There’s a very thin line between casual dating and hookups and things getting serious. Let’s call this undefined position “the gray area”. It’s a phase where you are straddling the fence. You do everything together as a couple, but you haven’t openly shared your feelings and confessed your love for each other. In this stage, you will depict all the signs you are unofficially dating. You just haven’t put a label on it yet.

The thrill and excitement of meeting someone new and getting to know them is extraordinary. It’s a very exciting time. Your love hormones are kicking and dancing. You’re rejoicing in this situationship. You are going on dates under the pretense of “hanging out” and you are laughing at all their jokes. But there is no “label” to what you have.

There are sparks; you are more than friends, but you are not romantically involved. This stage is quite unclear for many and calls for a DTR talk. Before you have the ‘define the relationship’ conversation, take a look at the below signs you’re dating this person unofficially just to indirectly confirm where you both stand. 

16 Clues You’re In An Unofficial Dating Situation 

When you are unofficially dating someone, you are doing all the things you would do with your partner. It’s as if you are in a pseudo-relationship. You love them, but you haven’t said it out loud. Your friends often tease you about being the ‘couple’, except that you don’t think like that (maybe).

There’s romance, you have a fiery sexual chemistry, and you find it tough to keep your hands off each other. There is also that emotional connection that you have always craved. Yet none of you have committed to each other.

You don’t want them to date other people, but you haven’t had this conversation about relationship status explicitly. There is no exclusivity to your ‘arrangement’. The will-we-won’t-we situation is cute, isn’t it? Without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at what unofficial dating looks like:

1. There is frequent communication 

One of the first signs you are unofficially dating someone is when you are frequently in contact with them. You are texting them all the time, sending each other memes, and having 3 a.m. talks about random things. You don’t do such things with someone who is just a friend. It clearly means you are on the verge of being in an exclusive relationship.

On top of that, your conversations are never forced, fake, or fabricated. They are genuine and flow naturally. You share how your day is going and are always aware of what they are doing. You drop a message when you are busy just to let them know that you are thinking about them, and vice versa.

That’s how healthy relationships start. These are some early signs of a good relationship. You build a strong foundation where you can talk about anything without worrying about being judged or misunderstood. 

You May Also Like: 7 Early Signs Of A Highly Compatible Relationship: Are You Meant To Be?

2. You spend time together (a lot of it)

When you are dating without labels, you will be spending a lot of time together. If it’s just a friend, you wouldn’t be putting on the Ritz. You wouldn’t be dressing up to impress them and you surely wouldn’t be going to fancy dinners. But if you are doing these things with someone, it’s one of the good signs of a relationship starting.

It’s not like you are spending time with them because you have no other option. You deliberately clear your schedule to meet them. Sure, it could be just a casual fling but here are some signs that could mean otherwise:

  • When you spend time with them, they pay attention to everything you say 
  • They put their phone down to listen to you
  • They are curious and ask open-ended questions to keep things interesting 
  • You have deeper conversations with them 
  • You do all kinds of activities when you spend time like playing board games, going on picnics, and watching movies 
  • You also engage in playful banter

Congratulations, you are not officially dating, yet very close to it.

3. The positive energy is through the roof 

You are emitting positive vibes and so are they. The whole positive atmosphere is making you feel like the luckiest person on earth. You are happy together, and you know each other’s moods really well. There is a sense of happiness and satisfaction that only a loving relationship can provide.

You care for them and rely on each other for emotional support. You don’t wish anything bad to happen to them ever and that feeling flows both ways. If that’s you at the moment, it’s one of the obvious signs you’ll end up dating.  

are we in a relationship or just dating
Image by pressfoto on Freepik

4. There is playful flirting 

You teach each other in a playful way. You like making eye contact with them and their body language screams that they want to be in a romantic relationship with you. Here are some more signs of consensual, playful flirting:

  • You give compliments about physical appearance and personality traits
  • Light, casual touches on the arm, shoulder, or back. These touches are brief and not overly intimate
  • You share jokes and witty remarks, along with subtle sexual innuendos 
  • You subconsciously mirror each other’s body language
  • You sometimes discuss how things would be if you were a couple

You May Also Like: 23 Sure Signs He Has Strong Feelings For You

5. You do romantic things for each other

One of the core differences of official vs unofficial relationships is that you don’t do romantic gestures for a person you aren’t in love with. Some romantic gestures include buying flowers, writing long paragraphs, and buying memorable gifts. These things are done only to express your love and affection for a person. Much like in an official relationship.

