How to go from dating to a relationship

I was recently at a friend’s summer BBQ and I met a new woman. We chit chatted for awhile and then I asked if she was the girlfriend of the man she walked in with. Her answer was, “Yes? I think so? It’s been about three months of dating. So, yeah?” My take on her guess is, “Uh, no!” You should know when you’re someone’s girlfriend. Definitively. And if you don’t, you’re not. It’s that simple. That’s not to say that if you’re in a prolonged “just dating” situation, there’s no way to level up to “in a relationship.” Of course there is! That big step up is basically how all relationships start. Here’s how to make the leap if you’ve been in a “just dating” plateau for a while.

Be vulnerable

When you’re just dating, it’s fun and light. You stay away from sensitive topics and don’t get too deep. A relationship is a lot more than just the surface, though. So, go ahead and peel back some of your layers and show your man or woman who you really are. Talk about what makes you sad and what scares you. Share your feelings for him or her. I know this is scary. Being vulnerable is the hardest part of being in a relationship for me, too. But that kind of emotional exposure really is the difference between dating and a relationship. If your openness scares the person away, so be it. You two were never destined to be in a relationship anyway. Better to find out now!

Share experiences

If you’ve been at a dating standstill for a while, you two are probably on a gerbil wheel of dates. You go out for drinks. You go out for dinner. You see a movie. You have sex. And round and round, right? Straightforward activities like that are fun for a while, but don’t do much to push you two into a relationship. Tying back to what I said above, they’re the kind of easy, surface level things you do when you’re not looking to get deep with someone or really find out who they are. I say ditch the traditional date path and do some activities together that will push your boundaries. Go for a long hike together to give you a chance to get deep into conversation. Spend a weekend road tripping to see what it’s like to travel together. Have a night where you both agree to stay sober and not turn on the TV or check phones and see how you two entertain each other. Think of creative ways that will make getting to know more substantial parts of each other’s personality feel natural and fun.

Just ask

You probably knew this tip was coming because I say something similar in just about every post I write here. But, it’s so important that it should be repeated often. Talk to your person to ask about taking what you two have to the next level. Communication is key on every level of romance, but most important when you’re making a transition within that relationship. Ask how your boo envisions you fitting into his or her life and what they’re looking for. Share your thoughts, too. It’s not easy to start talking about this stuff, but it’s important. And if you can’t talk to you boo about this type of thing, you definitely shouldn’t be getting into a long term relationship with them.

Hope that helps you level up with your relationship. I’m not sure if my new BBQ friend is going to read this. But, I really hope you do! You deserve more than a three month question mark! Get a three month exclamation mark with your progressing relationship or a three month period to end it all and move on.