The gray area between casual relationships and formal labels can be a terrifying relationship cleanser. We sometimes describe this point as ‘something’ or ‘situation’. But how can we tell when it’s more than that? POPSUGAR spoke to the experts about why we’re so reluctant to solidify our relationships, and how we can tell it’s time to put a mark on it.
“It seems to me that the younger generation sneered at love,” says Larry Josephs, PsyD, a professor at Adelphi University who specializes in the science of relationships and infidelity. He witnessed the trend of indecision in a relationship, and describes some of the basic psychological factors that can play a role, such as a person’s attachment style. Those who are securely connected may feel relaxed and ready for something more serious. “Security bonded adults appear to be adept in relationships, they are more monogamous,” Dr. Josephs tells POPSUGAR, “They are more reflective, have better communication skills, and have a happier sex life. So secure attachment seems beneficial for sexual uniqueness.” Whether you find yourself In that category or your attachment style is more anxious or avoidant and wondering if it’s time to DTR, here are 27 telltale signs that your relationship could be ready for the labels.
Signs that you are dating informally
- You spend every day together, and there are many aspects of your life that are intertwined. If this is the case, you may be developing what Maxwell Miklić describes as a “shared reality”. Mikelic is a doctoral student in clinical psychology studying relationship initiation and development. He also has clinical experience in couples counseling and is a former marriage maker. It can be helpful for couples to have common opinions and experiences, Miklic says: “When two people go, say, on a date, if there is a common reality established, it can be very powerful.”
- Leaving random objects in each other’s places (such as toothbrushes or phone chargers). This means that you are comfortable in each other’s homes and expect to return.
- You run errands together. Even small tasks are better when you are with each other.
- You tried and tested new things together. Mikelic recommends “A brand new experience every month, because you need opportunities to create shared reality. So if you see the world in similar ways, or have similar opinions about little things, and then make you feel closer, that’s a common part. I think that’s a good sign. You’re ready to have the conversation.”
- Cook meals together. If you’re not put off by pointing out something consistent like living together and eating meals at home together, it could be a sign that you’re ready to get things serious.
- You have told your brothers about them. If it’s important enough to tell your sister about it, there must be something in there.
- You talk about it when you are drunk. Alcohol is the serum of truth, and if it’s all you can think of when you’re drunk, you’re clearly interested in it.
- You have photos together in your camera roll.
- You have inside jokes. Having enough memories together to get the inside jokes out is a sign that your lives mesh well together and your playful senses match.
- You are exclusive. That commitment can be the scariest part, and if you’ve hit it off, naming may be the natural next step.
- You go out on actual dates, not just relationships. Want to be together out of a sneaky bond late at night? This person’s company clearly means something to you.
- Your friends know you by name. Your partner actively discusses you with his friends enough that they know who you are.
- You refer to them by their name and not by your friends’ codename or nickname. All joins begin with some kind of nickname defined by an unforgettable moment. When this/o is now known to your friends by their real names, they are important enough for you to be known outside of a purely sexual relationship.
- Seeing each other in the light of day. Again, you don’t limit the time you spend with them to “Are you ready?” text.
- Visit spontaneously – know that you can feel comfortable surprising someone with your presence. This means that you feel confident that they enjoy you and want to see you.
- You see yourself as a unit. “The goal is to move from the ‘me and you’ language to saying ‘we,'” says Miklic, “and this is something that can happen over a longer period of time.” “
- When you know where they keep things in their kitchen. You don’t have to ask where they keep the whisk? You spent a lot of time there and made yourself at home.
- You have successfully fought and created at least once. In his own practice, Miklic says, “couples who don’t fight at all may be both withdrawn, or both insanely attached.” It’s important to prove to each other that whatever happens between you can withstand murky waters. Mikilic asserts that “disputes are not only inevitable, but necessary, because reforms are very important.”
- You sleep but you don’t have sex. It is enough just to sleep and wake up next to them.
- If you have sex, you are both comfortable in this weakness. “For people who have sex, are you sexually compatible? That can be a good sign of nascent security, but it also relates just as much, and maybe more, to our self-concept than it is to how we feel about our relationship with that person,” says Mikkelic.
- On the other side of the spectrum, there is something about your gender that seems important and personal. “If you have an avoidant attachment style, you have a wall hanging and you don’t get close to people,” Dr. Josephs explains, “people with avoidant attachment styles tend to split love and lust, so they are more oriented toward casual sex without a lot of emotional attachment.” If you’re having An emotional connection during sex, it might be a good time to discuss a relationship.
- You feel compelled to invite them to your birthday events. This means that you are close enough that they know your birthday and would be offended if they were not included in the celebration, and that you want them to be present at the special occasions.
- Instead of Snapchat, you can send text messages or even call each other. And leave the voicemail? It could be love.
- You begin to make long-term plans and talk about a future that includes each other. “When you start seeing yourselves as life partners, you start talking about your future,” says Dr. Josephs.
- They have introduced you to people who mean a lot to them, such as their parents and friends. This can be a scary move, but it is very important in a relationship and suggests that these people will see you again.
- You’ve deleted dating apps and lost interest in a potential transfer. And suddenly that person is the only person you want to talk to, and you feel good enough to start forgetting about the other “stuff.”
- You are confident that if you were to come up with the label concept, your partner would be open to it. In Mikelic’s opinion, “If you want to talk, and you know your partner will say yes and agree, that’s a good sign that you’ve built a secure attachment.” Knowing someone well enough that you are comfortable starting a conversation like this means a lot in how close you are and how strong the relationship is.
Oftentimes, putting an end to the gray area is related to listening to your gut instincts, both about yourself and your partner. “There is a grace period where we don’t have to decide what this is. [relationship] It is, but once you’ve been in for six months, or a year or more, and that isn’t set, you don’t want to waste your time spending years in a relationship with someone who isn’t going to go anywhere,” says Dr. Joseph. If you both are making an effort To integrate your two lives, and this integration process is going smoothly, it may be time to try to commit to this person; however, much of this process is subjective: in the end, being aware of your feelings, and supporting your partner in doing the same, will allow you to take the next steps The healthiest for your relationship.