Janet, a 31-year-old banker from New York, says, “Are we in a relationship or just dating? We aren’t just each other’s friends. I am sure of it. He sends me good morning messages every single day and remembers all the trivial and big details I’ve shared with him. He is my go-to person when I feel anxious or sad. I can’t wait to officially date him.” 

6. Your friends already see you as a couple

You may prolong to put a label on it but your close friends and inner circle can sniff your love from miles away. They know your unofficial partner has won your heart and how much you enjoy each other’s company. They’ve seen all the signs he is getting serious about you.

They casually mention that you’ve been spending an enormous amount of time together. In fact, when you attend events together they don’t miss a chance to tease and pull your leg but just roll your eyes at them and say, “Oh, we are just friends”. It’s time for your unofficial dating situation to change. 

7. You aren’t dating other people 

There is unsaid exclusivity but you haven’t explicitly had the “ relationship talk” yet. You share your ups and downs with them, you have open conversations with them, you’ve deleted dating apps, you don’t go on other dates, you aren’t looking for someone better, and you surely aren’t having sex with anyone else.

It’s just this one person but what’s missing here is the honest DTR talk. Define The Relationship. 

When asked on Reddit the difference between being exclusive and being in serious relationships, a user replied, “How do you and your partner choose to define and set your boundaries?

For some people, exclusivity simply means that you aren’t having sex with other people. For some people, a committed relationship means that you aren’t having sex with other people.”

8. You are emotionally intimate with them 

One of the clear signs you are unofficially dating someone is when you start sharing your problems with them. And when they share their problems, your hero instincts get activated and you want to help them no matter what. You share your secrets, vulnerabilities, and insecurities with them.

This person truly understands your concerns and traumas. They don’t walk on eggshells around you and they tell you when you are wrong. They have accepted your flaws and appreciate you for being in their life.

This is exactly what happens in a real relationship. You emotionally connect with them as this helps in fostering trust, reliability, and affection. 

You May Also Like: 13 Relationship Check-In Questions Every Couple Should Ask 

9. You feature in each others’ future

You don’t directly tell each other that you wish them to be in your life in the foreseeable future but you tell them your plans. And subtly feature them. You have not imagined life without them.

For example, if you have a specific place you want to live in, you share that with them. You tell them how you see both of you having a great time there. They tell you all about their dreams. You share with each other where you see yourselves in the upcoming years. When you discuss future plans regardless of whether they are in it or not, it’s one of the signs you are unofficially dating.

Mark, a journalist from Chicago, says, “I think I am in a certified relationship with this guy. I met them on a dating app and we often discuss our future plans. We communicate openly. I really love them and it’s been a long time since I’ve found someone who openly admits they are into men. I’ve fallen in love and my happiness knows no bounds.” 

Dating without labels
Image by fxquadro on Freepik

10. They leave their things at your place (and vice-versa)

Her lipstick, his jacket, their pillow. Whatever it is. The object is currently at your place. Of course, friends can forget their things at your place too but they at least get it back. This person knows they have left something at your place but they will refuse to take it back. They like it that you have something that belongs to them. It’s an indirect way of showing their love for you. 

Someone asked on Reddit if people leave things intentionally after an eventful night, a user replied, “Yes, guys and girls do it too. It gives a an excuse to see each other again without being “direct” about it. Since being “direct” can imply that you’re too into the relationship or too eager to see each other again or something.”  

11. You’ve made memories together 

You are in an exclusive relationship if you’ve already made some eternal memories together. You can’t erase the loving moments you’ve shared with them. The long drives, the night you spent talking till the creek of dawn, and day they introduced you to their family members. These things can’t be forgotten. 

According to studies, it’s even more difficult to forget memories that are linked with strong emotions. If your memory is attached to a strong emotion like fear, love, or anxiety, you are more likely to remember it for a long time. 

12. They’re on your social media platforms

Usually in romantic relationships you only share pictures when you have made it official. But if you have already shared their pictures on all your social media profiles without labeling your relationship, it’s one of the signs you’ll end up dating them seriously. That’s what happens. We’ve all seen it in the movies! 

You are already attending events together, taking selfies, and posting them on your story. You are giving everyone a hint that you are off the market and there is someone new in your life. Your captions on those pictures are also a little lovey-dovey. Plus, they will be among the first ones to see your story, give a like, and comment on it. 

