If you've dated recently, it probably went something like this: You swiped on a stranger's cute-if-pixelated face, asked them something original like, "How's your week?" and nervously emojied back and forth before settling on a night to meet up and hopefully not get murdered. When you didn't get murdered, you went on more romantic dates and humped like bunnies, until suddenly your date's texting tone changed from that of your effusive Aunt Betty to that of John, your Uber driver. Uh oh. Time to find out: Do they want a relationship or not?
All signs would point to yes because, why the f*ck else would someone hang out with you for two months and hold hands and do sex and stuff, but alas, in 2017, a person can do all of those things and still "not want a relationship." To all of you who have ever uttered that phrase to a person you've been seeing for longer than a month: liar, liar, pants on fire. (Just matching the maturity level of my response to that of your excuse.)
People who "don't want a relationship" should actually say, "I don't want a relationship with you," because that's the truth. Humans with hearts always want to fall in love. Love feels good. Dopamine's a drug. It's science. Blah, blah, blah. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but if someone wants to be with you, they are going to make god damn clear.
If you are in that, "Did I fart in my sleep or something because why did you just go from telling me how much you liked me to diet ghosting me?"-place with your "date" — because, of course, you haven't "put any labels" on it — it's time to figure out what you're doing. I spoke to relationship expert and founder of SpoonmeetSpoon Meredith Golden about how to tell if someone wants a hookup or a relationship. Here's what she had to say:
1. What's Your Ratio Of Naked Time Spent Together To Clothed Time Spent Together?
"If the bulk of your time together is spent naked, it's definitely a hookup," says Golden. Cool, I get that. Late night meet-ups, sexy texts, never sitting down to dinner together... those are all the fixings for a hookup like in college.
On the other hand: "If you spend time having sex, but also enjoy various other activities together, you could be on the relationship track," says Golden. "Could" being the key word here. I have spent months and months "dating" New York men who took me to romantic dinners and concerts and drinks and never took things to the next level. 2017 is hard. (Or maybe I'm just the worst at about three months... or, some combination of both.)
2. What Kinds Of Things Do You Talk About?
Great new TV shows, life goals, and Totino's pizza rolls? Eh, could be pillow talk post-NFL game that was heavily peppered with Totino's spots, or could be signs of the ultimate compatibility. Who really knows? However, if you are only talking with your "datee" about sexy stuff, you're just hooking up.
"If all your conversations are related to hooking up/sexual exploits," says Golden, then you probably aren't headed on the express train to relaysh-town. (OK, that last part was in my words.) Think about what you talk about, and how often you talk and even text about things other than sex. If it's a "never," you're just f*ckbuddies.
3. Where Do You Spend Your Time?
Is it only inside your respective apartments? Then they might just be looking for a hookup, says Golden. Not bringing you around in public isn't the greatest of sign that someone is looking to call you their girlfriend down the road. Have you spent time with your "datee"'s friends? Family? These are all indications of how they are looking at your situation.
4. What Do You Want?
If you just answered "I don't know," either you are lying to yourself and you are afraid to admit how much you just want to be loved — or want to f*ck, no strings attached — or you genuinely aren't sure, but for the right person could see something transforming from a hookup to a relationship. "It's OK not to know," says Golden. "Dating someone and seeing how you feel about them can help you determine which way you want something to develop. Even those who 'KNOW' what they want can change their minds."
That said, if you want a relationship and you're pretty sure this person you have mostly hung out with naked in a bed wants nothing beyond that, be honest or get out. There's no use wasting your time pretending you are "chill" with a (non) relationship status that will quite literally torture you the longer you act "cool" with the hookup. (YES, SPEAKING FROM SO MUCH EXPERIENCE. CALL ME AND I WILL CONVINCE YOU TO SAVE YOURSELF ALL OF THE TIME!)
I asked Golden if a person should just ask, "What are we?" and she said she didn't think it was necessary. "Actions speak louder than words so, for example, being introduced and incorporated into someone’s family and circle of friends indicates they want a relationship," she added. I would disagree a little bit: If you are driving yourself crazy and Googling articles about what the eff you and this "datee" could possibly be, take control of your life like a boss woman and ask.
The right person won't be turned off by this command you have over your own relationships. If it's a big fat "hookup only" then at least you know and can move along. If bringing it up finally gets them to commit, well, you just pulled off what is basically magic in millennial dating. And take care of your heart, no matter what you do.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!