Ever wonder how to transition from casual dating to a serious relationship?
Most of us have experienced a serious relationship by accident, usually when we really like the person we’re dating and it just naturally develops into something more. Most of us have also experienced a relationship we wanted to take to the next level, but it just didn’t work out. If you’ve ever been in the latter situation, you’ve likely wondered if there was anything you could have done differently.
The good news is yes, there are things you can do to increase the chances of a casual relationship getting serious. This doesn’t mean you’ll get along smashingly with everyone you date – some people are just incompatible. Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work out every time. In fact, that’s usually a sign of healthy expectations.
If you want a relationship with everyone you date, it could mean you have low standards and need to develop your self-esteem.
So, how exactly do you turn a casual relationship into a serious relationship?
The most effective thing you can do is work on yourself and make sure you’re ready for a relationship. If two people are romantically compatible and interested in a relationship, a relationship will happen as long as someone makes an effort to move it forward and no glaring flaws are revealed.
As you develop yourself and figure out what you like and don’t like in relationships, you’ll find them to be a lot less work. At this point, it’s simply a matter of a putting yourself out there and finding someone compatible. Below you’ll find my top four pieces of advice for people who are ready to make the jump from casual to serious dating.
One of the best things you can do is develop a lifestyle that reflects your passions, beliefs, and values.
Many people live a lifestyle that doesn’t reflect who they are and what they believe in. People who are passionate, but work an unfulfilling job to make ends meet; people who are health conscious, but who eat a diet based on what’s convenient; people who have a great deal of self-respect, but whose bodies don’t reflect the respect they have for themselves.
If you keep attracting the wrong people, you’re likely giving people the wrong impression.
Deep connections are based on values. If you want to stop dating casually, you have to find people who value similar things. Good looking people who value what you do are out there, but you have to help them find you. Ask yourself: what does my lifestyle say about me? If I saw myself walking down the street, or heard stories about the things I’ve done, what kind of opinion would I form?
On top of attracting the type of people you want in your life, every aspect of a congruent lifestyle contributes in some way to personal and relationship well being. An active social circle helps reduce feelings of neediness and boredom, working out regulates stress levels and keeps your body looking good, and a rewarding career helps you feel a sense of purpose and direction.
There are literally thousands of benefits from living a positive lifestyle which indirectly enhance your relationships, not to mention the vast improvements in personal well being. If you need some ideas, take a look at these articles.
Remember to communicate with one another.
When it comes to dating, everyone has different expectations about when certain milestones should happen. While you might think things are going great and wonder what to do for date five or six, they might be thinking of calling it quits because you haven’t even invited them over yet.
When you start to feel like there’s a potential future, it’s a good idea to talk to your date and see how he or she feels. A relationship is a two way street, and if you want things to go smoothly it’s important that your vision and their vision of how the relationship will move forward are in sync.
There’s no secret strategy for successful communication. Yes, it can definitely be intimidating to open up, but being straight up is usually the best policy. Don’t worry about what to say or if you’re saying it at the right time – there is no right or wrong in relationships.
Remember: if you aren’t expressing yourself authentically, you’re not going to find an authentic match.
It’s a good idea to sort out your baggage before starting a serious relationship.
You might be sabotaging your relationships without even knowing it. Things like unhealthy levels of jealousy, trust issues, anxiety at the thought of being “off the market”, and financial troubles are all examples of personal baggage that can work against you.
It’s not always necessary to deal with baggage on your own; lots of people are willing to help their partner get his or her life together in order to move things forward. The likelihood of someone sticking around is related to the severity of the issue, so use common sense and figure out which issues should be resolved first and which you can work on as you go.
There are many free or low cost counselling options for people who are interested in dealing with issues like insecurity, jealousy, addiction, co-dependence, and so on. If you feel like your personal issues are holding you back, I encourage you to do some Googling and take action. Alternatively, you can contact me and I can make some suggestions.
Take action with the suggestions below and move the relationship forward.
People often look at getting serious as some complicated, mysterious thing, but it really isn’t. Getting serious is nothing more than opening up and getting comfortable with each other in a more personal way. After you’ve talked and decided you both see potential, increase the depth of your connection by sharing meaningful experiences together.
As your relationship develops, you’ll gradually hit milestones along the way. Some examples of milestones that will bring you closer together: sleepovers, space for your stuff at your partner’s place, taking care of your partner when they’re sick, showering together, being able to take a dump at your partner’s house (for women this is a big one!), traveling together, and so on. This is how people move from liking each other to loving each other.
If you’ve gone out on a couple dates and you’re enjoying yourself, invite them back to your house (if you haven’t already.. nothing wrong with having fun!). Mention that you’re having a good time and wouldn’t mind having a few drinks afterwards. Whenever you feel comfortable, have a night in instead of going out somewhere. If these sleepovers become more common, casually ask if it would be OK to leave a few essentials for the sake of convenience.
You get the idea. This progression will happen naturally for the most part, and if it doesn’t, something is probably up. Be honest about the way you’re feeling and ask if there’s any reason you can’t leave a few things over, or whatever it is you’re curious about.
Are you in a frustrating relationship? Do you have any ideas for transitioning from casual dating to a serious relationship? Leave a comment below!