5 Signs it’s Time to Define the Relationship

Sometimes it can be hard to know when it’s time to speak up to your hook-up and ask the question every collegiette wants to know: “Are we official?”

Before you have the famous (or infamous) talk, see if any of these signs apply to you and your guy. If they sound familiar, it’s definitely time to define the relationship!

1. You aren’t dating other people


If this guy is the only person you’re dating, it’s important to talk to him and make it official to avoid confusion down the road.

“I was hooking up with someone for a few months and stopped seeing other guys almost immediately because I really liked him,” says Anna Trevor, a sophomore at the University of Delaware. “I was almost positive that he wasn’t seeing anyone else, but I was scared to ask. One day, I finally asked him if we were exclusive, and he asked me on the spot to be his girlfriend. I’m so much happier now that we put a label on it so I never have to wonder if we’re actually on the same page—I can be positive that we are.”

Like this collegiette, if you’re happy to be exclusive with your current hook-up and want to be official, have the DTR conversation and remove the stress of wondering what he’s thinking.

“If you are in a casual relationship and want to take it to the next level, it's usually because you have no interest in dating other people and you would like it if your guy feels and acts the same,” says Kim Olver, licensed counselor, certified life coach and author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life. “Without communication, it's difficult to know the answer to this.”

No matter how clear you think your relationship is defined without the conversation, it’s important to put a label on it to avoid questioning things later on. If you’re happy that he’s the only guy you’re seeing, making the relationship official will allow you to continue to feel that way with none of the confusion that comes with undefined relationships.

2. His friends think you’re together


Have you ever had that moment where you’re out at a party and your hook-up’s best friend introduces you as his buddy’s girlfriend? If his friends think you’re dating, it’s probably because he’s given them a reason to. Whether he’s been talking about you or flat-out calls you his girlfriend to his best pals, if you know his friends define you as his girlfriend, you may want to talk to him about defining yourself that way with him, too!

So, what do you do when you realize that your guy may be giving you the title of his girlfriend without talking to you first?

“Make sure that question is asked, whether he asks it or you do, especially if you're unsure of what's going on,” says Suzette Bonas, a junior at the University of the West Indies. If you feel uncomfortable making this a sit-down conversation, you can casually mention it as it happens. Telling him that his friend introduced you as his girlfriend can initiate a conversation about where you stand.

3. You’ve met his family


Would you introduce a random hook-up to your family? Most likely, he wouldn’t either. If your guy introduces you to the people closest to him, such as his family or friends, it’s fair game to assume that he sees you as something serious, and it’s definitely time to make your relationship official.

“My parents were visiting me on campus one night and I invited the girl I was hooking up with at the time to come to dinner with us,” says Andrew, a junior at the University of Maryland. “I knew that once I felt comfortable enough with her to introduce her to my parents, it was time for her to be my girlfriend.”

If he’s giving you the sign that your relationship is becoming more serious by introducing you to his family, it’s time to approach him about what that means to him.

4. You spend all of your free time together


If you’re spending your free time studying with your guy in the library, hanging on the couch with him or walking to class together, it’s time to make things official.

“I knew I wanted my to make things exclusive with the guy I was with when we started going on study dates together and hanging out during the day more than at night,” says Anna, a senior at the University of Delaware. “We both knew it was getting to that serious point, but once we actually talked about it, we could finally feel secure in our relationship.”

If you and your hook-up are in this situation, it’s clear that things are going in the direction of becoming official.

5. He brings you to formal events


A guy taking you on several dates or to his formals and special events can mean that things are taking a more serious turn. After all, if he’s bringing you to functions, that probably means he’s proud to be with you! This also indicates that you mean more to him than a casual hook-up.

If you’ve been his guest of honor at more than one event, talking about this with your guy is important to make sure that you see both see his invitation the same way.


Olver’s advice for collegiettes looking to take the next step and define the relationship? Figure out what you want first, and then be clear about it. “When you are having thoughts of exclusivity, it's important to talk about this so there are no misunderstandings,” she says.

If you’re ready to take on the label of an official relationship, talk to your guy. We know it can be hard to speak up, but having the conversation will allow you to move forward without any questions about where you stand.