Falling in love is a magical experience. The stolen glances, the endearing hugs, the endless kisses and the mad attraction! But after that glorious honeymoon period, sets in the phase when you must decide whether to consider this a serious relationship or not.
Compared to the joys and excitements of a new relationship, staying in love is a matter of luck and some work. There is the proverbial huge slip between the cup and the lip when it comes to being totally attracted to someone and then getting into a serious relationship with him or her.
Sometimes, the affair may falter at the first slight hurdle making you run away and then you begin the search for ‘The one’ all over again. In the normal or idealized world, the relationship trajectory follows a simple path. You meet, you get attracted, you date, you get involved more deeply and you take it to the next levels.
Unfortunately, the path of romance isn’t that smooth and not every relationship unfolds in to a serious or long-term one. Often, the confusions and conundrums of modern dating leave lovers asking the same question: ‘Am I in a serious relationship?’
What Is Considered A Serious Relationship?
The dilemma of where your relationship is headed often arises due to confusion, lack of commitment, past fears and worries about the future. Also, in this day and age of casual sex, where finding a date is as easy as swiping right or left, not many people are inclined to get in a serious relationship that will lead to marriage when they can easily have fun without the risk of a heartbreak.
“The difference between a serious relationship vs a casual one means that you and your partner can envision a future together,” says Dilshed Careem, a UAE-based life coach. “It could also mean that both partners do not hesitate to take the next step – be it moving in together, getting engaged or talking about the future together.”
Here it is important to note that a serious relationship does not mean that you are in a happy relationship. Even if you are long-term partners, exclusive to each other, there can be several other problems which may or may not resolved. The essential difference is that in casual dating, the emotional investment is very low and so are the feelings.
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15 Signs You Are In A Serious Relationship
If you are looking for a serious relationship, ensure that your intentions and expectations are aligned with your actions. If you are madly attracted to someone who fears commitment or exclusivity, it might lead to nothing but heartbreak for you.
On the other hand, there are those bonds where both partners are not quite sure where they are headed but their behaviors and emotions both show signs of a serious relationship.
If you have been dating for a while and still unsure if there is a future to your relationship, here are some signs and suggestions you need to pay attention to which can help you decide whether you two are ready to handle a serious relationship.
1. Being exclusive is one of the signs of serious relationship
Relationship exclusivity is the biggest sign that your beau is getting serious about you. You suddenly want to go out to every party or event only with one person. You have fixed dates and there is no one else in the background even if you haven’t quite confessed your feelings to each other.
If you are exclusively seeing each other, neither of you will still be swiping on dating apps. And if you were on one, you would keep deleting it! Continuing to be on Tinder or Bumble while you are seeing somebody is a huge sign that you want to keep your options open and if you are not, well then – it might be time for a serious relationship.
2. The magic words have been uttered
Agreed, some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. Saying the magic ‘I love you’ comes easy to them and they do it pretty often. But those who are looking for a serious relationship, do not take these words lightly.So before you agree to a suitor, find out if they really mean what they say.
If, on the contrary, both you and your partner have said “I love you” to one another, it is a huge indicator that the relationship is getting serious and both of you are clear on what you want. That’s clearly one of the signs of a serious relationship on the horizon! It doesn’t matter when you say it – immediately after dating or after a while of being together – it’s the sincerity that makes a difference.
3. You are in a serious relationship if you are invited to family functions
If your bae wants to bring you home for Christmas, take that as a massive sign that you are in a serious relationship. “Spending quality time with one another is important, but spending time with family has different connotations altogether,” says Careem.
Being introduced to your partner’s family is quite a significant step in the relationship journey because it shows your partner is willing to include you in his personal circle. What does a serious relationship mean to a guy? Well if you meet his mom, there’s no bigger tell than that!
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4. You want to resolve conflicts
Fights and arguments occur in every relationship, sometimes in the early stages and at times, in the later years. However, if you are just casually dating, a single argument is enough to tempt you to walk out.
However, in a serious relationship, you or your partner will make serious attempts to resolve conflicts and extend the olive branch. The thought of a fight will pain you and you feel upset and angry after an argument. Simply put, the emotions will be more striking and the anger will eventually fizzle out.
5. You talk about the future in a serious relationship
Instant hooking up and breaking up is all about instant gratification. You prefer living in the ‘now’ rather than worrying about the future. You may not even see yourself walking down the aisle or settling into a future with your date. If these things are true for you, maybe you are not ready to handle a serious relationship.
Because when you flip the coin, things are different. In a serious relationship, talking about the future naturally comes to you two. It doesn’t mean you immediately plan a wedding or ask the “Should I have a baby?” question but you organically want to share your dreams, hopes and aspirations about your life with your partner.
6. You increasingly spend time at each other’s homes
At what point does a relationship become serious? Well, consider the following scenario and think about whether these signs of a serious relationship apply to you or not.
Weekends mean you are either spending time at your partner’s place or they are coming over to yours. You leave behind things at their apartment – from small items to bigger things. You have the key to each other’s houses.
These are perhaps the first steps towards making the decision to move in. These are also the signs of increasing levels of comfort and allowing the person into your intimate space. It shows that you are dedicated to each other and maybe ready for a serious relationship.
