Dating in today’s world is a bit of a battlefield. Even if you’re in a relationship, you may still be wondering if things will progress to the next level.
I remember feeling the same way with my now husband – there were signs that our relationship was evolving, but it was hard to be sure with all the emotions and uncertainty flying around.
If you’re in the same predicament, this article will put your mind at ease.
Here are 10 signs your casual relationship is turning into something quite serious:
1) Consistent communication
When my husband and I started dating, I honestly thought it would just be a fling. We spent the first few months just having fun, nothing too deep.
But one day, a few months in, I woke up and he hadn’t messaged. I found it strange – we spoke every day.
That’s kind of when I realized that, “Oh, maybe this means more to me than I realized.”
Because when you’re in the casual stage of a relationship, you don’t necessarily feel the need to talk every single day.
But once things start heating up a bit, chances are your communication will increase too.
You can’t wait to talk to them, hear about their day, and know that they’re okay (and vice versa).
2) Meeting family and friends
Ah, meeting the dreaded in-laws!
It’s a nerve-wracking experience for most people, but also a pretty significant one.
If your partner has introduced you to their loved ones or has mentioned setting up a meeting, they mean business.
Most people won’t bother introducing someone casual to their folks – they wait for the real deal to come along.
It’s a way of bringing you into the familial fold, but also because they probably want to see how you interact with their closest family and friends.
If you hit it off, that’s a major green flag.
From there, they know they can invest in a deeper relationship with you. And the same applies if you’re already excited for them to meet your circle – you’re interested to know whether they’ll fit in smoothly or not.
3) Spending significant time together
Another sign your casual relationship is turning into something quite serious is if you’re constantly together.
Before, you’d meet only when convenient.
But now, you’re noticing that you both prioritize seeing each other.
And when you do get together, you’re not just out partying or holed up in the bedroom.
You actually do stuff together. You explore each other’s likes, go out to eat, and most importantly, talk. A lot.
The fact that you’re both craving each other’s company shows that maybe there’s potential for a real, serious relationship to develop.
4) Planning for the future
After six months of dating, my husband told me he wasn’t sure about whether he’d stay in the UK or move elsewhere (he was only living there temporarily).
It forced us into talking about the future, but ultimately, I left the decision with him.
To my surprise, he decided to stay and even asked me to move in with him.
From then on, there was no doubt that we’d moved up a level.
So, if you find you’re having more and more talks of the future, it’s because you both see each other in it.
You want to ensure you’re on the same page and if so, whether the relationship will move from milestone to milestone.
5) Emotional support
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that casual relationships tend to stay surface-level.
Great sex. Fun dates. But not a lot of depth or emotional connection.
So when you notice your partner investing in your emotional well-being, take it as a big sign that this is turning into something more serious.
For example, if you’re going through a tough time with your family and you confide in them, rather than brush it off with a, “I’m sure it’ll all work out,” they’ll want to hear in detail about what’s going on.
They’ll follow up the next time they see you.
And most importantly, they’ll support you through it. By listening, offering advice, and even doing something nice to help take your mind off things.
That’s when you know they truly care about you.
6) Personal belongings at each other’s places
It sounds like the classic scene from the movies…you leave a toothbrush…then some clothing…and then before you know it, you’ve got your own drawer!
But as scripted as it sounds, if you are leaving belongings at each other’s places, it’s another sign things are turning serious.
It shows that neither of you plans on ducking out anytime soon.
You’re clearly seeing more of each other, so it makes sense – no more lugging around all your belongings every time you sleep over.
What I really like about this sign, though, is that symbolically and literally, you’re making room for each other in your lives.
That invitation of, “Hey, leave some stuff here in my personal, private space,” is more than just leaving physical objects around. It’s about acknowledging that you want this person around more often.
7) Public displays of affection
My husband would probably kill me for sharing this, but I distinctly remember trying to hold his hand in public once (early into dating) and he awkwardly pulled it away.
But when things got serious, he became the biggest love bug.
He didn’t care about PDA (public displays of affection) in fact, I used to have to remind him to tone it down!
That’s when it really became clear that he was proud to show the world that we were together.
So if you notice your partner doing the same – hugging, kissing, holding hands in public – take it as a promising sign.
They want things to progress, and they’re happy for the world to know about it.
8) Prioritizing each other
Have you observed that you’re increasingly taking each other into consideration, sometimes even prioritizing the other’s needs over your usual commitments?
For example, your partner knows that you’re free on Thursday evenings, so rather than work out like they used to, they’ve adjusted their schedule to be free for you.
This would be an example of prioritizing you and the relationship.
It’s not necessarily about quitting life altogether just for you (that would be a red flag and sign of lack of boundaries) but making small adjustments to accommodate you.
This means one thing – you care enough about each other to put less important things to one side.
In a way, it’s letting the other person know that they matter and you value their presence in your life.
9) Discussing exclusive dating
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning.
If you’ve had “the talk”, congratulations! It certainly sounds like the relationship is reaching new heights.
For me, that came about quite awkwardly. My husband randomly asked me one day a few months into dating, “Are you seeing anyone else?”
I said no…and he said he wasn’t either. Then he shyly added, “I don’t have an interest in anyone else, if it’s okay, I’d like to see where things go between us.”
I played it cool, but inside I was buzzing.
If you’re having similar conversations (hopefully a bit more communicative than mine!) then rest assured – things are progressing towards a serious relationship.
Especially if you’ve both expressed a desire for the relationship to become exclusive.
You’re no longer on the market, the dating apps have been deleted, and all your focus is now on each other.
10) Emotional intimacy during sex
And finally, how’s the sex?
Is it still rough, hot, and passionate? Or has it become slower, sensual, and intimate?
That’s usually a positive sign that things are turning quite serious.
Now, you look deeply into each other’s eyes when making love. You cuddle once you’re both done. You talk about how you can better please each other.
It’s not a wham-bam-thank-you-mam type of situation anymore.
This is something you’ll also feel intuitively – the strengthening of your intimate connection.
If you’ve got to this point, enjoy it. It’s probably one of the most beautiful parts of a developing relationship – when sex becomes more than just reaching the finish line.
So, hopefully, you’ve related to the points above and have received the confirmation you were looking for.
But rather than rely just on my advice, speak to your partner and be upfront and honest – that’s the best way to know for sure if you’re both on the same page.