How to Go From Dating to Long-Term Love

Take the sizzle of chemistry to a long-term commitment.
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While casually dating a new guy or girl is a heart-pounding, butterfly-fluttering time, it isn't the same as long-term love. Even though staying in the initial electrical attraction phase may seem ideal, at some point you need to decide whether your relationship will last. Making the transition from "just dating" to a long-term relationship takes a blend of closeness, commitment and patience.

1 Build a Bond

During your first few dates you are getting to know your potential partner, exploring whether he is right for you. As you share thoughts, feelings, worries, hopes and dreams, you'll build a closer bond. Real love happens as you mix the initial spark with true closeness, according to the article "Love and Romance" on the TeensHealth website. Spend time with your partner. Share thoughts and feelings with him and ask him to do the same with you.

2 Declare It

During weeks or months dating, you gradually build a sense of closeness. The two of you are getting along better than you ever could have imagined. Does this mean that you are moving toward long-term love? Possibly, but without a declaration of commitment you might not be sure. If you want to make your love long-term, discuss making a decision to stay together. Ask your partner if she's committed to you and what that means to her. Without commitment, you run the risk of finding out that she has always thought it was acceptable to date other guys.

3 Trust Each Other

Building trust in each other is a sign that your relationship is moving from casual to long-lasting. Keep in mind that building trust takes time. Both of you will need to act in a trustworthy way. For example, if your guy secretly looks at your texts to see if you are cheating, he doesn't trust you. On the other hand, if he seems perfectly confident in your love for him -- and only him -- he is developing a sense of trust.

4 Identities and Interests

During the dating period you learn about your love's interests and share your interests, as well. But as you move toward a long-term relationship, you must show your own identity. This means staying true to yourself and not pretending to have interests in the same things that your partner does, according to the article "Defining a Healthy Relationship for Teens" on the Palo Alto Medical Foundation's website. For example, if your guy is a football enthusiast but you could care less, don't fake it. Let him have his interests and make sure that you do the same.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.