Not to be all, like, “kids these days” right now, but I am about to be a little “kids these days” for just a second: These days, it can be pretty hard to tell when you’re in a romantic relationship with another person.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, most people would probably attribute it to the fact that the rituals of traditional courtship, which can be boring and oppressive for some, have largely gone out out of style in favor of more casual, hookup-based relationship. And these kinds of relationships work well for a lot of people! But, at the same time, it can be difficult to figure out what, exactly, is going on between you and another person once you have consistently been hanging out and texting and maybe hooking up for a while and, for all intents and purposes, appear to be in what many would define as a romantic relationship–save for the fact that you purposely haven’t been defining it.In any case, it’s important to be prepared! So, check out these little signs that your hookup might be trying to make things official:
Seeing Them Has Become A HabitIf texting, seeing, and generally hanging out with your hookup has become a part of your regular routine--like, you text every day and you can pretty much count on seeing them at least a few times a week--you're basically already dating. So, you shouldn't be too surprised if they ask to make things more official soon. Now, this isn't always the case, since some people seem to be committed to doing everything that a relationship entails while refusing to call it a relationship, and it's possible that your hookup is one of those people. If that's cool with you, cool, but don't feel like you have to do "girlfriend" stuff for someone who won't call you their girlfriend. Image source: Pretty Little Liars
They've Asked You About Being ExclusiveIt's possible that they've straight-up asked you if you want to be exclusive. Or, if they're feeling a little shy or uneasy about the question, it's possible that they've danced around it a little bit, like asking you if you're hanging out with other people or subtly hinting that they aren't hooking up with anyone else. If this behavior feels manipulative in any way to you (like, they don't want you do hook up with anyone else but they don't want to stop hooking up with other people) this is a pretty good sign that they're not be the right person for you. But if it feels like they genuinely want to know, and you're interested in being in a more serious relationship, you should pursue the question. (Or just ask them, if you're really curious.) Image source: My So-Called Life
You're Going On More Legit DatesMaybe your thing started as a strictly hookup-based thing--like, they'd go over to your place, or you'd go over to theirs, and you'd hook up. And that's it. But, lately, maybe you've been catching some movies together, or going to dinner, or just generally hanging out in public more than you used to. If so--and you both enjoy doing this--this is a pretty good sign that your hookup is looking to make things more official. Image source: Riverdale
You Hang Out Without Hooking UpOn top of the date thing, it's possible that hanging out has become less contingent upon resulting in a hookup. Of course, if you're not hooking up at all, that doesn't mean that you're in a relationship--it just means that you're friends. But hanging out without always hooking up is a sign that this person genuinely likes hanging out with you, whether you do anything physical or not. Image source: The O.C.
You've Met Their ParentsIf you've met your hookup's parents--even for something casual, like coming to a dinner at their house or something--this is a good indicator that things are getting more serious. Meeting the parents is something that most people consider to be a big step in any relationship, so if it hasn't happened, it definitely isn't anything that you need to worry about. But, if it has happened, it's a pretty good sign that, at the very least, they're comfortable around you and feel good introducing you to the other people in their life. Image source: Gilmore Girls
You've Integrated Your Friend CirclesMaybe you've met their friends and they've met yours. (And, possibly, you've all started hanging out together.) Generally, this is a pretty organic means of laying the groundwork for a more official relationship. You can also use this as a way to whether or not you want to be in a relationship with them--if you like their friends, that's a great sign. If not, you should think about whether or not you really want to date someone who surrounds themselves with people you dislike. Image source: Boy Meets World
You've Been "Together" A Long TimeHas it been, like, a year of consistent hookups? If so, you're kind of in a relationship already. Of course, you don't have to define it if whatever you have going on is working for you, but if you've been not-together together for a while, you can probably expect a DTR discussion soon. Basically? If you're not sure what the deal is, just ask them--their answer will tell you a lot more about you and your situation than I can. Image source: The Bold Type