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How Long Should You Casually Date Someone Before It Gets Serious?

You’ve been seeing this person for a while, but how long should you casually date someone before the next level? How do you become exclusive?

When it comes to dating, I get asked this question a lot. Natasha, how long should you casually date someone? Are three weeks too little? Too long? This is a great question.

In all honesty, there’s no scientific formula telling you the precise time you should become exclusive with your partner. Every couple is different.

For some couples, they immediately feel ready to label the relationship while other couples take weeks, even months, before making it serious. Plus, there are a couple of factors which affect people’s decision: timing and distance. If you’re not seeing them often, then it’ll take longer to become exclusive. [Read: How many dates before a relationship becomes official]

How long should you casually date someone

Also, many couples don’t actually talk about becoming exclusive, they just sort of naturally progress. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you are feeling for each other. If you have doubts about them, then you’re probably not going to jump into a serious relationship right away.

So, is there a right time to become exclusive with someone? No. If you’re feeling you want to take it to the next level, then you should make the next move. Now, if you’re wondering how to go from casual to exclusive, that’s a different story. But I’m going to help you out and show you the thirteen ways to take a casual relationship to exclusivity.

Who said love was easy? [Read: 14 stages of a new relationship to define your budding romance]

#1 Be clear with what you want. There are some people who date without any real idea of what they want, and that’s okay. But, if you want to make your dating experience easier, then you should figure out what you’re looking for.

Do you want to be in a relationship? Or is casual dating working out well for you? Everyone has their own needs, so whatever you choose is fine. Just be clear with the other person. [Read: The clear signs you’re ready for a serious relationship]

#2 Take time before making a move. Some couples fall instantly in love and decide from then on to be exclusive. But not everyone is like that. I suggest you take your time before you rush into a relationship. Actually, get to know the person. I know you don’t want to be alone, but if you’re choosing partners out of loneliness, then you’re going to be lonely.

#3 Be honest to yourself about the red flags. Sometimes we choose not to see all the sides of a person we’re interested in. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times, but you need to make evaluations about your potential partner. Is this someone who’s right for you or is this someone who’s for right now? There’s a big difference between the two. [Read: 10 major first kiss read flags to not ignore]

#4 Can you picture the future? When you think about you being together, can you actually see it? What would an exclusive relationship look like with them? Is it something you can see yourself being in? It may sound lame, but if you can’t picture yourself with them in the future, then why bother becoming exclusive.

#5 Put yourself first. This may sound selfish, but it’s not. When you’re thinking about the relationship, ask yourself if your needs are being met. Now, not all your needs will be met, that’s just life. But are the deal breakers manageable? For example, if you don’t want to have kids, and they do, that’s going to be a big problem. So, you need to decide what’s good for you.

#6 Bring it up lightly. If you’re confused over how long should you casually date someone, talk about it with them to understand their perspective. This doesn’t have to be some serious conversation. If you’re feeling the time is right, why not bring it up in a light way? If they’re not open to talking about it, you don’t need to pressure them. Back off and give them some time to think it through. If they don’t bring it up, then it’s safe to say they’re not down for it.

#7 Talk to them. But have a real talk with them. If this is something important to you, you need to treat it seriously. If you’re casually dating them, what are their thoughts about the relationship? What are they thinking about you? There are two people in the relationship, and you need to know where they stand. [Read: How to know if you’re dating or in a relationship]

#8. Be honest with them. If you want them to be honest with you, meet them halfway. Be clear and direct. Don’t try to beat around the bush. They need to know how you feel about them. If you act anxiously and without confidence, it’ll make them think you’re not entirely sure what you’re talking about.

#9 Leave your phone. Don’t be the person who talks about this while staring at their phone the entire time. They’re not going to take you seriously if you act like that. Put your phone away and give your attention to them. Go somewhere you won’t feel enticed to look at your phone. Grab a drink together, go for a walk, etc.  

#10 Stick to what you told yourself. If you’ve decided to end the relationship if they don’t want the same things as you, then you need to stick to your decision. Sure, they may tell you to stick around, but if you want something more and they don’t, you’re only going to get hurt. Keep to your standards and don’t change your needs. [Read: How to read the signs your casual relationship is getting serious]

#11 Let them talk. Yes, you’ve approached them and spilled your guts, but now it’s time for them to talk to you. Who knows what they’re going to say. Maybe they’re in love with you and want a serious relationship. But there’s always the chance that they don’t. Regardless, you need to let them speak their mind. 

#12 Don’t get upset. If they don’t want the same things as you, don’t get upset. Listen, not all relationship are meant to turn into something serious, and that’s perfectly fine. You need to accept they want different things than you and move on. Don’t be angry at them or resent that you asked them. You did what you needed to do to forward in your life. [Read: 20 signs you’re wasting time in a one sided relationship]

#13 Celebrate! If your partner has told you they want to be exclusive, that’s great! This is a time to celebrate. Now, you don’t have to go crazy. I was more hinting to we-are-now-exclusive sex. But, ordering take-in is also a great way to celebrate the good news.

[Read: The grey area dilemma: Dating exclusively but not in a relationship]

There’s no timeline when it comes to knowing how long should you casually date someone. Whatever you and your partner feel comfortable doing, then do it. Just make sure you communicate with each other.

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