When Does Dating Turn into a Relationship?
When we ask the question “When does dating turn into a relationship,” some part of us likely either feels we are ready for that important next step and wonders if the one we are dating feels that way too. Or, we might be concerned that the other person has made assumptions about our relationship status that we don’t feel ready for or aligned with.
It could feel enticing to just relax and assume based on appearances and circumstances that your connection has turned from dating into a relationship. Yet, assumptions, in this case, can do one of two things, neither of which creates an ideal experience. On the optimistic side, the assumption might mean you miss the magic, intimacy, and joy of an important relationship milestone. On the other hand, an assumption that proves to be incorrect could lead you both to unnecessary heartache.
As much as you might wish you could draw a line in time and know you have crossed over the threshold between dating and relationship, you won’t find it that clear cut. Assuming based on apparent circumstances or imagining a set of criteria that, once met, indicates that you have entered into “a relationship” might feel easy or comfortable. It might also be an illusory ease. That seeming ease might actually turn out to be significantly difficult down the road.
While you will not find any specific criteria to define this important milestone in a romantic connection, there’s a much better and truly easier way to answer your question, “when does dating become a relationship?”
How do you know when dating turns into a relationship?
As we said, you can not define a point in time. You won’t find any criteria and you can’t safely (or respectfully) just assume.
So what do you do?
You do what many people fear. You talk about it.
With that, you’ll want to consider timing and energetic dynamics before you bring up the conversation, so that it unfolds in the most authentic way for both of you. To be crystal clear you cannot wisely pass through this transition without a conscious conversation.
This recognition reveals the fact that the answer to the question, “when does dating turn into a relationship” is specific and unique to every relationship. It happened differently in your last relationship and will happen uniquely in your next relationship, should you have another.
This understanding also implies that you both have to actively participate. The transition from dating to relationship requires conscious awareness on both of your parts to bring you, together, into agreement and alignment about the phase of the relationship you’re each choosing to be in.
We’re talking about conscious dating here and it matters. If you’re seeking a long term or life partner, “winging it” won’t cut it.
A pivotal point: when dating becomes a relationship
How you navigate this pivot point actually impacts the long term quality and happiness for you, your potential partner, and any relationship that might develop between you.
If you let this pivotal point pass by unconsciously, if it’s not a shared consciousness, the relationship foundation will suffer.
What makes it conscious and shared? Choice. Authentic choice. Shared.
When people simply “fall” into a relationship, when they do not consciously choose, those relationships have a potentially fatal flaw from the start. The relationship lacks the essential and necessary factor of commitment that can only occur with conscious choice.
When either of you fails to make this an active (and genuinely authentic) conversation, one or both of you could easily ignore the signs that this connection may not have a long term fit, even if it feels good now. Not being present to, and honoring, your own inner knowing sets you and the other person up for unneeded pain.
Let’s say it again, you can’t just slip into a conscious relationship.
Although your lives may appear to have all the qualities of a relationship, a conscious relationship starts when you choose it, when you both say yes to connecting your lives. Otherwise, your lives appear intertwined but the consciousness under the surface still says you’re just dating. And, that misaligned consciousness can have a hidden yet sabotaging effect.
When it comes to life and love, we often allow so much to happen unconsciously, without intention. Then, all of sudden, we wake up one day thinking, “How did I get here?” At that point, we have to go through the often painful effort to extricate ourselves or make significant changes in our relationship – and that is never the easy way.
So if you’ve thought about not discussing the question, “when does dating turn into a relationship, ” with the one you’ve been dating, you might reconsider.
This is exactly why so many relationships that are not conscious fail.
How the masculine and feminine answer this question differently
When you’re contemplating having this intentional conversation, you may want to consider the energetic dynamics between the two of you. Masculine and feminine beings, when confronted with the question, “when does dating become a relationship” hold it with different weight and significance. This isn’t wrong or right, simply different. It is, however, one of the reasons why understanding the difference between masculine and feminine energy makes a difference in truly conscious relationships.
Most of us also realize that having an “are we in a relationship” conversation too soon can derail a budding romance that might otherwise naturally progress toward commitment. Because of her natural attention to the future, the feminine quite often feels this question first.
The feminine craves the security of knowing where this connection is headed while the masculine needs the space to find clarity before committing, so that he can remain honorable. The authentic masculine can’t and won’t move forward consciously without an inner knowing. And, if a maculine being tries to move forward without that inner knowing, any attempt at commitment, even if he truly gives it his best, is usually futile in the end.
So the masculine needs time and the feminine wants to know. And, in truth, underneath it all, a part of the feminine needs time and the masculine wants to know too.
Most importantly, before you bring up this topic, make sure you can come to it from a place of authenticity, integrity and understanding of yourself. Then, from there you can create a space of honor, respect and compassion for the one you’ve been dating. This is the start of Love, whether your relationship progresses or not because Soul Love happens inside and outside of a committed relationship, not just when it goes the way you want it to.
This pivotal junction in relationship development can happen easily when you each decide to bring authenticity, self-assurance, and consciousness to your relating. Without those qualities, this time can be fraught with misunderstandings and assumptions that can derail something good.
Forget about figuring out the answer to the truly outdated question, “when does dating become a relationship.”
Be fully present in the now – with yourself and the one you are dating.
Recognizing that this is the time to be in relationship with yourself first.
Make sure you understand the distinctions between dating vs relationship.
Then be real with the one you are dating.
If you have to, get uncomfortable.
And, if your dating doesn’t turn into a relationship with this approach, you will be able to honor yourselves and each other. You can part ways consciously and minimize heartache, which means you won’t pick up any, so-called, baggage to carry forward into your future dating.
Better yet, if the two of you do move forward into a committed relationship, you will have done so in a way that sets a strong foundation for your future together.
Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all.
You too, are invited…
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.