Simple question, right? Hardly. Depending on your situation the answer could be both or neither, and if it is just one the answer is far more likely to be holding hands. Sex alone almost never indicates a relationship these days unless you’ve actually discussed being exclusive before getting naked. And holding hands while walking down the street can sometimes indicate affection without any commitment. Or maybe you dated for a while, started having sex, and now it seems the relationship is all about simply hanging out and having sex – what exactly does that mean? Not to mention that everyone seems to interpret “we’re seeing each other” vs. “we’re dating” differently – to some people they’re the same thing, to others dating implies far more committment.
It’s hard to know what defines a relationship nowadays. How do you figure out where you stand? It’s not like in the 50s when someone pinned you or asked you to go steady. To anyone out there in a relationship I’d be curious to hear your experiences of how you first knew or determined you were boyfriend/girlfriend.
My opinion – if you’re not sure you’re in a relationship, then you’re not in one, especially if neither of you has ever discussed exclusivity with the other. Women often assume if they see a guy regularly that they have some sort of arrangement, but guys often continue to date or even have sex with other women until one becomes the official “girlfriend.”
If you’re at all in doubt of your standing, here are 10 tips to remember (compiled from several magazines and dating/relationship advice websites). You are probably not his girlfriend (or her boyfriend for you men out there) if:
1) You haven’t met his/her friends or family
2) You’re not his/her date to major events like weddings, company parties, etc.
3) You get introduced as “my friend so-and-so” or simply by your name. If someone considers you their girlfriend or boyfriend, they’ll mention it when introducing you to the people in their lives.
4) (S)he never calls or sees you on the weekend. You may get a text or two, but if you aren’t a priority in this person’s life you may not get that all-important quality weekend time. It’s far easier to just hang out during the week. The true boyfriend/girlfriend gets those Friday and Saturday night dates.
5) If (s)he squirms any time you mention a future event or future plans, then they obviously aren’t sure yet if you’re going to be in their life long-term.
6) Are things always on his/her terms? Would (s)he have a heartattack if you surprised him at work or randomly showed up at his place? Is he affectionate when he wants to see you but impossible to reach when he doesn’t? These aren’t signs of a relationship.
7) Do you mostly get those late night calls/texts of “Hey, are you home?” This means the person definitely wants to have sex with you, but it’s less of an indicator of how much he likes you as a person or as a potential girlfriend.
Is his/her ex still in the picture? If there are still feelings there, even if they’re “just friends” now, then (s)he’s not ready to move on to a serious relationship with you.
9) How does (s)he act in public? Will she lean casually against you? Does he put his arm around you? Some people aren’t into massive public displays of affection, but little touches here and there do show the people around you that you’re not actively looking for someone else at that precise moment. This is a particularly good sign if you’re around a group of his/her friends that includes people of both sexes.
10) Do you always initiate plans, at least ones that don’t involve sex? Yes he may call and ask to get together when he’s horny, but does he ever invite you out to dinner or some other activity that involves leaving the apartment and keeping your clothes on?
On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes a guy and girl will spend a lot of time together but nothing physical ever happens. The girl may assume the guy likes her because he spends a lot of time with her, but if he’s not trying to get into your pants or at least attempting to kiss you once in a while then he doesn’t see you as anything more than a friend. When a guy’s attracted to a girl, he lets her know it.
Finally, and most importantly, even if you have done every one of those things on this list, if you have NOT had “the talk” then don’t make any assumptions! You still may not be in a committed relationship in your partner’s mind. And if that’s the case, then none of those other signs matter.