your life with the person.
That is a significant step towards marriage or, at the very least, down the path towards being in a stable long-term relationship.
The hugs and kisses have more meaning behind them
Some are going to say at this stage that the sex you have is more meaningful. Sex isn’t always the best indicator because some people wait until marriage, like what was already said.
It’s hard to imagine that two people wouldn’t have any sort of physical contact before getting married. Hugs and kisses are surely something the two of you are enjoying.
There might be sex, and it could be more fulfilling than when you were dating. Sex isn’t the best indicator because many people frequently have sex without even dating.
If the two of you were dating others and now, you’re having sex with only each other, then that’s a definite sign you’re in a relationship.
It’s almost impossible not to get physical when you’re in a relationship with someone. You naturally want to give them a hug and a kiss if you haven’t seen then for a while.
If the two of you have been away from each other all day long, then a kiss is something that comes naturally. If it didn’t, then you wouldn’t be in a long-term relationship.
The feelings that you have for each other are so overwhelming that you have to connect the dots and enjoy the feeling of closeness.
A few final words
If you find someone special, the natural reaction is to want to hurry the dating process. It’s a bad idea to rush into a serious relationship for many reasons.
The main reason is that you might be overlooking things that could end up causing you all kinds of havoc later on. Take your time and allow the relationship to flourish.
Have fun and enjoy the process of dating many people to find the right person for you.
You’ll find them if you are willing to spend the time and energy required to building the foundation for the relationship that follows.
Love is the most beautiful thing a person can experience, and it’s best to make sure that the two of you feel the same way before moving forward.