An undefined romantic relationship may be just fine for you... until it's not. Perhaps you're itching to take things with your current lover to the next level, or you're trying to figure out if a different label better reflects what you two have. Whatever the reason may be, if your undefined relationship is no longer working for you, then you're probably wondering what dating behaviors mean someone's fully committed to you — lack of labels be d*mned.
Even if you're OK with not labeling your relationship, know that curiosity around what a committed partner looks like is only natural. Defining "commitment" as dedication, loyalty, and engagement, Sara Kuburić, a mental health professional and Canadian Certified Counselor, says it's important to people because it clarifies expectations and boundaries. "Clear boundaries and expectations, in return, provide a sense of safety and connection," Kuburić tells Elite Daily.
Likewise, Shan Boodram, a certified sexologist and ambassador for TENGA sex toys, explains commitment is crucial the same way job titles are. "It’s a way for you to write something on your resume that explains what you do [for] others," Boodram tells Elite Daily. "It also holds you accountable and holds your employer accountable to what it is that you’re actually responsible for."
If you're no longer satisfied with an undefined relationship and are wondering if the other person is on the same page, here are six signs they're fully committed to you, and you only.
1. You Spend Quality Time Together
"Commitment is often displayed in simple ways, such as the quality and quantity of time spent together," Kuburić says. According to Boodram, this type of intimacy-building might be "a general expression of enjoying the relationship that you do have." Generally, if you're spending a ton of time together, it's probably because you like spending that time together. “A lot of times, the things people do when they’re happy with the level of commitment that they have mirror what people do when they want an increased level of commitment," Boodram says. If you find that your person is giving you their undivided attention when you hang out and are genuinely concerned with getting to know you, that's a good sign they're committed to you.
2. They Prioritize You
Another positive sign your lover is committed to you is when they continuously put you first. This might look like them checking in with you about date nights, being considerate when making plans with others that might affect you, and prioritizing you in the bedroom. Even if you're in the "pre-commitment" stage, Kuburić says you might not feel prioritized or like you have a say in the other person's future. When you absolutely feel like you do, there's a good chance it's because they're committed.
3. They Treat Your Relationship With Care
While explicitly voicing that you want this relationship to be exclusive would be ideal, realistically speaking, that conversation doesn't always happen. Maybe you or they have mentioned seeing other people sexually and romantically, and you never talked about it again. You both may have tacitly understood you were sleeping with other people, but also that you were interested in nurturing the romance between you. Whatever the case may be, think back to how they've talked about your relationship in the past and what it means to them. If possible, think about how they've talked about your relationship to other people. "The way our partner may interact with people around them may display a lack of loyalty — or dedication — to the relationship," Kuburić says.
4. They're Vulnerable With You
Another way you can tell your partner is fully committed to your relationship is if there's an increased "degree of vulnerability and sharing," Kuburić says. That looks like actively taking steps to increase intimacy between you two. “When you don’t see any progress in the level of responsibility they’re offering to you as a partner, that’s an indicator that they’re not looking for commitment," Boodram says.
5. You're A Part Of Their Future
Finally, commitment looks like the other person weaving you into their future — whether that's cementing a movie date two weeks from now, or planning a trip together for next year. "Life becomes more of a collaborative process. They may ask your opinion while making decisions, and you often feel like a valued and prioritized aspect of their life," Kuburić says.
6. They Say They're Committed To You
At the end of the day, nothing beats talking about the nature of your relationship and what word best describes it with the other person directly. Again, you might already feel like you're somebody's girlfriend, joyfriend, or life partner, even if you don't have the label. Instead of seeing it as mismatch or awkward place to be in, you can re-frame this lack of a label for yourself positively as you go into this conversation. Boodram explains that often, successful relationships will experience a deepening of commitment first, then the labels change — instead of changing labels first and behaving differently because of it. "It’s something that you’ve earned," Boodram says of the new label.
Whether you move to the next level in your relationship or remain where you are, the conversation about what your relationship is should be an active one. "Regardless of what someone’s stance is on commitment, I think it’s an important conversation to have with a potential or current partner," Kuburić says. "Defining what 'commitment' means for the individuals involved is important because the views may vary."
That being said, whether you're getting the sense they're all in or not, a conversation about what your relationship means should definitely help clear things up.
Sara Kuburić, MA, CCC, Canadian Certified Counselor and psychotherapy doctoral candidate at Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, Austria