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10 Signs Your Casual Relationship Is Getting Serious

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
A woman resting on her partner's chest while he kisses her forehead
Before becoming official with someone, you'll need to have a conversation about what each of you is looking for. Before that conversation, it can be helpful to learn which signs suggest that things are headed in that direction. That way, you'll know when to take the next step if you want a serious relationship.

Many people casually date with the intention of finding a good match and making them a long-term partner. These dates, especially with dating sites being the primary way to meet people, it can be hard to know when and how to transition from casual dating to a relationship.

Here are 10 signs that things are starting to get serious.

1. They’re Giving You That Look

Sometimes, you can just see in someone's eyes that they're looking at you as more than a friend or a fling. Someone will gaze at you with an expression of warmth and affection when they're starting to see you as a potential new partner. Maybe their eyes will linger on yours as you're sitting across the table from each other at dinner, or they won't be able to stop looking at you when you part ways. If you notice this and reciprocate those feelings, pay attention to them in the same way and enjoy the connection. You can save the words for later.

2. You’re Hanging Out More Than Once a Week

It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but if you're hanging out with a casual partner about once a week or more, chances are you really enjoy each other's company and want the relationship to continue. This doesn't necessarily mean things are becoming official, but if you want them to, consistent dates are a green light to start a conversation.

3. They’ve Introduced You to Their Friends

Most people don't introduce someone to their family and friends until they've gotten to know and like them. If someone does this, they probably think highly enough of you that they expect their friends will like you too. This kind of introduction might also mean that someone expects you to become a long-term fixture in their life. So, do your best to make a good impression because you may be seeing these friends more often!

4. You’re Texting Every Day

It takes a lot of effort to keep a text conversation going. Plus, it seems like most people resort to ghosting these days. So, if someone is putting in that time, chances are you are more than just friends with benefits. If you've got a good rapport going over text, that's something to enjoy, but make an effort to meet up more to gauge your compatibility in person.

5. You’ve Confided in Each Other

People usually only share personal information with others when they're comfortable with them. If someone you're dating has told you about a hardship they're facing, that's a sign that they trust you enough to see you as a potential partner. If they've been there for you during difficult times or want to have talks about the future, that's also a great sign of kindness and care in the connection.

6. They’ve Shared Their Intentions for a Relationship

Not everybody who's casually dating is looking for a romantic connection, but if someone has stated outright that they are, chances are that they at least view you as a prospect. Some of the top dating sites, like Zoosk and OurTime, let you write what you're looking for on your profile. If they have this written upfront, that's a good sign too!

7. They Go Out of Their Way for You

If someone is willing to drive through rush hour traffic to see you, help you out with a difficult task, or cook dinner for you, chances are they are emotionally invested and may consider you a long-term partner. Make sure you're putting in just as much effort if you feel the same way about them. Before you know it, you both might see yourselves falling in love.

8. Your Dates Are More Than Standard Dates

When you're in a casual relationship, going out for coffee, dinner, or drinks is normal. But if someone invites you on more elaborate outings—like hiking, dancing, concerts, or other connective activities—they may see your relationship as a bigger deal than just a casual fling. If they invite you on a trip, that's an even bigger sign that they really enjoy your company and aren't just in it for the physical intimacy.

9. You Think About Them Constantly

Once someone is always on your mind, you can be sure that you have genuine feelings for them. It may be too soon to tell whether it's just infatuation or the relationship has legs, but at the very least, you know the attraction is there, and you're starting to picture them in your life.

10. You’ve Asked How They Feel About Getting Serious

Want to know why dating is hard much of the time? Because people don't communicate! If you know you're interested in becoming exclusive, the best way to find out if the feeling is mutual is to ask them. If you're shy, consider the previously mentioned actions signals that you have the go-ahead to ask this question.

The Final Step

Once you're clear that there's long-term potential with someone who seems interested, it's time to let them know you see a future with them. You can hint at it by telling them how much you've loved spending time together or tell them more directly that you're ready for a serious commitment.

There are no rules for how a relationship should progress. It's only important that expectations are communicated and everyone is on the same page. As long as that's the case, you have reason to be excited.

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Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and Brown University graduate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Gender and Sexuality Studies. In addition to writing for Top10.com, Suzannah written for major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Weiss' writing about feminist issues and sexuality has also been discussed on The Today Show, The View, and C-SPAN.