Ever found yourself in an undefined “situationship” and unofficially dating someone? Unless you’ve sat down, had the talk, and explicitly said to each other that you’re exclusive, assume that you’re not. But what are the signs that you’re dating someone without the official label? How do you tell if you are unofficially dating?
That’s what I’m breaking down in this post. Because with all the dating apps, hookup culture, and options, it can be difficult to know where you stand. And if you don’t know where you stand, then you’ve got no power, and I want you to feel firmly in control of your dating life at all times!
Now, you could sit this guy down and find out where you stand. But it’s normal not to want to have this conversation too early and scare him away. However, as you go on more dates and deepen your connection, you’re entering more serious territory. Even if you’ve both got the same question on your mind, maybe neither of you knows how to bring it up in conversation.
So if you’re driving yourself crazy wondering whether you’re unofficially dating someone (and how to make it official without freaking him out), keep reading.
What does unofficially dating mean?
You’re spending time together, hanging out, and getting to know each other. Maybe you’ve kissed or more. Perhaps you’ve caught feelings. It feels like you’re “together,” but at the same time, you’re not because you haven’t labeled it.
Whatever this is, it’s confusing, and you don’t want to be stuck here forever!
13 signs you are unofficially dating
1. You think about him a lot
Do you frequently find your mind wandering toward the guy in question? When you’re cooking dinner, checking the messages on your phone, or driving past that bar where you shared your first kiss? When you treat yourself to a grilled cheese for lunch, and you know he would be in total cheese heaven taking a bite out of this, so you send him a photo. You get a big promotion at work, and he’s the first person you want to call and celebrate with.
If you’re thinking about him often like this, that means he’s important to you. It’s a sign that whatever you’re doing is more than just casual. Now you’ve got to figure out if he feels the same way about you.
2. There’s a sense of comfort between you
How do you know if you’re unofficially dating or just good friends? One of the most obvious signs is if you feel comfortable around each other. You’ve built a certain level of trust, and you feel able to be authentic in each other’s presence. You’re equally content talking each other’s ears off as you are sitting in some silence. For most people, it would feel awkward, but for you, it feels right.
You’ve shared some personal things that you haven’t shared with everyone. Every time you get vulnerable like this, it brings you closer together.
3. You have inside jokes
Do you spend so much time with this guy that you have shared jokes nobody understands?
You’re spending time with your girlfriends, sharing some wine, and catching up, and something makes you burst out laughing. Then you try to explain said thing to your girlfriends, only to have them all stare blankly at you. To which you say, “I guess you had to be there…”
If you’re spending this much time together, you are unofficially dating.
4. You confide in each other
We all have different levels of friendships and relationships in our lives.
You might confide in your best friend of 30 years how much profit your business made this year, but you probably wouldn’t disclose that with someone on a first date.
You might confide in your mum that you’ve been feeling pretty rough after a breakup, but you probably wouldn’t share that with someone who works for you.
If you’re sharing personal things with the guy in question and confiding in him in a way you don’t do with many others, there’s a high chance this is more than casual.
But you’ve got to ask yourself, is it a two-way street? Is he confiding in you at the same level?
5. You make plans together (in the future)
One of the clearest signs you are unofficially dating is if you make future plans together. I don’t mean this Friday night or next week, but further into the future.
For example, do you plan romantic weekend getaways together in the countryside? Are you attending Sarah’s wedding together in the summer? Do you have a vacation planned during the holidays? Or even a Sunday afternoon IKEA date where you wander around buying a lot of pretty tat for your house that you really don’t need?
Making plans for the future like this is something that only official couples do because it requires commitment from both people. So it’s probably time to sit down and find out where you both stand (keep reading for my top tips on how to navigate this conversation).
6. You’re regularly in contact
Are the texts and calls back and forth between you when you’re not spending time together in real life? You’re regularly in contact, whether it’s a cheeky winking face, a funny meme, or something a bit more spicy. It’s unusual for you to go without speaking for more than a day or two. Couple this with a few other signs on this list, and you might be unofficially dating.
7. You’re sexually compatible, but there’s more to it than that
Okay, the chemistry is undeniable. He gives you butterflies in your belly that are the size of giant moths. When you’re with him, it’s like nobody else exists. You find yourself drawn toward him like an invisible magnet.
