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How to Turn Dating Into a Relationship

by Lauren Vork

Once you've successfully navigated the waters of dating, you might start thinking that it's time to turn those good dates into a good relationship. The transition from dating to a relationship can happen with an explicit talk, but it can also happen gradually through a change in the types of activities you do together and the behaviors you exhibit around each other. Encourage this transition by crafting and shaping your interactions with your date.

1. “Relationship” Activities

A good way to test the waters as you try to move from dating to a relationship is to try a gradual transition in the types of activities you do together. While early dating activities may be more formal and involve dinners out or going to events together, transition activities should be more casual and allow you to start seeing more of each others' lives. Make plans for things like outings with friends or spending time hanging out together at home. See if the person you're dating is open to joining you on other day-to-day activities like running errands before or after dates. As you start to get a sense of each other in less strictly date-like settings, it may change the way each of you views the other.

2. Exclusivity Talk

Dating exclusively is an important part of establishing most relationships. Begin talks about exclusivity by letting your partner know that you feel comfortable enough with where things are at that you don't think you'll be seeing anyone else. See how your partner feels about this and if need be, push gently for more information. If your partner is evasive on the subject or not yet ready to date exclusively, make sure you're at least on the same page about wanting things to progress to that point eventually.

3. Serious Talks

Initiate conversations about more serious and consequential topics related to a relationship. Ask questions about matters such as life plans, whether or not she wants to get married someday and if she hopes for a family. Talk about more emotionally vulnerable areas of your life, such as childhood pain or some of your harder life struggles. Gauge how comfortable she is with discussing these areas with you; if she doesn't seem to want these kinds of free discussions, it may not be time for a relationship.

4. Trust and Familiarity

Build and demonstrate trust and familiarity through small gestures of confidence. This can be as simple as letting him see you while you're getting ready for a date or telling him to let himself into your apartment. Do small favors or run errands for each other. Behaviors that start to border on the domestic and practical will move your interactions more into “relationship” territory.

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