4 Signs Your Almost-Relationship Is Getting Serious, So Prepare To DTR

Sometimes it's easy to pinpoint the exact moment a relationship went from casual to serious — when a moment of clarity made it obvious that the relationship was headed toward a commitment. However, it's often not about any one defining moment so much as a handful of baby steps, and perhaps before you even realize it, you've put a label on it. But what if you're still in that grey area where you feel like you're ready to take things to the next level, but you want to know if they are, too? That's when signs your almost-relationship is finally getting serious can be both really helpful and oh-so-reassuring.

According to relationship experts, there are ways to tell if your situationship is quickly turning into a real relationship. Some of them are subtle and some are more obvious, but they all follow a similar theme of enmeshment: Your lives are increasingly intertwining, and all the walls between you are breaking down. There's an ease and comfort between you as you continue to grow closer — a sense of security. But what does that actually mean? Below, the signs that your relationship is getting serious. If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to decide if you're ready to commit, the experts say.

1. You are open and honest about your feelings with one another.

One of the earliest signs that your relationship is moving to the next level, Joshua Klapow Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, previously told Elite Daily, is that there is no longer any need to play coy about your feelings. "You can be very honest about your feelings for this person," said Klapow. That's because this shows you have reached the point where you feel as though you can be vulnerable with one another in a way you probably didn't feel comfortable with when things were more casual.

2. The subject of the future comes up naturally.

When a relationship is getting serious, it stops being solely about the present and starts shifting toward the future. So, if someone you're dating starts talking about plans for the future that include you, then James Preece, dating expert and consultant for ModelClub.com, says that bodes well for the seriousness of your relationship. “If [they’re] serious about you, [they] won't be afraid to talk about where things might be headed,” he previously told Elite Daily.

3. You’ve been through a fight, but come out stronger in the end.

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Having disagreements is normal in any relationship, but how you navigate an argument can tell you a lot about where your relationship is headed. "Relationships are often easy and fun in the beginning. You want to navigate challenges together and know you can come out on the other side stronger," Dr. Rebekah Montgomery, a clinical psychologist specializing in relationships and helping couples prepare for marriage, previously told Elite Daily. "You want to know you can be vulnerable and share the deep, scary stuff with your partner and feel closer after." So, if you’ve weathered some disagreements and found they actually ended in a way that brought you two closer and made you feel safer in opening up to one another, that's a huge step toward taking the relationship to the next level.

4. You’ve invited each other into your respective inner circles.

If you and the person you're dating have started introducing each other to your close friends, and maybe even family, NYC relationship expert Susan Winter said this is a clear sign that the relationship is getting serious. “Your public presentation is their way of 'testing the waters' by including you in their life," Winter previously told Elite Daily. "If your partner is bringing you into their inner circle, it’s a great indication that they want you to stick around in a more official capacity."

Making the leap from casual to serious often feels huge before it happens, but totally natural once it does. That's because it tends to happen slowly, and then all at once. So, if you are in a relationship that feels like it's on the cusp of becoming a committed one, it's a great time to pause and ask what it is that you really want, and what will make you happy. Once you know that, it's just a matter of letting nature take its course.