Can a hookup turn into a relationship, and become something deeper?
The unwritten rules of a hookup include no strings attached. But is a relationship that develops organically from a hookup always a string?
There are good reasons to keep hookups separate from long-term relationship dating. Usually, both or all consenting adults in a hookup are proceeding with the understanding that they don’t want complications, relationships, expectations, or anything beyond great sex and sometimes companionship.
Some hookups happen with the hope that it will be a regular thing and then the hookup turns into a kind of relationship, sometimes called “fuckbuddies” and sometimes called “lovers.” It’s common etiquette to move on if emotions begin to enter the equation here, because the agreement was to no strings, no complications.
Most take for granted that turning a hookup into a relationship is a bad idea, if only because they initially said they weren’t looking for a love connection. Relationships from hookups have a reputation as being unreliable, unstable, or simply in poor taste.
Often we hook up with people we would not be friends with, never mind marry or otherwise commit to! You might have sex with a hottie from a different political party or the other side of the tracks in some other way, but wouldn’t consider dating her.
But fate has a mind of its own, and sometimes we find ourselves emotionally drawn in or developing deeper feelings for someone we hook up with.
Can a Hookup Turn Into a Relationship?
Yes, a hookup can absolutely become a relationship.
What you need to know: what kind of relationship is it?
Are the differences reconcilable ones you can live with? Is it a healthy relationship or an unhealthy one? Is the hookup likely to be toxic in some way if there are strings or commitments?
There are reasons we are generally wary of letting hookups turn into longer-lasting commitments or relationships. Those reasons protect us from potential damage or harm or a waste of time.
However, hookups have the potential to turn into amazing relationships if the partners are a good fit and both are willing and ready to change their minds about the rules. After all, you have to meet people somehow and this is someone you’re already sleeping with.
Even if you didn’t intend to fall in love or develop a relationship with a hookup, things change. Maybe neither of you was interested in anything beyond sex, but now you’re both in a place where you could make time for a relationship.
How to Tell if It’s a Hookup or a Relationship
It’s not hard to tell the difference between a budding relationship and genuine feelings and keeping a distance because it’s just sex.
One is friendly and respectful, yet casual, without too much interest in who the other is as a person and what they care about in daily life.
The other takes a deeper interest and includes real affection.
However, when one person develops a crush or starts falling for the other, that’s when judgment becomes clouded and they suddenly can’t tell anything for certain. Since that is likely the occasion you’ll be asking whether it’s a hookup or a developing relationship, or hoping to turn the hookup into relationship gold, it’s best to consider things ahead of time when you’re not in that state of mind.
Hallmarks of “relationship material” are mutual care and concern. Not just the polite variety we should have for all our dates, but the kind that affects your life. Do you care about her? Does she care about you?
Compatibility and like-minded objectives and values are another. Maybe it started as a hookup, but you really are relationship material because you share important things on a deeper level and have the same dreams and desires.
Sexual chemistry can be insane between the least compatible people in the world, so on its own is not a good marker for deciding whether a hookup can turn into a relationship. But of course if your hookup is a kind of “it’ll do” sex because both of you need some, rather than a really mutually satisfying experience, it’s not likely to turn from a hookup to a relationship magically on its own.
Remember, you may “feel” all of these things, but if you are crushing, you are in no position to judge whether she returns them or not. When someone is wearing the love goggles, they interpret everything the way they hope to and see signs in the clouds.
It might be a good idea to ask a trusted friend for their honest input before acting on impulse. You might also have an honest talk with your hookup buddy to determine whether the feeling is mutual.
Tips to Turn a Hookup into a Relationship
If you want to take it to the next level, the best way forward is to find out whether your hookup partner feels the same way, or could potentially feel that way.
That’s tricky, because just bringing it up can ruin the hookup aspect of things if they don’t.
One approach is to talk openly about relationships in general.
“When we started hooking up, I wasn’t open to having a relationship with anyone as I was low on time. But I think I’m more open to the idea now that I’m working at home most of the time.”
Another approach is to be direct but avoid asking her for anything straight off the bat—honest but non-threatening.
“I was just looking for casual sex when we hooked up. But I confess I’m really drawn to you and care about you. I’m wondering what your thoughts are? Are you open to the possibility of dating?”
Simply being open to those possibilities may be the best bet for taking it from hookup to relationship. Trying to engineer it that way won’t work, but if both of you have developed feelings, affection, and care for each other, you’re both open to a relationship, and you have mutual values and objectives, a hookup can turn into an amazing relationship—with great sex!
Have you turned a hookup into a relationship? Please share your story.