Welcome to your comprehensive list of signs you are unofficially dating.
Below, you’ll discover what unofficially dating means and whether your current relationship matches the definition.
In my role as a life coach, I am often helping better understand themselves and those around them.
That’s why I’m excited to share this guide with you.
So, let’s dive in.
What Does ‘Unofficially Dating’ Mean?
Unofficially dating means you’re in a relationship without a label.
You care about each other. You do the same things that couples do. But you don’t call this person your boyfriend or girlfriend.
It’s a gray area between meaninglessly hooking up and an official relationship.
Crucially, it’s gray because neither of you have discussed what you want out of the relationship.
In most cases, this situation leaves both halves of the couple feeling uneasy.
They’re either nervous because:
- they want a serious relationship, but they’re scared to ask if the other person wants that;
- or they want to keep it casual, but they’re scared to admit that.
An ‘unofficial couple’ love spending time together and would find it too painful to split due to mismatched desires.
So, they choose to not discuss them and remain in this pseudo-relationship purgatory.
Purgatory is a good metaphor for unofficial dating, because you can’t remain there forever…
Eventually, you’ll have to define the relationship and discover whether you’re on the same page as your partner.
That’s why all relationship experts agree you should define the relationship (DTR) as soon as you’re sure what you want. Otherwise, one of you might be wasting your time in an unofficial relationship that won’t ultimately fulfil you.
How Do You Tell If You Are Unofficially Dating?
Not everyone is brave enough to define their relationship.
In fact, dating unofficially is incredibly common among the younger generation of adults.
Here are 33 of the most common signs that you’re in an ‘unofficial dating’ relationship.
1. You Haven’t Defined The Relationship
This is an essential component of dating unofficially.
Serious relationships are defined by definition. Casual relationships become ‘unofficially dating’ when one person isn’t sure what the situation is.
It’s possible that you have the ‘define the relationship’ talk and agree that you’re unofficially dating, but all that basically means is you agree neither of you know what you want from each other.
2. You Go On Actual Dates
Maybe you don’t call them dates. Perhaps they’re not super-fancy dinners. But you’re going out one-on-one with romantic intentions.
3. Your Relationship Extends Beyond Being Sexually Compatible
Do you enjoy each other’s company and have happy moments outside the bedroom? If this isn’t the case, you’re not unofficially or officially dating; you’re just hooking up.
4. You Don’t Like When Your Close Friends Ask Your Relationship Status
This is because deep down you know you’re in a sticky situation and you need to have the DTR talk.
5. You Get Jealous
If you’re jealous of other people talking to your special person – despite not having defined a relationship – that’s a clear sign you’re in this unofficial stage of dating. This wouldn’t happen if they were just a friend.
6. You Fall Asleep Together
This is a nice indicator that it’s more than ‘just sex’.
7. You’re Putting Effort Into Impressing Each Other
This isn’t as common when you’re just friends or just hooking up.
8. You’re Interested In Their Life
This is another positive sign you’re beyond the ‘just hooking up’ stage.
9. You’re Still On The Dating Apps
Deleting your dating profiles is a common rite of passage for people entering romantic relationships.
If you’re unofficially dating, you probably still have your accounts, but maybe you’re a bit more nervous about your special person finding that out.
Maybe you want to delete it – but you won’t because you don’t know where your unofficial partner wants to take things.
10. You’re Questioning Whether You Should Be Loyal
Do you feel a strange urge to be loyal to this person, even though you’re not officially dating? This is one of the more obvious signs of being an unofficial dater.
11. You’re Dating Other People, But You Don’t Really Want To
This feeling is based on your urge to be loyal to your favorite person. Most likely, you want a real relationship with this person, but you’re too afraid to tell them.
12. You Don’t Want Them To Spot You Dating Other People
If you’d both agreed on a casual relationship, you wouldn’t be as worried about this. If you were in a real (healthy) relationship, you wouldn’t dream of dating other people in the first place.
13. You’re Not Telling Him About Your Love Life
If you’re worried about getting caught dating other people, you most likely don’t want to confess the intimate details of your dating life either.
14. You Use Them As An Excuse Not To Talk To Someone New
That’s a telltale sign you’re at least considering a long-term relationship with them, even if you haven’t talked about it.
15. You Wouldn’t Dream Of Flirting With Someone In Front Of Them
…unless you’re playing games to make them jealous
16. It Would Hurt To See Them Flirting With Someone Else
Officially, they have every right to flirt with other people. If you don’t get jealous easily, but that would hurt you, you’re probably dating unofficially.
17. You Hate The Idea Of A Casual Fling, Yet Here You Are With This Person
That’s a clear sign that you’re hoping this will develop into a real relationship.
18. You Worry About Them Getting In A New Relationship
Do you consider that this person could find something serious with someone else? Do you worry they could drop that bombshell news any day, even though they’ve been spending time with you?
