You’ve been talking for a while. Now you want to know: How do you transition your friends-with-benefits fun into more serious territory? While there’s no magic potion for commitment, you can use these tips to subtly up the chances that they’ll want to turn casual dating into a relationship.
You’ve been “talking” to them for a few months now. You can almost finish their sentences and map out their schedule for the day. Your heart melts when they flash a big smile at you. They even will spend time helping you binge-watch your favourite Netflix shows. Everything seems perfect. Well…everything but that you have no idea where things stand. They have yet to introduce you as their girlfriend or boyfriend or being exclusive, and you are just wanting some clarity. Actually, if you’re like me, you’re craving that “couple” title and the security that comes with it. I know how you feel.
So what do you do if you want to turn this casual relationship into a committed relationship?
Since every person and relationship is unique, there’s no magic phrase or potion that can get them to commit. However, you can use these tips to subtly up the chances that they’ll want to turn casual dating into a relationship.
They seem like the partner of your dreams. You start hearing little wedding bells in your head and your thoughts are racing about how you lock them down. Before you start planning your wedding, be sure you actually want to commit to them. Step back and ask yourself the following questions: Do I have fun with them? Is my mood elevated when I’m with them? Do I feel good about myself after we part ways? Do they improve my life? Do I feel respected?
One thing to look out for: red flags. If they’re acting extremely jealous or policing your every move, you need to really reevaluate things. And never tell yourself, “This is cool. They’ve done nothing wrong, so I guess I should be with him.” (Related: )
That’s convincing yourself of something that’s probably not right. Find a relationship where you feel good when you’re without them, but you feel even better with them.
Avoid the “Dating” Discussion
It seems strange to suggest, but experts’ No. 1 piece of advice is to never to bring up the DTR (a.k.a. define the relationship, or “what are we?”) conversation. Imagine going to a party, turning off the music, turning on the lights and asking, “Are we all having a good time?” You can feel the momentum of a good relationship drain out as soon as this question is asked.
Check the footage. Rewind the tape of your interactions. If it feels good let it progress naturally. Do they try to see you whenever they’re free? Do they seem genuinely interested in what you have to say? Do they have as much fun on dates as you do? These are likely signs they’re in it for real, so enjoy being with them and relax about making things “official.” More often, your lover wants to feel like they’re the one choosing to be with you.
Bring It Up Gracefully
This ‘go with the flow’ phase shouldn’t last forever, though. If you’re six months in and they haven’t dropped a single hint about where they see this going, casually bring it up. For example, if you’d like them to meet your parents, ask if they’d be up for going out to dinner, but let them know there’s no harm if they’re not quite ready for that yet. Above all, keep the tone light and maintain open lines of communication.
If you’re confident that you want things to be serious, go ahead and tell them. Describe the kind of relationship you want and why. Be clear about what commitment means for you without giving an ultimatum. If they aren’t open to a discussion, let them mull it over for a couple weeks. But if they still don’t respond when you bring it up again, it may be time to rethink the relationship. You have to decide which you want more: someone who’s committed or this person, even if they won’t ever be.
When we go on dates that are familiar, we tend to move more on autopilot. So, it’s time to think beyond dinner and after-drinks for your next date. The best type of date allows you to stop texting, put the phone down, and really connect. Restaurants are fine, but try something a little outside your comfort zone from time to time. Check out a vineyard, see a local band, or challenge them to a race on a city trail. New adventures fortify your relationship by developing shared memories to reminiscence about later. That bond increases the likelihood they’ll want to keep seeing you, exclusively.
As a bonus, the dates your partner comes up with will give you some insight into how interested they are in you. If they suggest seeing a new exhibit because they remember you like art, that’s a sure sign of investment in the connection.
Show Your Selfless Side
Spending Saturday morning in the soup kitchen or helping an elderly person carry their groceries may help your partner see you in a more serious light. In a recent British study, people rated potential sexual partners to be more attractive for a long-term relationship if they had altruistic qualities. Giving back to others shows your good heart and integrity. While your love interest may not consciously think that far in the future, partners are subconsciously assessing traits they want to see in a wife or husband.
That doesn’t mean you have to sign up at a homeless shelter only to impress them. Little things in your everyday life, from buying coffee for the woman in line behind you to walking your neighbor’s dog, count too. Make an effort to do these things on a regular basis, but also make sure you’re showing your selfless side when you’re with them. When you’re a kind and gracious person, people are more likely to want to be around you-both consciously and subconsciously.
Create Some Mystery
Even if you’re anxiously awaiting their call, you shouldn’t be available every time they want to see you. Create something worth investing in and make them realize your value. If you’re always waiting around, they won’t feel the need to try that hard.
Build some intrigue into your schedule that keeps them wanting more. Wait a few minutes to text back, or if they ask if you’re free Tuesday, say that you have other plans but you’d love to meet up on Wednesday. This helps them to realize that your time is valuable and that they’ll have to go out of their way to see you. Just remember: No one likes playing games. Don’t move dates around too much–that can get frustrating for someone who also has a busy schedule like you.
The worst thing you can do when you meet someone you think is the partner of your dreams is to stop being yourself. Think about it. They were attracted to you, but you are willing to change who you are in order to fit what you ‘think’ they want. Trying to be someone you’re not is obvious. So, if you’d rather go for a walk outside than watch football or hit a spoken word event, don’t pretend to love the Steelers or care about metaphysical lyrics just because the person you’re seeing is a fan.
Instead, have your own interests to demonstrate how exciting your life is, with or without them. Be the fast-moving car that they want to jump into, not the one sitting in the parking lot, waiting around. Keep up your long runs on the weekends even if they want to hang out, and don’t expect (or pester) them to skip weekly basketball games in favor of seeing you. One of the most appealing things to a partner is someone who has their own autonomy and strength. Allow the passion for your life to attract them to jump in and be a part of it.
The Simple Truth
There’s always that fine line between playing a little hard to get and acting totally indifferent. When you’re out to dinner, make sure not to constantly check your phone or dart your eyes around the room. It may be dating 101, but many of us start acting weird when we are in our heads about something we want from the person we’re with and haven’t said it.
Keep being the person they were interested in. show you care about what they have to say and ask about their life. People appreciate and want to be with someone who makes them feel special. If you rock their world and they love being with you, why would they ever want to be with anyone else?