Casual relationships are exactly that, casual!
Ordinarily, this type of relationship is ideal for getting to know someone as they’re about having lighthearted, flirtatious fun without the stress of navigating the intricacies of deeper intimacy, aka a real relationship.
Sometimes casual affairs develop into deeper feelings which is great.
But can you tell if this is happening to you, and how can you spot the signs your partner has begun to reciprocate your feelings?
It’s a tricky business spotting the tell-tale signs that a casual relationship is on the brink of something more; here are some signs you may have noticed.
13 Signs a Casual Relationship Is Getting Serious
1. You’re Starting to Spend More Time Together
Couples in casual relationships don’t tend to hang out too much together to avoid growing attached. When you find yourselves creating opportunities to spend more time together doing ‘coupley’ things like shopping, watching movies, hobbies or other non-intimate activities, it’s a good indication that things are getting serious.
When physical intimacy isn’t the only reason you enjoy spending time with your partner as long as you get to be with them, it’s a sign you’re in for the proverbial long haul!
2. You Engage in Texting Every Day and All Day Long
Talking for hours via text is often a clear sign both partners are open to a deeper connection. Sharing thoughts, ideas and jokes throughout the day encourages a strong friendship and promotes an excellent relationship.
Of course, this is also true if you spend hours chatting over the phone or face-to-face; it’s evident you enjoy each other’s company. Ask yourself, would you talk or text someone this much unless you had feelings for them?
3. The ‘I’ is Changing to ‘We’
When casual partners regularly refer to themselves as ‘we’ or ‘us’ rather than ‘I’ or ‘me’, it can be a clear sign both are ready for commitment. When partners refer to themselves individually, it’s usually a sign they are not looking for anything more serious.
While chatting with your partner, count how often they use the word ‘we’ as against ‘I’ when discussing plans or future activities; if it’s a lot, they’re likely looking for something more than a casual fling!
4. You can See it in Their Eyes
They say the eyes are the window to the soul; the truth is, they give us a snapshot of what the heart is feeling too!
Maybe you’ve noticed you’ve both started looking at each other with real affection, either gazing intently from across the dinner table or can’t stop looking at each other when you part ways. Guess what? It’s a sign you’re both in search of a deeper connection!
Often when a casual partner gazes at you with a warm expression, they’re starting to see you as something a little more serious! If you’ve noticed your partner is paying you attention this way and you feel the same, reciprocate and enjoy the connection.
5. You Think about Them Frequently
If you’ve found yourself regularly thinking or daydreaming about your partner, chances are, you’re falling for them. If you’re unsure whether they think about you too, this isn’t too important at this stage; as long as you have feelings for them, it’s worth giving the relationship a chance.
If she mentions she’s been thinking about you just as much, it’s a clear sign she also cares about the relationship, which can only mean one thing, things are getting serious!
When we think about a person constantly, it’s usually because there’s something about them we like or admire; excellent reasons for getting serious about a casual partner. Thinking about someone all the time can also be an indication we are attracted to that person and feel a connection with them.
6. You Both Have Started to Compromise or Be Flexible
If you don’t mind putting your feelings or needs aside to meet your partner’s, things have definitely taken a more serious turn. And if she is willing to do the same, it’s a clear indication you are both ready to compromise for the sake of each other’s happiness, something casual couples don’t tend to do!
Prioritizing your partner’s needs means the relationship is getting serious, especially if you make sacrifices to ensure their happiness. But, of course, this should be a two-way street!
For example, your partner may like to watch old romantic movies which you don’t find enjoyable. However, because you want to spend more time with her, you agree to a Saturday evening watching an entire season of ‘Sex in the City.” And she, in return, says yes to going with you to the football even though she’d rather watch paint dry. Now that’s what you call compromising on steroids! Plus, it’s a super indication that things are more serious than you realized.
It’s also important to remember that in a healthy relationship, both partners should be comfortable and confident enough to verbalize their needs and wants.
7. There are Long-Term Intentions
Casual couples don’t typically spend time discussing the future, for example, if they will live together or get married and have children. Major life choices like where to live, debating if you want kids, how to manage finances or planning a holiday together are all signs your casual relationship is becoming more sincere.
If your partner is there for you during difficult times such as losing your job, illness or family problems, it’s a very definite sign they want to support you and be part of your life and future.
Not all casual couples jump into serious discussions about the future as soon as things get a little more serious. Suppose you find yourself making future plans with your partner, such as attending a wedding, party or going on a holiday together. In that case, it may be a sign you are both comfortable planning your lives to suit each other and see a future together.
8. You Feel Comfortable Being Emotionally Open With Each Other
To be emotionally open with your partner, you must be willing to be vulnerable; in other words, let them see your weakness, faults and fears.
When you are comfortable sharing your problems and hopes for the future, you are being emotionally open with each other, which is a huge sign that your casual relationship is much less ‘casual’ than you realized. In fact, it’s a sign a deeper emotional connection is starting to develop.
