Are You In a Relationship? 10 Ways Actions Speak Louder than Words
In this day and age of casual dating, hookup culture and virtual communication, it can be hard to know exactly where you stand with someone. Are you guys dating or just talking? Are they seeing other people, or is it exclusive? Does exclusivity mean that you’re officially dating? It can feel super intimidating to ask things like “are we in a relationship” directly, especially if things are in the early stages and you don’t want to scare someone off by coming on too strong. It can also be just flat out awkward to have those conversations with someone, especially if you are potentially on different pages... Even if you do muster up the courage to ask your partner, it can be hard to get a straight answer from them.
People don’t always have the maturity or vocabulary to have these conversations head on, and your partner may try to avoid the question or just feed you the answer that they think you want to hear, regardless of what they actually think or feel. In cases like these, actions speak louder than words, and it can be more helpful to look at what your partner is doing than to listen to what they are saying. While the best way to know if you are in a relationship is to just ask your partner about your relationship status, there are other ways to test out the waters if you are afraid to ask, or at least some signs to look out for while you are mustering up the courage to ask.
Here are some ways that a significant other might demonstrate that they don't think they are in a relationship, even if they say that they are in order to appease their partner:
1. Prioritizing other people over you
If you are in a relationship with someone, they should prioritize spending time with you over other social obligations. Sure, it’s fine to keep up a weekly tradition of Bachelor nights, or Sunday Night Football with pals, and it’s okay to have a social obligation with friends every once and while, but time with friends should not supersede time with your significant other. If you find that your partner is more willing to make time for friends than they are to make time for you, they might not consider what you have together to be a relationship. And if they do, their priorities are seriously out of whack and should be addressed, especially if you are constantly being excluded from the time they spend with their friends.
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2. Being secretive
Dating does not need to involve sharing all of your secrets, but you should be wary of anyone that acts very secretive. We acknowledge that there are a lot of private people out there, who like to keep things close to their chests, but that is different than being deliberately secretive or misleading. If someone you are dating acts secretive about how they spend their time away from you, or forces you to keep your relationship a secret or on the ‘down-low’, this is normally a bad sign. A serious partner, someone who wants a relationship, or believes they are in a relationship, will be honest about how they spend their time, including their time with you, and will not make you hide your status or feelings for one another.
3. Acting hard to pin down
If you are dating someone they should want to spend time with you, period. Not every second of every day, but a significant amount of time with you. Yes there’s work and hobbies and other social obligations outside of any relationship, but if your ‘person’ can’t commit to plans and never seems to have enough time to spend with you, then you should take this as a sign that they aren’t serious about your relationship. We recognize that people are busy, but people in relationships find ways to spend time together whether it’s going grocery shopping together, cooking dinner together or exercising together. There are creative ways to hang out with your partner if you really want to.
4. Going on dates
Not sure if you’re dating or just hooking up? Can you think of a time when you have hung out together before dark? In public? If you have never grabbed coffee, dinner or drinks together and spend most of your time in the bedroom, then the fact of the matter is that you are probably just sleeping together. It’s possible for this type of relationship to turn into something more serious, but it will take a lot of communication (and sometimes courage) to turn a casual relationship into a serious one.
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5. Suggesting the relationship stays open
Keeping a relationship open can be a way to avoid commitment and serious dating. Even if you spend a lot of time together and do ‘couple things’, if your partner insists on keeping the relationship open, they may not be fully ready to commit to a relationship. If you find yourself in this situation, it can help to ask your ‘partner’ if they believe in monogamy in general, this will let you know whether it’s a long-term preference, or a sign that you are not in a relationship.
6. Not introducing you to friends or family
If you are getting to know someone and casually dating, during the natural course of things you will likely start to meet the other people in their lives, like close friends and maybe even family members. You definitely won’t meet the family right off the bat, but after a significant amount of time together (let’s say at least after one holiday cycle), you should expect an introduction to the other important people in their life. If you have been seeing someone for a while and have yet to meet ANY person in their life, or only a few people every now and then, this can be a sign that they are not that serious about the relationship, and that perhaps you are not even in a relationship despite what you think. Asking to hang out with their friends or meet the family after a certain point can prompt this to happen if it isn’t happening organically, but resistance to this type of thing is definitely a bad sign.
7. Social media silence
Most people don’t do relationship statuses on Facebook anymore, which is totally fine and not at all indicative of whether you are in a relationship or not. But, if you have been seeing a person for a long time and they are radio silent about your status on social media, or they try and discourage you from posting about your relationship on social media then it could be a red flag. Some people are just very private, and so a lack of social media love isn’t necessarily something you should read too much into. But if they tend to post a lot, and you are always missing from the posts it could be a sign that they don’t think things are official. If this describes your situation, and you feel comfortable, you can try asking your partner to be included in pictures and posts. Perhaps they aren’t doing it consciously.
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8. Lack of future plans
When you are in a relationship, you and your partner will often spend time planning things to do together. Whether it’s a cool concert you want to go to, a camping trip on a sunny weekend, a bigger vacation, or a trip to meet the family over the holidays, you tend to talk about your relationship with future plans in mind. If you are with someone that never makes plans far out in the future, or avoids talk of holidays and summertime, then this could be a sign that they don’t think it’s a serious relationship.
9. Refusing to open up
A sign of a healthy relationship is emotional intimacy, which requires both partners to share their feelings with one another. This is often really hard for people to do, but being in a relationship often fosters this type of behavior naturally. If you are with someone and they avoid deep, meaningful conversations at all costs then they probably don’t see the relationships as serious or long term. A lot of relationships go through this phase, and like we said before, it can be difficult to know if this is a phase or the extent of the relationship. Try pushing your partner to share things with you, or sharing things with them and gauging their response.
If you and your partner are going through problems, or having a difficult time defining the relationship (aka DTR), you can turn to the relationship experts at Relish for help. These relationship coaches can help you assess the status of your relationships with quizzes and questionnaires, then help you make goals for your relationship. Using this type of relationship coaching services can help you and your partner define things concretely, or address the reasons that one of you are reluctant to ‘be officially’ when you are clearly in a relationship.
Whether you're having trouble ‘defining the relationship’ or trying to reignite the spark, Relish can help you achieve your goals and improve your connection no matter what stage of a relationship you’re in. Get started with our award winning relationship app for free - download now!