How to Transition from Casual Dating to a Committed Relationship

Casual dating is a nightmare that we’re all looking to escape.

Hook-ups, flings, ghosting, swiping – all of it. It’s chaos and can feel like a bottomless pit for many men in today’s dating world.

But maybe you’ve found someone who gives you hope. You’ve found a girl worth committing to.

Or, maybe you just prefer the idea of dating a girl worth committing to as opposed to hooking up with strangers on Tinder. Maybe, you feel like today’s dating world doesn’t reflect your values.

Maybe you feel out of place trying to date today because you only want a committed relationship. All you want is to find the girl of your dreams, the life of your dreams, and settle down.

I get it because I’m the same way. I know what I want – a quiet life with the right woman – and getting it has not been easy. It’s actually been a bit tumultuous.

However, in this article, I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide to going from casual dating and “hook-up culture” to a committed relationship with the woman of your dreams.

No prerequisites are required. Let’s begin.

1. Stop Dating Around

The first step to getting into a committed relationship is to stop engaging in non-serious relationships.

Don’t go on casual dates, don’t have casual sex, and don’t swipe on dating apps. Don’t do anything that might deter you from your goal of having serious relationships with high-quality women.

You need to make a sacrifice.

This can be tough – and it doesn’t mean attractive women aren’t still going to be interested in you. This doesn’t mean you won’t have any more opportunities for hook-ups and casual flings.

What this does mean is that you will sacrifice these opportunities for someone else. If you want one thing, you can’t have the other. That’s how life works.

If it were easy, everyone would be in happy, committed relationships, but they aren’t.

Stop dating around, and start dating seriously.

You cannot go any further in this article until you make the mindset shift to become a serious dater.

2. Figure Out Exactly What You Really Want Out of a Relationship

Bad relationships come when your expectations of a relationship and your reality don’t line up.

People have bad relationships all the time, but it’s not because they are bad people. It’s because they don’t really know what they want out of a relationship.

It’s more complicated than just aiming to get yourself a life partner. You need to get yourself someone who knows how to love you in the ways that you desire to be loved. 

When we talk about serious relationships, love is important to think about. Even if you aren’t telling her “I love you” just yet the acts of service that you do with her are acts of love. Do not be afraid of this hard truth.

As a man, you need to ask your woman how she wants to be loved. If she loves you back, she’ll do the same for you.

If you want a serious relationship, you need to focus on building a serious relationship. The transition cannot begin until you set specific goals and carry out actions to chase these specific goals.

3. Learn the Best Time to Mention What You Really Want

“How’s your risotto? By the way, do you want to be my girlfriend?”

This is not how you should go about getting yourself a girlfriend. This will not end well for you.

She’ll feel jarred, uncomfortable, and maybe even a bit anxious. Women don’t love men who make them anxious. They grow to resent them.

As a man, you need to be thoughtful about how you ask your girlfriend about serious issues in a relationship – like the definition of your relationship.

Your girlfriend, if she’s really in a place to handle a serious relationship with you, will do the same. If she doesn’t, you probably don’t want to have a serious relationship with her.

Do not invest in someone who isn’t willing to meet you halfway, especially at the very beginning of a relationship. If you’re not happy when it’s easy, how will you stay together when things get tough?

In order to go from having a casual girlfriend to a serious, committed relationship, you need to know how to initiate the conversation properly. You also need to not let the opportune moment pass.

4. When It Comes to Time, Quality Over Quantity

One of my favorite quotes about relationships is: “Watching television side-by-side is not a relationship”.

Do you feel attacked by this? I hope so. It’s an attack on laziness in today’s dating world.

Many men forget the value of striving in their relationships and try too hard to settle. They give up too soon because they don’t understand how to truly have committed relationships.

See, you can settle down into a committed relationship without settling in your life. You can have a peaceful relationship without having a boring one.

You do this by prioritizing quality time over quantity of time.

A 45-minute coffee date where you’re talking to each other, looking into each other’s eyes, and connecting with each other is better than spending 4 hours on FaceTime where you’re barely talking to each other.

Time is money; spend it deliberately. In serious relationships, this is extra true and extra important.

Prioritize communication and connection over all else—quality time over quantity of time.

5. Communication Is Key – Really

Saying that communication is the most important part of relationships is a bit corny and overplayed, but it’s still the truest relationship lesson I know.

You can’t have good quality relationships unless you know how to express yourself effectively. You also can’t have good quality relationships unless you can listen to other people effectively and empathize with them and their feelings.

Trust and communication are, in my opinion, 2 of the most important skills to develop in a relationship with someone. We’re going to talk about trust in a little bit.

But when it comes to going from a casual to a committed relationship, communication is the key to the treasure.

As you transition from casual dating to a more serious relationship, it’s imperative that you put more emphasis on communication in your relationships, especially the listening end.

For most men (myself included), listening well can be a challenge as we progress to more serious relationships. We get tired, overwhelmed with work, something happens with a friend, etc, and we become self-centered.

Women hate this.

When life happens, it’s very common to let your listening skills slip a bit. It’s very common to get careless in all aspects of your relationship because you’re overwhelmed or stressed.