You haven’t officially declared that they shouldn’t date more than one person, after all.
These fears pretty much confirm the unofficial status of your relationship.
19. You Change Topics Whenever The DTR Talk Feels Imminent
You’d only do this if you were unofficially dating.
20. The Thought Of The DTR Talk Makes You Feel Anxious
Another telltale sign you’re in the unofficial stage of dating.
21. You Value Each Other’s Opinions
This is less common when you’re casually dating or just hooking up.
22. You Rarely Fight Or Argue
Unofficial daters rarely fight or argue, because they don’t know whether they have the right to criticize the other person yet. Many lovers try to hide their flaws and bottle up their criticisms while they’re trying to tempt someone into an official relationship.
You want to cry on their shoulder? That’s a reliable sign that you want a serious relationship with them.
You don’t do it, because you prefer to hide your flaws? That’s a good sign you’re not in a serious relationship yet..
Do you feel an immediate urge to revel in your triumphs with this person? That’s another good sign you want something serious with them. If you don’t do it immediately for fear of looking too clingy, that’s another good sign you’re not where you want to be yet.
26. You’re Not Sure Whether To Invite Them To Boring Everyday Things
Long-term couples often go grocery shopping and do other daily chores together. Casual partners wouldn’t dream of inviting the other person to do that.
If you were unofficial, you might feel unsure whether to extend this type of invite.
27. You’re Not Sure Whether To Invite Them To Something In The Long-Term Future
In a stable relationship, you’re excited to plan your summer holidays in December. If you’re unofficially dating, you might feel uncomfortable buying tickets for a concert that’s a couple of months away.
28. You’re Not Sure Whether To Introduce Them To Your Parents
Are you at that stage where you’re meeting family members? It’s hard to know when you don’t discuss your feelings with them.
29. You’re Scared To Tell Him About Your Future Plans
…because what if it clashes with theirs and you realise you’re at different points in life?
30. You’re Not Sure How To Introduce Yourself To Each Other’s Friends
Are you his friend? Are you his date? Are you his ‘significant other’. There’s no way to know because you’ve not discussed labels.
31. You’re Not Sure About Pet Names
Pet names aren’t really considered suitable in casual relationships. They’re fair game in official relationships. But you’re stuck in that confusing in-between stage.
32. It Feels Disrespectful To Booty-Call Them At 3AM
It’s as if you’ve moved past that stage in your relationship.
33. It Feels Very Official
When it feels official, but you know you’re not official, you’re unofficially dating.
34. You’ve Daydreamed About Being Official
You’re wondering what it would be like in a proper relationship with them. That suggests you’re not quite where you want to be yet. Unofficial dating in a nutshell.
35. You’re Anxiously Wondering About The Future
This is the problem with dating unofficially. Everything is up in the air – and not in an exciting way. It doesn’t take a relationship expert to realize that you’re better off outside this stage as soon as possible.
The only reason you haven’t is because you’re afraid.
Are We Dating Or Just Friends?
The easiest way to know is to communicate openly about it with this person.
Explain what you’re looking for in the foreseeable future with this person. Tell them you want to make sure you’re on the same page.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for yet, it’s still fine to have an open conversation to see where their head is at.
If this person avoids the conversation at all costs, they probably have an avoidant attachment style. See my list of 31 Proven Strategies How To Communicate With An Avoidant Partner for help with this situation.
Maybe you’ll both conclude that you’re not sure yet – and that’s fine! At least you’ll know where you stand.
Signs You Are Unofficially Dating: Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s round off this guide with the answers to some frequently asked questions about this topic.
What Is It Called When You’re Dating But Not Dating?
There are a handful of terms for this scenario, but ‘unofficially dating’ is one of the most common. You might also see it described as a ‘situationship’.
How Do You Know If You’re In A Situationship?
A ‘situationship’ is widely accepted to be the same as an ‘unofficial dating’ relationship. So, the tips in this guide will apply either way.
Signs She/He Is Getting Serious About You
I’ve listed these in my guide on How To Tell If A Guy Likes You But Is Hiding It
Signs Of A Relationship Starting
I’ve mentioned a few of the signs of a committed relationship forming in the guide above. Are you spending more time together? Are you the first person they want to share news with? Are you meeting their inner circle of friends and family members? Are you making plans for the future? If so, that’s a good sign a real relationship is around the corner.
It certainly wouldn’t be right to call this ‘just a fling’ for much longer.
Any More Questions?
Thanks for reading my guide. I hope it provided more clarity about where you stand with the special person in your life.
If it provided the wake up call you needed to get out of the unofficial stage, that’s great. Remember, open communication is key in all relationships.
If you have any questions to ask or final thoughts to share on this topic, feel free to leave a comment below. I’ll make sure to spend time reading and responding to comments.
It would be great to hear from you!