A few days ago I was sitting outdoors and having a coffee at this little French café when I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman. The woman, who had been sitting alone at the table in front of me, called out to the man who was walking on the other side of the street, and summoned him to come over:
"David," she called out smiling.
"Hey Susan," he responded, while bending down to kiss her on her cheek. "Long time, no see."
"Yeah, she responds politely, I haven't seen you since we broke up."
"What do you mean broke up? We were only dating."
"Dating?" She asked with a puzzled look on her face. "How on earth could you consider us just dating, when we were sleeping together?"
"Well, Susan, we were just hanging out. You know, having a good time, that's all."
"O-M-G! You've got to be bleeping kidding me."
In pretty much every romantic movie there is that epiphanic moment when a couple must define their relationship. You know the scene. All his bags are packed; he's ready to go. Then suddenly! He drops his bags, turns towards the woman he realizes he can't live without, and he asks her the question we've all been waiting for... "Will you be my wife?" They run into each other's arms, look into each other's eyes and kiss that long passionate kiss, and you sit there sobbing, dabbing your eyes with a tissue as the credits roll. Sigh!
Movies generally portray picture perfect relationships with a happy ending, however real life relationships are not quite so predictable -- and that's where "the talk" comes in. While many people prefer to keep the status of their relationship ambiguous -- i.e. no pressure... a go with the flow mentality.
Consider the alternative: after a few months of singles bars and online dating, you finally meet the most amazing guy. The two of you begin hanging out together: movies, dinners, and intimate encounters. Day's turn into weeks, weeks into months, things are beginning to really heat up. Then, right before things get too serious he puts the brakes on your budding relationship, and that awful day comes; that moment of truth, the one when you realize that he never thought the two of you were in a relationship. And you just-want-to-die!
Dating vs. Relationship
For some people, the terms dating and relationships are synonymous, while for others, "dating" is not that serious, where "being in a relationship" represents commitment and exclusivity. So, how do you know if you're dating or in a relationship? Well, you know you're in a relationship when you and the person you've been dating have had a serious discussion defining whether you're in a relationship or not; this is the best way to know. However, if you haven't reached this point and you want to know, but you're not quite ready to have "the talk," here are a few tell tale signs that you're in a relationship:
Five Signs You're Not Just Dating:
He/she introduces you as a boyfriend or girlfriend
It is common to share a person's connection to you when you introduce them, i.e. "This is my mother, Mary." In some cases, and this is more common with men, they will try to pull the "I'm not into labels" card, but if he/she introduces you as "a friend," that's exactly what you are.
He/she asks you to meet the parents
I always assume that if someone is willing to introduce you to their parents, then clearly they're serious about the relationship. However, it really depends on the parents, family, where everyone lives, etc. It's certainly a better sign if the parents are familiar with you. However, you really need to ask what introducing you to the family means to the person you're dating.
He/she gives you the key to their home
This one is a no brainer. If someone gives you the key to his or her home, assuming you are not the housekeeper, it's safe to assume, it's because you are living together and/or you are in a serious committed relationship.
He/she updates Facebook status to: In a Relationship
In a new relationship one of the things people consider is whether to make the Facebook relationship status change. If this is something you've been considering be sure to that you and your partner have had the talk about being exclusive or monogamous. Once that talk has happened, it's safe to assume that your sig-fig will accept a relationship request on Facebook.
You've had "the talk"
Instead of playing the guessing games you and your partner should discuss the extent of your relationship. Unless the conversation has been had, don't assume monogamy or exclusivity.
While these might be some clear indicators that you and the person you've been spending time with are doing a little more than "just dating," the only way to truly know is to have "the talk."
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