This may sound like some silly rhetorical statement. After all, who doesn’t know that they are in a relationship, right? Well, hold on there, partner. The majority of people out there will “stumble” into a relationship at least once in their life.
It’s not as unusual nor as confusing as you might expect. Picture this — you start going out with a person, pretty soon you develop a routine. Lunch on Wednesdays at that Italian place, movie night on Thursdays — hell, after a few weeks you’ve exchanged apartment keys. Even though neither of you ever formally uttered the phrase “we are in a relationship,” nevertheless, you are!
By that stage, backtracking becomes a perilous and difficult undertaking. Emotions and feelings have started to take root. Even your friends and family refer to the both of you as a “couple.”
Now, this could be a curse or a blessing. It all depends on how you really feel and what you really want in your life. So, for good or for bad, here are eight signs that you may be in a relationship without even knowing it.
1. You’ve Seen Each Other in “Comfy” Undies
Don’t laugh. If you have seen each other in your comfortable unmentionables that implies that a certain degree of personal trust has taken hold. Comfy panties and hole-ridden briefs are only shared when you are wholly comfortable with each other. The need to impress as part of the seduction process has subsided. You are now in the comfort zone of your sexuality. When you cross that barrier it usually means that you are in “relationship land.”
2. It Becomes a Family Affair
Okay, before those of you who are sickos and weirdos out there begin to misconstrue this one, we are talking about family acceptance of your partner — not any kinky sh*t.
By acceptance, we do not mean simple tolerance. We are talking about your family treating your partner as one of the group. Even to the point of taking liberties to call them for favors. Yes, if your brother feels comfortable enough to call your partner for a lift to the airport, or your partner’s mom calls you for help with her computer, chances are you’ve crossed the relationship threshold with that person.
3. Relocation of Clothes
If either of you has more than a single day’s change of clothes at the other’s place — guess what? You are in a relationship.
Having personal effects such as clothes and toiletries is not only a pragmatic sign of a relationship, but it also invokes the most ancient of all signs. The presence of personal effects is a form of marking territory.
Yes, if she has multiple pairs of shoes, panties, bras, and outfits at his place — she’s laying claim to the territory. Likewise, if he has his smelly gym clothes, razor and clean set of clothes for work at her place, he’s screaming out to the other males in the jungle that her place is his turf.
4. You Know Eachother’s Passwords
In our modern existence, passwords are the keys to our digital lives. Sharing them with another person implies great trust. Somebody with whom you only have a casual relationship would definitely not merit the trust required to share such an intimate part of your existence.
If at this moment your partner knows your passwords you are either in a relationship or just plain careless about digital security.
When you are in a casual relationship you avoid your partner when you are sick. You can even use the “sick card” as an excuse to get out of a date when you don’t feel like seeing the person.
People that are in a relationship, however, will be drawn to each other when they are sick. A nursing and healing instinct takes over. If your partner shows up with homemade chicken soup because you sounded like you had the sniffles over the phone, or if they take your temperature and tuck you in after spoon feeding you Nyquil, then you have crossed into the “relationship zone.”
6. You Know the Name of Their Childhood Pet
If you are privy to an increasing number of your partner’s most cherished childhood memories, you most likely entered relationship status but nobody bothered to inform you.
While trivial stories about each other’s past are common in casual relationships, tear-jerking tales of how they would hide under the bed when their parents used to fight, or how you used to talk to your stuffed animals, are just way too intimate to be shared with anyone outside of a relationship.
7. Favorite Foods
When you first start dating a person or when you are truly keeping things casual you are only aware of what they let you see. Under those circumstances, everyone is a sophisticated connoisseur of fine cuisine and fine wine. You keep your addiction to deep-fried Oreos a closely guarded secret.
If, however, not only does your partner know about the Oreos, but also knows exactly how you like them prepared with a dash of powdered sugar on top — that’s a relationship.
8. Share a Pet
They need to be fed, they need attention, they need to be taught skills, they need to be looked after. No, we’re not talking about kids. We’re talking about proto-kids, a.k.a. pets.
If you adopt a pet together, if you choose him together, if you name him together — that implies great closeness. It’s as close as nesting together as you will get without actually having kids.
— Like It or Not… —
While the eight scenarios outlined above are not relationship gospel, they tend to hold true the majority of the time. Maybe — if only one is present — you might skate the “relationship” question. If, however, multiple real-world examples come to your mind — then it’s a good bet that you are in a relationship, like it or not.
What to do now? That’s a topic for another day.