13. You are over your ex 

According to certified relationship coaches, one of the good signs you are unofficially dating a person is when you no longer feel intense emotions when you think about your ex. You don’t check your ex’s social media profiles obsessively or feel the need to know every detail about their life. Some more signs you are over your ex include:

  • You aren’t looking to be in a rebound relationships 
  • You don’t badmouth them just to satisfy your ego 
  • You don’t drink-dial them 
  • You accept that the relationship has ended and understand the reasons why
  • You have used the breakup as an opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth
  • You don’t hold any resentment or bitterness towards your ex
  • You have forgiven them and have moved on from any past grievances

All highly trained relationship coaches advise people to heal before they start a new relationship. If you’ve completely recovered from your traumas and have found a great human being, it’s time you make things official. 

14. You’ve already given each other cute pet names

No. We aren’t talking about babe, sweetheart, or darling yet. We are talking about couple nicknames like bunny, pumpkin, or lamb chop. I knew my unofficial partner was going to become my life partner when he started calling me “tomato” during the initial dating days.

If your person already has nicknames for you, it’s one of the signs you are a special person for them. They love you. They are the first person you turn to when you have any problems and they console you with sweet whisperings and cute nicknames. 

A Reddit user shares how and when they started using nicknames in their relationship, “My girlfriend and I started calling each other those names just a few days after getting together. We started saying I love you pretty much as soon as we got together. We’d been best friend’s for years beforehand. Her and I already had trust for each other when we started dating.” 

15. Physical intimacy is incredible 

You hooked up casually at first, but now you feel it. With them, you are making love, that romantic slow love that is deeply satisfying. You both have subconsciously entered into a zone where having sex feels more than just that.

They know what you like and aren’t selfish in bed. That’s one of the things that matters in a long-term relationship. They ask for consent, they are respectful, and they focus on foreplay, and they insist on aftercare like cuddling, pillow talk, having a snack together, or even taking a shower with each other. Furthermore, you also show physical affection toward each other like handholding, kissing on forehead, massaging, and sitting close to them. 

You freely communicate your fantasies and desires and they aren’t met with judgments or prudence. Your needs are met and you have no complaints. However, if all aspects of your unofficial dating is amazing but lacks excitement in the bedroom, it’s a wake-up call for you to up your game. 

Signs you are officially a couple
Image by ArthurHidden on Freepik

16. It breaks your heart when you fight

Fights are inevitable, we all know that. But when you fight, you want to settle things immediately. You can’t stand the thought of letting them stay mad at you. You want to reconcile as soon as possible and you can’t wait for this casual friendship to turn into a relationship.

Also, when the two of you fight, it never gets abusive and neither of you disrespects the other person. You don’t gaslight or try to dominate the argument by raising your voice. This is one of the good signs of a long-term relationship. 

What Does It Mean To Be Unofficially Dating?

When you are unofficially dating someone, it usually means that you are romantically involved with them. You act, talk, and behave in ways that are typical of an exclusive dating relationship. The catch here is that you have not explicitly defined the relationship or committed to a formal partnership. There hasn’t been a serious talk regarding the status of your relationship. 

In an unofficial relationship, you spend a lot of time together, go on dates, engage in romantic gestures, and develop emotional intimacy, but without the official label of being a couple.

There might be exclusivity, meaning you both choose not to date or pursue romantic interests with other people. However, the terms of the relationship are not clearly defined yet, which can lead to uncertainty about the level of commitment and expectations between both parties.

The lack of an official label can be due to various reasons, such as: 

  • Wanting to take things slow
  • Not being sure about long-term compatibility
  • Fear of rejection 
  • Past fears and traumas 
  • Simply enjoying the present moment without the pressure of formalizing the relationship

Just like in any other relationship, communication is essential to ensure both partners are on the same page regarding their feelings, expectations, and the direction of the relationship. When you are ready, try to have more DTR talks, but don’t force it. Let it happen naturally. 

Key Takeaways 

  • It’s a very romantic time when you are in an unofficial relationship with someone. You’ve fallen in love but you just haven’t confessed yet 
  • Some of the signs you are in an unofficial dating situation include being emotionally connected with them and discussing future plans
  • You are in an unofficial relationship if they introduce you to their family members and if you do romantic things for each other 


The cutest thing about unofficial relationships is that the absence of a formal label doesn’t diminish the depth of emotions or experiences shared. There will come a point where you may evolve into a formal, committed relationship if both want the same things in life. Then, you can publicly acknowledge your status as a couple and start posting them as your significant other on your social media feed.