All Women's Talk

The Difference between a Serious Relationship and a Fling ...

By Alison

So you're dating someone new, and you really like them. After a while, it may become clear that this is shaping up to be a long-term deal. But until this happens, you may be unsure about where it's going. And you may think you're in it for the long term while the guy you're dating sees it just as a fling. How can you tell if what you have is going to develop into a serious relationship, or if it's just a fling …?

Table of contents:

  1. He makes seeing you a priority
  2. Meeting the family & friends
  3. Talking about the future
  4. Going in v staying out
  5. One of you has recently split up with your ex
  6. He's a player
  7. He's there for you

1 He Makes Seeing You a Priority

It's fine for a couple to spend time apart, in fact it's healthy for you to have your own interests. But your partner should make seeing you a priority at least some of the time. If he'd always rather see a game with his friends than go out with you, then he's really not that enthused about seeing you - and it's possible that he's just using you to pass the time.

2 Meeting the Family & Friends

Getting serious with someone means that you'll become part of each other's families. You'll also have been introduced to his friends. If, however, you've never met his family, and distance isn't an issue, he probably doesn't see you as fitting in to that part of his life. And (unless his family are awful) why would someone who was serious about you want to keep you separate?

3 Talking about the Future

Can you imagine a future with your partner? Do you talk about plans together such as going on vacation, whether you want children, or buying a home? If you've been dating a while but he always changes the subject when you talk about the future, the signs point towards him not seeing this as a serious relationship.

4 Going in V Staying out

I'm beyond embarrassed when I look back and think of one guy I 'dated'. It was so clear that all he wanted was a fling, but I fooled myself into thinking it was a relationship. If all you ever do as a couple is stay in … it's not a relationship. A fling is sexual, a relationship involves going out and doing other things.

5 One of You Has Recently Split up with Your Ex

While you can't rule out the possibility that a rebound relationship might actually work, jumping into a new relationship straight after leaving another is usually a mistake. Taking time to recover from the split and working out what you want is more likely to lead to a serious relationship next time around.

6 He's a Player

Does your guy have a reputation for being a player or a flirt? You might just be the one to convert him into a long-term love … but it's not that likely. Guys who have a series of short-term flings rarely change. A better prospect for a relationship is someone who's has longer relationships but can also handle being single.

7 He's There for You

Finally, one crucial issue is whether he's there for you when you need him. Flings don't want to be bothered with emotional needs, whereas serious guys know that it's not all fun. Guys who are serious will support you when you're going through tough times.

It's not just guys who pursue flings; you may be the one who isn't after anything serious.

Flings can be fun, providing that's what both parties want. Communication is important, and so is honesty. If all you really want is a fling, you should make that clear. It's hurtful to the other person to let them think you want a serious relationship if you don't. Have you ever thought you were in a relationship, when it turned out to only be a fling?

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