It's the question we're all terrified of asking when we're newly dating someone: "What are we?" Probably because every rom-com ever has led us to believe that that and "We should talk" are both often relationship enders.
But dancing in the 'grey area' with someone you're developing feelings for can be anxiety inducing; Do you ask? Do you wait for them to? Do people even ask anymore? Do you drop it casually into conversation? Or wait until you've had enough liquid courage that it won't matter what their response is?
When it comes to making a relationship 'official' (whatever that means to you) it's hard to know when the time is 'right', so we decided to ask a bunch of women to share their stories of how and when it happened so you can gauge where you're at — and maybe even give you the confidence to go for it . . .
"We'd been friends for maybe six months, and dating for about one. My (soon-to-be) boyfriend left his phone on the train, so when he was registering it as lost he gave them my name and phone number. They called, I said it was "my boyfriend's" phone, which ended up getting back to him. He brought it up to me with a dumb smile on his face, and we decided to make it official". — Alex*
"Me and this girl I'd just started dating were doing lines of blow in my bedroom at my birthday party. We were having the kind of chats you usually have on coke. In between lines we were like, you want to just make this official? Yeah, cool." — Stacey*
"We hung out a few times and just really enjoyed hanging out together. So we kept 'dating' and seeing each other for 2/3months when I asked if we were BF & GF (twas a rainy Tuesday) — and he said, "well yeah." And so it was official and 4 months later we moved in together and 5 years later here we are. The end." — Georgia*
"Preface to say I'm polyam, and currently a point in a V. December 2019 after a few months of FwB, we were texting late one Tuesday night (after midnight) due to both of us having insomnia when he suddenly asked if he could call me to talk about something. Queue me gearing up to say goodbye to some amazingly fun times. Instead, he called me up and after some chitchat said "So me and (insert his partners' name here) were talking and we've decided you should start using the 'B' word when you talk about me." I laughed and asked if I had any say in it, and he replied "Shut up, you know you want to do the thing, I want to do the thing, partner wants us to do the thing, we're doing the thing" and he hung up. That was when I realised what it's like to have a man come in with an emphatic yes-I-want-you. Simple, easy, done." — Erin*
"We'd been dating for a while and decided to go home for a weekend (we were both originally from the same town), we got into town late and I dropped him to the pub to see his mates before going home to my parents place. At around 3 a.m he called me to see if he could stay there for the night. He got to my parents place and had a massive grin on his face, when I asked him what that was all about, he smugly said to me that he'd told everyone at the pub that night that I was his girlfriend before passing out. In the morning I asked him if he remembered what he'd said the night before and the same grin came across his face and he said "yeah, you're my girlfriend" — and that was that." — Grace*
"I didn't know if we were dating, so I had sex with him and then asked him whilst he was all in his confused erotic state if we were dating, and he said yes. We were going to Orange to meet his family the next day and he had planned to stop in the mountains and ask me to be his girlfriend . . . I jumped the gun, jumped his bones and here we are." — Katie*
"Pre-covid: it was a pretty emotional time for both of us as we had both lost someone close to us, and so bonded over that. I think we were basically bf/gf almost immediately. I actually just checked with him and he counts our first date/anniversary as when we were official. Dove right in. It will be 10 years in Jan." — Elise*
"I started talking to this guy on Hinge towards the end of the lockdown, we met after the lockdown was lifted and I don't know if it's being able to go out again or just the fact that we're a really great match but we started spending a lot of time together and planned a weekend away a month after meeting where it became pretty obvious we were official without ever having to talk about it. I'm also French and the whole "are we official" discussion is not a thing in Europe so maybe that's why I 'never raised it and since it was so obvious for him none of us felt the need to 'have the chat'" — Maddy*
* Names have been changed for anonymity.