I used to be the queen of casual relationships that turn into “halfsies”—somewhere in between. You feel like you’re a couple, you can hang out and not have sex, but you haven’t met their friends or family. In other words, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. The big question lingering is if you’re exclusively dating or just having fun in a casual fling thing!
I spent a solid three years jumping from one halfsie relationship to another. After each encounter, I would text my girls and describe each moment, trying to figure out where I stood with my date. But the thing is, I knew where I stood, and it wasn’t next to them.
Are you exclusively dating? 14 clear signs that split it from a casual fling
Today, it seems like the world is now full of these half-relationships where you’re basically in one but without the label. But, sometimes labels are a nice thing to have. It’s nice to know where you stand with someone. That way, you don’t stay up all night wondering if they’re sleeping with other people or not.
[Read: Casual dating vs serious dating – How to measure your current dating speed]
Of course, everyone is now struggling to figure out the difference between exclusively dating, casual flings, and serious relationships. No kidding! I wish someone would have told me. But I’ve done the dirty work for you and am here to spread my knowledge.
Let’s get the differences between exclusively dating and casual dating straightened out. And get you started on the right track.
#1 Is there a mutual commitment? This is the main differences between flings and exclusive dating. Are both of you committed to one another?
If yes, then it’s a serious relationship. If you’re seeing other people and vice versa, well, this isn’t giving off the “I only want to be with you” vibe of a serious relationship. [Read: The grey area of dating exclusively but not in a relationship]
#2 You’ve talked about it. Listen, if your partner has told you they’re not ready for a relationship, you’re not together. It’s casual. But if your partner has expressed their feelings for you and have told you they’re not interested in seeing other people, then it looks like it’s on the road to a serious relationship. Honestly, the best way to clear this up is by talking about it. [Read: How to talk to the person you’re dating about your relationship]
#3 Your texts matter. If the only texts you get from them is “hey, you up?” or “wanna come over?” then this isn’t someone you’re going to tie the knot with. If anything, you will bang for a couple more months, and it’ll fizzle out. But, if you are sharing funny and engaging text messages, it’s clear there’s more to the relationship than just sex.
#4 PDA anyone? Now, I’ve been in flings where we would show PDA, but more often than not, this is usually saved for serious relationships. If you’re casually dating, the door is still open for other people, meaning no one wants to look taken when they’re not.
#5 Do they know your people? Have you introduced them to your friends and vice versa? Now, many casual relationships will introduce each other to some friends. If you have roommates, it’s unavoidable. But, usually, they keep their casual flings separate from their entourage. If you both are introducing each other to your people, then an exclusively dating scenario may be brewing. [Read: How to read the signs your casual relationship is slowly getting serious]
#6 You two have deep talks. Let’s get real, casual flings are shallow. Maybe you two will discuss your day at work, but you’re not going to talk about a traumatic incident that occurred in your childhood. If the relationship is on a deeper, more serious level, then these topics will pop up because you will want to know more about each other.
#7 It’s not just about sex. Casual flings are mostly about sex. Sure, you may hang out in public every now and then, but at the end of the day, you two bang. This isn’t to say exclusive relationships are sexless — they’re not. But you can go a day, two days without having to touch a penis or boobs. There’s more to the relationship than just the physical.
#8 You’re still on dating apps. Now, when I met my boyfriend, I deleted my Tinder account the minute I left the date. I knew he was the one. But usually, I would be going on it right after a first date, still checking out my options. If you both deleted your dating apps, it’s looking like you two may be exclusively dating and moving towards something more serious. But as long as you’re still swiping, it’s casual. [Read: How to date casually without getting attached]
#9 Your ugly side. Yes, your ugly side. Don’t pretend you don’t have one, we all have one. When you’re with a casual fling, you’re not going to show that side. But when it’s serious, it’s unavoidable. They’re going to see your ugly side whether you like it or not.
#10 You do nothing together. If you can spend hours, even days doing nothing together, that’s not something casual. You don’t mind sitting on the couch watching Netflix with them, enjoying their company without feeling bored. If this happens, it’s nothing casual. [Read: How long should you casually date someone before things get serious]
#11 Public hangouts. No one is going to take their casual fling public if it’s going to jeopardize the potential ass they could have. That’s why you’re in a casual relationship. You’re still waiting for something better. Ouch, I know, that stung a little bit, but you know it’s true.
#12 They’re your go-to. When you want to go for a coffee, watch a movie, or go shopping, instead of calling your friends, you call them. Does that sound casual to you? Exactly, because it’s not. If you are each other’s go-to person, that’s nothing casual and deep into exclusively dating territory. It shows you have a deeper connection and enjoy spending time together. [Read: 15 committed relationship rules to make your relationship last a lifetime]
#13 You rely on them. Most casual relationships are based on sex, so you’re not going to call them if you need help. Rather, you’d call your best friend or your dad–legit. But if the first person you call is them, then it shows a level of trust and security you have with them. That ain’t casual. You know that. [Read: What does exclusive really mean? 15 signs you’ve clearly hit this stage]
#14 You’ve fit them into your life. If it was casual, they would be someone you’d squeeze into your schedule from time to time. Makes sense, you’re looking for someone to scratch your itch and nothing more. But if they have become an integral part of your life, a person you can’t see living without, then this is serious. I hope it’s mutual.
[Read: 13 relationship mistakes new couples make all the time]
Well, now you know the obvious differences between dating exclusively and a casual fling thing. But more importantly, where does your relationship fall? Most relationships start out casual and warms up over time. So if you don’t see all the signs of an exclusive relationship just yet, don’t give up.
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