7 Dating Behaviors That Mean They Want Something Serious, According To Experts
For the life of me, I can never seem to spot the dating behaviors that mean they want something serious. Logically, I know relationships can begin in different ways and play out on their own timelines. Yet, I often find myself four months into an ambiguous situationship with no DTR in sight. It's like there's a sign on my face that says "casual" when, in reality, it should read "black-tie required." Curious about how to spot a potentially serious from the get-go, I decided to consult the experts.
According to Susan Winter, New York City-based relationship expert and love coach, understanding your date's intentions early on can help you find the types of relationships you're looking for. "You can't earn your way into a relationship if your partner doesn't want one," Winter tells Elite Daily. "No matter how long you 'audition' for the role of partner, that position isn't available. Cull out the people who aren't on the same page, and focus your attention on those who want what you want."
Here are seven behaviors that mean your new boo is trying to define your relationship. Look out for them, so you can take your connection to the next level.
1. They're Not Trying To Be "Chill"
These days, it can feel like "being chill" in romantic relationships is as trendy as cross-body raffia bags. Though your date may be a pretty mellow or laidback person, if they're looking for something serious, they won't be afraid to say what's on their mind, ask you for help or support, and make plans with you.
"Romance can't feel like 'work' to a person who only wants to have fun," Winter says. "Vagueness of romantic goals and a 'go with the flow' attitude can show that a person is up for casual connections only."
Building a real connection with someone means letting them see all the sides of your personality. If your date wants you to know how much they care about you or they're already planning your next big night out, they may have some seriously hot feelings for you.
2. They're Available
If your date is actively making themselves available to you, they probably want something serious.
"You consistently make plans to see each other despite your busy schedules," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, tells Elite Daily. "You both begin to have more constant communication."
Of course, no one is available all the time. Having a bustling life outside of your relationship and setting boundaries (i.e., no texting at work) is healthy. Still, if your date is always canceling plans, seems too busy to see you, or isn't prioritizing your time, they may be looking for something casual that fits their schedule.
3. They Want To Go On Literal Dates
According to Diana Dorell, dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, if someone always asks you on last-minute dates or suggests hanging out at their house (what Dorell calls the "hookup zone"), they're probably looking for something more casual. Dorell shares that someone taking the time to ask you out in advance and plan a date or activity could mean they're looking for something serious.
Silva adds that spending time together in a clothed (read: non-sexual) way can mean they want a more serious relationship, too. "The relationship begins to evolve into different activities that seem like 'dates,' like dinner, movies, and events," Silva says. "Having sex isn’t the only reason you both want to see each other."
4. They Have Their Sh*t Together
Your date may not be able to tell you their step by step plan for the rest of their lives, but if they're looking for a serious relationship, they've probably thought about how it would factor into their plans.
"They know the life they want, and they know the part they want their mate to play," Winter says. "They've sorted all of this out in their head."
I'll be the first to say that no one has it together 100% of the time. People move, life changes, and sometimes, you wake up and dye your hair blue then decide to apply to law school. Still, if your date has no plans or goals for the future or no idea what kind of life they hope to lead, serious relationships may not factor into their (lack of) plans.
5. They Want To Know If You're Serious
If dating is a jungle, learning about your date is like taking a trip to the zoo: You may be studying the animals, but they're staring right back at you. This analogy especially holds true if your date is looking for something serious.
"Usually, they will also be selective about who they date, making sure that person is looking for something serious," Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed clinical psychologist and marriage counselor in Boulder, Colorado, and host of Marriage Podcast, tells Elite Daily. "They'll also ask more serious-minded questions when going on dates with people, to discern if they are compatible."
If you're both looking for a monogamous relationship, don't be surprised when you and your date ask each other all of the same questions.
6. They Want You To Meet Their Family
If your date wants to introduce you to their family and friends, that can mean they're looking for something serious, says Mike Goldstein, the founder of EZ Dating Coach. If it's important to you that your partner be a big part of your life, you're probably looking to date someone who feels the same way.
"Folks are looking to accomplish different things," Goldstein tells Elite Daily. "If the person you are dating is on a different path than yourself, you should find that out ASAP. Optimize your time and spend your time with someone who has the same goals as you."
If you've only been on a few dates or your boo's family lives far away, it may not be feasible to meet them. Still, your date expressing that they want you to be a part of their social or family life can mean they're looking to get serious with you.
7. They're Not Afraid To DTR
Knowing how and when to pop the, "Did you delete your Hinge?" question isn't always easy. However, if your date is looking for something serious, they probably won't make you feel sheepish for asking about exclusivity. In fact, they may even bring it up themselves.
"One of you begins to entertain the idea of labeling the relationship and brings it up casually," Silva says. "One of you begins to broach the subject of being exclusive or acknowledges that you both have been exclusive."
If your date isn't afraid to tell you that they want to be your partner, they're probably looking for a serious relationship.
In the words of Taylor Swift, sussing out how serious your date's intentions are can feel like, "trying to solve a crossword and realizing there is no right answer." Of course, prioritizing your own needs is always the right answer. If you're unclear about your date's motives, or you're worried you're on different pages, it's always OK to ask them about their intentions. Though going on lavish dates or meeting someone's family may mean they're in it for the long haul, the best way to understand someone's headspace is to ask them about it. At the end of the day, you deserve to be in the type of relationship that best serves you. Seriously.