Few words are as fraught with the possibility of confusion and hurt feelings as “dating” and “relationship.” Some people have serial relationships, dating one person at a time, but exiting each relationship after a few weeks or months. Some are looking for the love of their lives, while others just want to have fun. If you are unsure where you and your partner fall on the relationship spectrum, it is best to have a face-to-face conversation. Carefully considering several factors will help you define your relationship and learn what to expect.
Length and Depth of the Relationship
Relationships need time to develop, according to KidsHealth.org. The initial rush of attraction eventually fades, giving you the opportunity to assess your feelings and create a love that is built to last. Besides attraction, truly committed relationships share closeness and commitment. Closeness is a bond built through facing the ups and downs of life together, while commitment is the promise that you make to stick by each other. Although there are exceptions, in general, new relationships are more casual than those that have lasted for months or years. Dating each other exclusively is also important in a serious relationship.
Honesty and Transparency
In casual relationships, partners tend to come and go from each other’s lives. You might spend a week apart and then come back together without a second thought. In more serious relationships, though, people are generally more transparent about the time they spend apart. A partner who gives you clear answers about where he goes and what he does is probably interested in developing a serious relationship, according to the staff at eHarmony.com.
Making Space in Your Lives
The modern world is filled with distractions, obligations and sources of stress. Yet when two people are serious about each other, they tend to make space in their busy lives, notes eHarmony.com. If you know each other’s family and friends, support each other’s individual interests and make time together a priority, your relationship is probably serious.
Future intentions are a definite sign of a serious relationship, especially in older teens and young adults. In many casual relationships, the partners tend to take things as they come and not give too much thought to the future. Other relationships are intentionally casual because both people know that they will end when one goes off to college or enters a different life stage. If the two of you have talked about getting married someday, picked out baby names or worked out how to keep your relationship strong if you are divided by life circumstances, your relationship is probably serious.
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