Maybe you haven’t had sex yet, but sleeping over and waking up next to each other is enough. And oh, how the suspense is killing you both! Or maybe things have gotten sexy more than a few times, but you can hang out and not have everything revolve around sex. It’s just one part of a much bigger picture.
The best indication is if you regularly hang out during the day. If he’s only blowing up your phone at 2 am when he’s drunk and wanting you to come over and “chill,” you’re not unofficially dating; you’re friends with benefits.
8. You have things at their house
Another sign you’re unofficially dating this guy is if you have things at his house. A spare toothbrush, some clothes, maybe your favorite bar of chocolate or bottle of wine. Perhaps he has some similar items at your place, too.
For this to happen, you have both had to mentally decide that you’re happy for it to happen. I mean, the first time you left something at his, he could’ve said to you, “Oh Jen, you forgot to take this giant suitcase with you last time. Don’t forget it when you go tomorrow!” But he didn’t.
9. You value each other’s opinions
When you’ve got a big decision to make (doughnuts or waffles for breakfast?), or you’re dealing with an unexpected challenge, he’s your go-to guy. Sure, you might ask your friends and family for advice, too. But you truly value his opinion. Not only because he gives solid advice but because he’s important to you. The thought of making a big decision without talking to him first is unfathomable!
If he values your opinions just as much, you might be unofficially dating without knowing it.
10. You’ve met his world, and he has met yours
You know it’s nothing serious if you’re yet to meet a guy’s nearest and dearest. But once he crosses that line and goes out of his way to introduce you? That’s when you know he’s smitten! A man will never bring a woman into his inner circle unless he thinks she will be around for the foreseeable future.
So if you’ve met his best friends, siblings, and parents, and he has met yours, this is one of the signs you’re unofficially dating.
11. It feels like you’re a couple
Does it just feel like this is more than a casual thing? Remember to tune in and trust your intuition here unless you’ve got a bad track record with this.
Usually, we know when it’s more than friends, hanging out, or casual dating. It will feel like more. And it’s hard for one person to feel this unless both of you are putting out signals.
Are you always each other’s plus one? Do you spend most weekends together? Do you do cute things like hold hands down the street? These all scream official without the label. Time to put a label on it, or move on and shout my favorite four-letter word, NEXT!
12. Others think you are dating
Do his friends make jokes about you being his “girlfriend” even though the two of you aren’t using labels like that? Have your family asked you multiple times what’s going on and if he’s your boyfriend?
Whatever the heck you two are doing, you’re giving off massive signals to the rest of the world that you are coupled up. If you’re both acting like you’re together, it’s time to decide to officially be together.
13. You have yet to define your relationship
The final sign that you are unofficially dating is if you have not had what I call a “DTR” moment.
You haven’t defined the relationship. This is where you have an explicit conversation about what you’re doing, where you are, and where you want to be. Until you have this chat, you’re unofficially dating at best. But you might not even be doing that. That’s why it’s important not to wait too long before you define things, even if it’s scary.
How to know if you are officially dating
The only way to know that you’re officially dating is if you’ve had “the talk,” and explicitly defined your relationship. This is what Little Love Step #6 is all about. You get to talk about your needs and boundaries and see if you’re on the same page.
Without doing this, you cannot expect exclusivity or commitment from your partner. Until you have the talk, you are both single and free to date other people. In fact, I encourage all the women in my coaching program Love Accelerator to keep their options open until they’ve had the DTR.
If he keeps avoiding the subject, you can give him a gentle nudge by reminding him what you’re looking for in a relationship and where you’re at. If he’s still in denial, you’ve got to take charge and initiate the conversation. Although it might feel scary, you’re better off knowing where you stand than floating around in limbo land. Only single people live there.
And that’s how to know if you’re dating someone unofficially or officially.
If you constantly feel confused and unsure of your relationship status, there’s a high chance you’re not setting clear boundaries for yourself, and you’re not communicating these to the men you’re dating. Take responsibility for your own needs and ensure that you have those challenging conversations when the time is right. Without this, you won’t get what you need, and you’ll hold yourself back from finding an amazing man and a relationship that fulfills your love vision.
Have you ever been unofficially dating someone?
What were the signs? And did you ever make it official?
Tell me your stories in the comments below!