Love & Relationships

Some Signs Your Casual Relationship Is Getting Serious

In this modern era, establishing romantic connections has become increasingly challenging. From knowing what to say on the first date to knowing when to make things official, the rules have changed and this ain’t the same dating game that led to our parents falling in love and starting a family.

Because times are hard and dating is harder, we had to look to an expert to help us understand when that casual fling becomes something serious. So we chatted with Karina F. Daves, a relationship coach who has made it her mission to teach women how to enjoy more satisfying partnerships.

As a relationship coach, Daves leverages her experience as a former social worker and adjunct professor of women’s studies to teach women how to strategically evaluate their personal identity, values, and standards so that they can elevate their relationships and themselves.

She tells xoNecole, “You should not be with somebody for their potential. The key is being with somebody for their patterns. Instead of looking at it as one specific milestone, look at it as there are multiple patterns at which this person is showing you what role they want to play, what their values are.”

"You should not be with somebody for their potential. The key is being with somebody for their patterns."

Daves’ work has amassed more than 240,000 followers across her social media platforms, and her videos have reached close to 25 million and half a million alone this month.

According to the relationship coach, some key indicators that a relationship is going from casual to serious are:

“You talk about it going to a serious level, and you talk about intentions. Intentions are very clear in a relationship that is serious. At this point, you intend to date each other either for fun or you're dating for marriage. This is something that is very comfortably talked about.” She adds, “You enter each other's worlds fully. This means that you meet people in each other's world, but you also become part of their routine. You're not a task that they have to do, you are just a normal part of their day-to-day life."

“You're not a task that they have to do, you are just a normal part of their day-to-day life.”
War Love GIF by ShowmaxGiphy

In terms of how partners can communicate effectively about their expectations and intentions as a relationship becomes more serious, Daves shares:

“You will want to become serious by being vulnerable and having this conversation. Before the actual communication part occurs, you have to identify what it is that you want this relationship to be. What is it that you want out of a future partnership?”

Daves emphasizes the need for clear communication and suggests doing away with the potential you see in the person and instead focusing on what you want in love. "This is an opportunity for that person to say that's not who they are and that they can't give you that."

"Relationships should also be fun. We do not want to forget that these conversations can be serious, but also a source of fun and joy. They do not need to feel heavy. If you see that they are joyful, this can be a good indicator of what the rest of the relationship would be like when you're getting ready to have serious conversations," Daves concludes.

We know that specific milestones or stages in a relationship can help signify its deepening commitment; Daves has these tips for navigating these transitions:

Introducing one another to each other's worlds can be a big indicator that the relationship you share is getting serious. "When you start meeting each other’s friends and families, this is a big milestone and a vulnerable place to be." Another sign that things are getting serious is openly professing the "L" word. "Communication is significant as far as proclaiming that you love your partner. These are really big milestones that shouldn't be forced."

Speaking of communication, Daves adds that “another big indicator is how you overcome your first moment of misalignment. This is a huge indicator of the rest of the triumphs that you will face. Were you both open? Did you both feel safe sharing? Did you respect each other's point of view? How did you resolve the issue?”

"Communication is significant as far as proclaiming that you love your partner. These are really big milestones that shouldn't be forced."
In Love Kiss GIF by NBCGiphy

Lastly, Daves suggests assessing one another's level of emotional investment: 

One of the ways Daves suggests we assess the level of emotional investment is by doing a simple activity called “eggs in a basket.”

This activity involves discussing important and valued aspects of a relationship. Daves explains, “The way to assess the level of emotional investment is to test their heart posture. 'Heart posture' is referring to where their heart stands when it comes to this relationship and how it logically has made sense of it all.”

In those instances, ask each other the following questions:

  1. Do you feel clear about our intentions and where our relationship is going?
  2. Do you see me as a life partner?
  3. Are we past potentially seeing us together to understand each other's patterns and choosing to make that commitment?
  4. Are we a part of our life’s plan?
  5. Do you still have individual goals?

“This isn’t just about seeing their investment in the relationship but also how they’re choosing to invest in themselves as people. You don’t want a partner that will lose themselves in the relationship because you won’t have a partner anymore, you’ll have someone to parent,” Daves said.

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Featured image by xavierarnau/Getty Images




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