To go from casual dating to an exclusive relationship means that you’ve come a long way with your partner and you are ready to settle down with them. You feel like it might be time to make things official, but you simply don’t know how to do it.
Below are tips on how to go from casual dating to an exclusive relationship without it feeling forced:
1. Communicate your intentions and desires to your date
Even if you’re not quite ready to ask your date to be exclusive, let them know that exclusivity and long-term commitment is your ultimate goal. Be sure to let your date know what you’re looking for early on—it’s important to be on the same page as you move forward together and fully understand one another’s expectations.
Be honest about what you want so that you can each make informed decisions about whether the relationship is right for you.
Be sure to ask what they want from a relationship so you know what to expect going forward.
2. Express how you feel about them
If you haven’t made your feelings clear, they might not know that you feel strongly about them. Be transparent about your feelings; tell your date how they make you feel and the traits you value most in them, and share all the little things they do that really make you smile.
3. Express your feelings through physical affection as well
Lean close to them when you’re talking, hold their hand as you walk around together, or place a hand on their arm.
4. Spend more quality one-on-one time with your potential partner
Making more time for your date shows them that you’re serious about the relationship. Schedule one-on-one time for each other at least once a week, and take a weekend here and there to focus on one another and get to know each other better. Quality time strengthens relationships, so ask your date to spend a little more time with you.
Your time together doesn’t always need to be super elaborate. Rather, simply do everyday things together more often, like making dinner together or watching a movie on your couch.
5. Call your date just to talk to them
When you want to be in a relationship with someone, it’s natural to want to hear from them more often. Since phone calls are more personal than texts, call your significant other up for a chat.
While dating, you may only call when you’re trying to set up a date and time to meet—so, as you transition into a relationship, show them that you want to talk more.
6. Go on creative and memorable dates together
Doing new and exciting things together is a great way to strengthen your developing relationship. Rather than sticking to the same old date activities every time, plan things the two of you haven’t done together every so often.
Look for fun date ideas, like mountain biking or going out dancing in the city. The great thing about changing to a relationship is that you have someone to do exciting things with!
When you go out to eat, try new restaurants and cuisines to keep things interesting.
7. Be attentive and supportive to show them you care
When you’re with your date, listen actively to them and pay attention to everything they tell you. Being attentive can convey your interest and affection for them. Being there for them shows your commitment to the relationship!
Try getting them a thoughtful gift every now and again, like flowers, a book they’ve been meaning to read, or their favourite candy.
8. Open up to them emotionally and connect on a deeper level
If you already know that you like your date a lot, then try to get closer to them. Open up and share details about yourself that you don’t normally tell other people—your hopes, dreams, and personal struggles, for example. Then, ask them about themselves; prompt them to open up, share more, and reveal the most important parts of their life.
9. Invite them to meet your family
If you’re close to your family, consider having them over for dinner and introducing your date to them. This may show your date that you care about them enough to include them in time with your family, and it’ll let your family get to know them better.
Your date may also want to introduce you to their family. Be polite, be yourself, and just try to enjoy yourself—you’ll be fine!
10. Start a conversation about exclusivity when you feel ready
Communication is key to any relationship. Before you take the relationship to the next level, talk to your partner about the relationship and whether they also want to be exclusive.
11. Take your time and avoid rushing into the relationship
No matter how much you might want to be in a relationship, try to let things develop at their own pace. The desire to be in a relationship can sometimes cloud the fact that you might not know your date very well yet, so don’t try to force things along. If you feel like there’s potential for a long-term relationship, that’s great! Just enjoy the ride and see where that potential goes.
The amount of time you wait may vary; if you’ve only just met your date, waiting a couple of months is likely a good idea! If you were already good friends before dating, you might not wait very long before asking for exclusivity.
12. Maintain your autonomy and solo interests after becoming a couple
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to like all the same things as your partner. It’s important for the two of you to have your own interests and do things independently—it’ll help to remind you that you are your own person, even when you’re in a relationship. Foster your solo interests and let your partner do the same!
Having solo hobbies will make you both happier, and it’ll give you something new to talk about when you’re together.
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