Amongst millennials, it’s not uncommon to have tried and failed to explain the concept of ‘seeing someone’ to your parents.
“Well if you’re going on dates, you’re boyfriend and girlfriend, right?” No, Mum. And no, we don’t know what we are either.
We date in a commitment-free culture, where exposing yourself and showing vulnerability just isn’t seen as cool.
Many of us have had tons of these ‘relationships’ over the course of our young adult lives, yet never a proper boyfriend or girlfriend.
But - although it is rare - sometimes one of you actually does want something serious after all.
Maybe you’re a couple of months in, and after a series of grown-up sleepovers and evenings spent eating and drinking together, they realise they want to be - shock horror - exclusive.
Perhaps that’s what you want to hear, perhaps it would make you run for the hills, screaming at the prospect of any sort of commitment.
So it can be good to have a heads-up that your current ‘more-than-friend-but-not-boy-/girlfriend’ may be in the market for an actual relationship.
Here are the signs to look out for:
1. They ‘accidentally’ leave something at your house
New research from Match has revealed that 36 per cent of Brits have deliberately left something at a date’s house in order to give them an excuse to return.
Interestingly, the study found that this is a tactic employed by men more than women, with 45 per cent of males admitting to intentionally leaving something behind, compared to 31 per cent of ladies..
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a toothbrush or phone charger tend to be the first items they’ll conveniently forget
2. They invite you to leave stuff at their house
If they suggest you keep a toothbrush or hairbrush at their house, that is a Big. Deal. Even if you haven’t had the exclusivity chat yet, that pretty much means they’re not going to be having anyone else round for grown-up sleepovers.
According to Match dating expert Vicki Pavitt, “Making physical space for your date reflects the emotional space that you have for them to be in your life, and your capacity for commitment.”
You have been warned.
3. They want to meet your friends
And no, not just the flatmates they awkwardly bump into on their way back from the bathroom.
If someone is dropping hints that they want to hang out with you and your friends, you know they don’t think this is a casual thing any more. It can go something like this:
- Him: What are you doing this weekend?
- Her: Oh, going to see Lion at the cinema with some of my uni friends.
- Him: Really? I’ve been dying to see that for ages…
Reeeaaaaal subtle. Not.
4. They invite you to events further in the future than you’ve been dating
Also known as ‘the date-time continuum’, as so wisely named by How I Met Your Mother’s legendary love guru Barney Stinson.
Making plans more than a week or two ahead is one thing, but if they ask if you want to get tickets for a show or go with them to a wedding in three months’ time, but you’ve only been seeing each other for eight weeks, you know it’ll be your wedding they’re planning next.
5. They post a pictures with you on social media
Arguably one of the biggest milestones of all in the early stages of a relationship, posting a picture or making any reference to someone on social media is almost like declaring your love for to the world. Sort of.
Even if they make no reference to you being any sort of romantic companion, it sends a clear message to you that you’re not just a casual fling. All your friends, family and exes will be speculating. It’s legit.