The problem is that when your relationship becomes more serious, there are more feelings involved. This means that people are more likely to get their feelings hurt when communication is lacking.

The best way to prevent this is to learn to become a clear and effective communicator and a really good listener.

6. Make Her Feel Loved

Women want to be loved.

People will give you all sorts of different, fancy, dressed-up ways of saying this, but at the end of the day, relationships need love like plants need water. You can’t build a relationship by just being an unemotional robot.

The difference between casual dating and a committed relationship is that people in committed relationships are making a deliberate choice to not seek love and affection elsewhere, meaning that if they aren’t getting love from their partner, they’re just not getting it.

They’re going to be upset with you. Then, they’re going to resent you. If this resentment festers over time, eventually, one of you is going to cheat on the other.

The transition from casual dating to a committed relationship is extra important for people who have histories of bad relationships, abuse, and “anxious attachment styles”.

When you transition from a casual fling to a committed relationship, you need to go above and beyond to make your woman feel loved.

7. Be More Selfless

Committed relationships are more serious than non-committed ones. They mean more.

This is obvious to say, but a lot of men go into the early stages of committed relationships trying to be the same men that they were when they were casually dating. This, as I mentioned above, is going to make your new girlfriend feel as if the sacrifice of a relationship isn’t worth it.

To make sure the new relationship sticks, you need to let your selfless side show. You need to think of her needs as much as yours.

In order to do this, you need to work on cultivating self-awareness, practicing compromise and flexibility with your life, and perhaps most importantly, communicating what she wants and needs from you.

Take her out on dates, buy her flowers, hold the door for her, listen to her talk when you could be working on something else, and take a night off every once in a while to spend time with her.

These are just small sacrifices, but to your girlfriend, they will go a long way.

Selflessness is key to building a good relationship that can last. Love requires sacrifice to survive.

8. Have More Than One Conversation About “Us”

Once you have the conversation where you “define the relationship” and establish the kind of committed relationship that you have with your partner, a lot of people start to operate on autopilot.

They become comfortable and complacent in their relationships. They give up on trying to grow their connection with their partner.

They have the conversation, it goes well, they think “We’re good”, and they just keep living like they were before.

The problem is that this approach creates resentment. If you don’t constantly address your relationship, you will struggle to remain connected with your partner.

Connection, unfortunately, is pretty black and white. You’re either getting more connected to someone, or you’re becoming less connected.

Relationships, on the surface, look easy. On Instagram, everyone is going out on dates, making out, getting married, and everything else that seems like fun.

Off-screen, however, people are having arguments, fighting with each other every once in a while, and even raising their voices and “yelling at each other”. This doesn’t mean that these relationships are all bad – contrary to what I was taught to believe about relationships.

Relationships can’t be defined by a single date night, a single weekend, a single picture, or a single anything else. Relationships are fluid – they’re constant.

Your relationship is not a flower, it’s the garden. You need to work on the thing every single day until you break up or until one of you dies.

That’s what love really is. You can get scared of that, or you can get excited. The choice is yours.

There are no days off. Get used to it.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Fight Sometimes

The biggest difference between a committed relationship and a casual one is that when you’re in a committed relationship, a tough few days is not at all a sign that you should give up.

When you’re casually dating someone, you can just give up whenever you have a disagreement. You don’t need to fight for something that isn’t real.

Committed relationships are different – they’re something you must fight for.

You fight for them because they matter. Once the relationship stops mattering to you, you’re really going to struggle. Fights that you don’t care about winning are extremely difficult to even participate in, much less resolve.

There’s a difference between a “fight” and a toxic relationship. As you have more relationships, you’ll learn the difference.

In casual dating, there are very few fights that end in a stronger bond with the person you care about deeply.

In a committed relationship, this is a requirement.

10. Don’t Stop Working On Yourself

Just because you’ve started dating someone who you really like doesn’t mean that you’ve made it as far in your life as you want to go.

You might build the perfect relationship before you’ve built the perfect career or the perfect life for yourself. It all depends on you and where you’re at.

Even if you’re doing great in your life, transitioning to a committed relationship isn’t a sign that you should stop working on yourself. A great girlfriend can greatly improve your life, but lots of men get a girlfriend and then become complacent. They “give up”.

I lost a dear friend this way. In the end, he lost both his friend and his girlfriend.

The truth is that you care about your relationship, you must also continue to show that you love yourself. It’s hard to love someone who grows to hate themselves over time.

A lot of men become trapped in the way of thinking that a girlfriend will give them the internal peace they’ve always longed for, but this is false. These men are weak and insecure – but not you. You know that a relationship won’t complete you.

The deeper your relationships become, the more you should work to improve yourself. Working on yourself has a direct correlation to better relationships because it makes you more independent, more willing and able to give love, and more peaceful by yourself.

This mounting strength will only strengthen the devotion that your new partner has for you.

Conclusion

A mental shift needs to happen to go from having casual relationships to committed ones.

You need to stop following and start leading. You need to become a man who has a strong vision for his future. A man who lives his life with direction, purpose, and commitment.

You need to do this not just in your relationships, but in your entire life. It can be transformational to work with like-minded people as you begin this pursuit.

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