If you're part of a couple, but aren't sure if you've been together long enough to be considered serious, understanding what a real relationship means is key. From closeness and commitment to keeping it exclusive, the length of time necessary to develop these ingredients of a serious relationship may vary from couple to couple.

Close Call

A serious relationship calls for a sense of closeness or bond and this doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to share your feelings thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears with your new partner. Just because you spend 24 hours straight talking to your new girl doesn't mean that the two of you share a bond yet. Give yourselves time to get to know each other in a natural way. It may take months before you feel seriously close to each other.

Commitment to the Cause

If you're truly serious, then you aren't dating other people. Making a commitment to each other is an essential part of a serious relationship. You don't need an engagement or marriage to make things serious, but you do need some sort of verbal pledge to each other. Although you could agree to keep your coupling exclusive on the first date, it's likely that you'll want to get to know each other better before doing so. Whether you make a commitment after a few weeks or months, pledging yourself to your partner means that you're in it for the long haul.

Communication is Key

No matter how long you've been together, without effective communication your relationship may not be as serious as you'd like to think it is. Communicating your feelings and needs is an essential element of a healthy relationship, according to the the article "What's Your Relationship Reality" on the Stayteen.org website. Communication in a committed relationship means talking about how you feel about each other, resolving conflicts and being open about who you are and what's important to you. Respecting each others beliefs, values and boundaries is a must when it comes to effective relationship communication.

Trust Builder

If you hope that your relationship is or will be serious, trust is a must. As you each learn that you can rely on your partner, you'll begin to trust each other, according to the Stayteen.org website. This includes seeing how your partner responds to problems or conflicts in your relationship or how she treats you in certain circumstances. For example, if the two of you get into an argument and she immediately runs back to her ex, it may mean that you can't trust her to stay true when times get tough. The trust necessary to develop a serious relationship will take time to develop.