For example, you may have found that your conversations have become more meaningful and that you’re open to discussing more than surface-level topics like the weather or when to hook up. Instead, now you’re quite happy to talk about your feelings and deeper issues like your political opinion or why you feel strongly about climate control.
9. You both Have Started Experiencing Jealousy
If you’ve both started to feel threatened by other people in each other’s lives who may express an interest, it could be a sign you’ve begun to feel more deeply about the relationship and want to protect it. It’s also often a sign you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level.
This doesn’t mean it’s okay to overreact whenever another person shows an interest in your partner. Instead, put those overprotective feelings into action and let your partner know you are ready to commit to them; they probably feel the same way too!
Discussions about exclusivity with a casual partner are a big neon sign that your relationship is well on its way to becoming serious.
10. The Boundaries Are Slowly Vanishing Between You
Couples in casual relationships tend to have set boundaries in place to prevent things from becoming confusing or overwhelming. This could be anything from keeping things fun, no/only physical intimacy, and keeping their personal life private. However, when a casual relationship develops into something deeper, often, these boundaries cease to exist.
Although boundaries might start to disappear, it’s important not to make assumptions and take for granted your partner wants the same things as you. Instead, open and honest communication is essential for establishing the boundaries that will make a more serious relationship work for you both.
Say, for instance, your partner has previously requested that you don’t discuss private details regarding each other’s families, but now she’s started to tell you little snippets about them. This is definitely a sign that the boundaries are beginning to evaporate slowly. It’s also a healthy sign that your partner is starting to trust you more, and as you know, trust is an important element of a good relationship.
11. You’re Familiar with Each Other’s Social Circle
If you and your partner are comfortable spending time with each other’s family and friends, there’s usually no bigger sign than this that says things are no longer casual. In fact, allowing your partner access to your loved ones is a big indicator that you are ready for the relationship to move forward.
We’ll give you a tip; it’s also a huge clue your partner is prepared for something more serious when they bring up the topic of introducing you to their family.
When partners spend time with their significant other’s family, they are usually more comfortable discussing the possibility of a more serious relationship. Why? Because, at this point, it’s just a matter of time before things become official.
For example, suppose your partner suggests a casual Sunday brunch with their parents; this is a big ‘I’d like you to be more prominent in my life’ statement! If you feel the same, you only need to agree, enjoy your meal and invite your partner to meet your family too!
12. You Have Revealed Some Deep Secrets to Her
While sharing secrets enhances trust in a relationship by showing you are willing to be vulnerable, it isn’t an activity casual partners engage in unless they want to be thought crazy! Unfortunately, a casual relationship isn’t built on secrets or trust.
On the other hand, if you have been spending a lot of time together, you may find yourself opening up about personal things, which could be a sign that you are both becoming closer.
Furthermore, if you trust your partner to keep your darkest secrets safe, you are most likely ready for a more serious relationship.
But if you discover your feelings are not mutual, it might be better to be cautious about opening up to avoid getting hurt.
13. They ask You for Your Opinions
If you have found your partner is asking for your opinion more regularly, it’s most likely because she values your opinion and wants to take your thoughts and feelings into consideration.
Furthermore, if you’ve found yourself doing the same, it’s an indication that you are becoming more serious about the relationship too.
For example, you may find your partner asking your opinion about potential purchases (phone, car, clothing) or discussing office politics or travel plans with you, seeking your advice. These are clear clues your casual relationship is shifting up a gear toward something more serious.
The same can be said of you; if you want your partner’s opinion on certain aspects of your life, it’s a sign you’re ready for something deeper than a casual encounter.
Is it a Good Idea to Turn a Casual Relationship into Something Serious?
Casual relationships can be exciting and lots of fun, especially if you are not looking for the commitment of a serious relationship.
However, if things have started to turn more serious and you have noticed you are developing feelings for your partner, turning a casual relationship into something more serious could be the answer, so long as it’s a mutual decision.
When moving your relationship to the next level, it’s important that you don’t allow the sexual attraction you feel for your partner to blind you to obvious red flags. Just because your partner is beautiful or sexually appealing doesn’t mean you should ignore character flaws like a bad temper or a selfish and abusive nature.
Remember, a serious relationship is generally long-term and can have far-reaching negative emotional effects on you and your partner should it turn sour.
Instead, when considering a more serious relationship with your casual partner, you should carefully evaluate their character and whether their words match their actions. For example, ask yourself, are they truly the kind, devoted partner they seem to be? Or are you ignoring certain issues just because you’re in love with the idea of a deeper relationship?
Casual dating is the ideal starting point for every serious relationship. It gives you time to get to know one another and space to figure out whether your partner is right for you.
Not only is it less pressurized than a serious relationship, but it can help you avoid the heartache associated with traumatic breakups. However, that’s not to say a casual relationship is better than a serious relationship, and it’s also in no way advocating not following through if you have deeper feelings for your partner.
Instead, remember while it takes time to get to know someone, you can’t expect your partner to understand how you feel unless you tell them. So, if you truly think your relationship is getting more serious, put yourself out there and tell your partner how you feel!