7. Sex is not the most important thought in a serious relationship
Most relationships start with attraction and thereby, good sex. Great sex is the foundation to begin a new relationship but there are a lot of other elements that go into building it. Trust, honesty, comfort, to name just a few.
As you begin to get more deeply involved, lust is complemented by caring, affection, concern etc. You may find that you can spend time with your partner and have a lot of fun even regardless of whether it involves sex or not. If this is the case, it might even be possible that you are in a serious relationship that will lead to marriage.
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8. It is not just one person picking the tabs
Even in the age of equality, some things remain delightfully old fashioned and for good reason. Like the fact that men try to impress the object of their affection by picking up the tab on their first or initial dates. They want to be seen as gallant.
However, as time passes by, this might seem unnecessary and there comes a time when you won’t think twice about splitting the bill. You both buy gifts for each other and the question of who spends what does not really come into the picture. There will be honesty about finances in a serious relationship.
9. One of the signs of a serious relationship is that you do not hesitate to show your vulnerability
If you have always wondered why is it hard to find a serious relationship, perhaps it’s time to look at your own behavior and outlook as well. Both men and women, find it tough to show their vulnerability to their partner for the fear of making them look weak. So what does a serious relationship mean to a guy or a girl? It’s the comfort.
The ability and comfort level to be at your most vulnerable in front of your man or woman is the most important of all signs of a serious relationship. You are not scared to show your warts to them or to show them you care. If the love is true, you will be loved even for your weaknesses.
10. You are engaged with their success and failure
When you get into a serious relationship, their involvement with your life gets deeper. They will have opinions on your choices (you may or may not like them but that’s another matter!). You may seek advice from them and vice-versa.
More importantly, you will feel engaged with their success and failure. You will celebrate the good things in life and be there to support them when they are on a low. Needless to say, at times, a bit of jealousy can creep in too if your partner is moving ahead and you are not but you are able to control them.
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11. You form habits with one another
You may have to plan your first date to the T. But as time goes by, everything falls into a familiar pattern and certain mutual habits get formed organically. For instance, it might be a given that every Friday, you will watch a movie together. That is indeed the answer to the question of at what point does a relationship become serious.
Perhaps there would be an unspoken or unwritten rules of dating that you would watch the new play at the Opera together. It does not mean you give up your other friends or activities but you are definitely inclined to draw your beloved into your world and plan mutual habits.
12. The pretenses drop
It’s understood that whenever you are trying to impress a person, you are on your best behavior. You or your date might even be tempted to go out of your way to ensure everything is perfect and that you appear perfect.
But in a serious relationship, there is no need to put up this pretense. The façade drops and you can be your natural self, without any formality. A sign of being accepted as you who truly are is a hallmark of a serious relationship.
So if you’re pondering what does a serious relationship mean to a guy, maybe think about when he stopped wearing shirts and started wearing sweatpants.
13. PDA is natural in a serious relationship
In this day and age of social media, a shout out on Instagram or Facebook is a surefire away to announce to the world that you are in a committed serious relationship. When you don’t have anything to hide from the world, these mentions become all the more common.
So from your trip to the beach to your fun meal together, everything becomes fodder for your Insta handle with cute and mushy hashtags. You wouldn’t just do this Social Media PDA with a casual date. So if you suddenly find yourself being mentioned on social media more often by your crush, know that they are starting to get serious about you.
14. If you travel together, it is one of the signs of a serious relationship
Travelling is not just about packing your bags and taking the first flight out. When you go on a trip with a man or woman you are developing feelings for, it is quite an important step towards making a more formal commitment.
Travelling together and spending that exclusive time is a great way to know one another and no man or woman would want to do that unless he or she wants to get more serious. Holidays are also an occasion to create happy memories and who you choose to do that with, speaks a lot about the relationship.
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15. Your important decisions involve the other person if the relationship is going serious
A key difference in the serious vs casual relationship debate is the importance you give to the other person while making some life changing decisions. Let’s say, you have got a new job offer that requires you to move to another city.
Will you think about how it might impact your relationship? Will you make plans to stay in touch or be connected and figure out ways to meet each other? Do you take into consideration your partner’s comfort, life situation, opinion and all, while making a decision of your life? The answers to these questions give an indication whether you are in a serious relationship or not.
Relationships are hard work and while some times, things progress naturally and organically, most times, you have to put in an effort and watch out for the signs.
It is entirely up to you how you convey your love, hope aspirations and intentions to your partner. If you have a few or more of the above listed signs of a serious relationship in your relationship, congratulations you are definitely on the right track to cement your love!
A serious relationship means both partners are willing to engage with one another at a more intimate level, they are willing to discuss the future and envision a life together.
A relationship can get serious within months or may stay casual for over years, without any hint of commitment. It depends on the intention of the partners involved.
Usually people get more serious about relationships and commitment once they are well settled in their life professionally and feel they have matured emotionally. It is tough to say but on an average, people tend to get into serious relationships in their 30s, after getting out of casual ones or trying out the wrong ones in their teens or 20s.
When casual hook ups no longer interest you, when small talk bores you, when you are no longer impressed by someone putting on a show to make an impact on you, are signs that you are ready for a serious relationship.