In the game of Modern Dating, the passage between "seeing someone" and "dating someone" is rocky and ill-defined. It's possible that you'll live in situationship limbo for months — or that you'll get married at City Hall tomorrow. Maybe you'll move in together to offset inflation costs. Maybe you'll break up the very next day.
The point is: Right now, you'll hardly find folks adhering to traditional milestones on their romantic trajectories (you know, first you "go steady," then you get married, then you lose your virginity, buy a house, pop out three kids, and eventually die). Once you factor in the trappings of app dating, ethical non-monogamy, polycules, and so many of the other potential romantic possibilities available to us, it’s hard to discern which classic relationship stages still actually matter... and in what order they’re meant to occur.
Come holiday season, this can be unusually tricky territory. On the one hand, a sense of relationship ambiguity might be freeing... but on the other, how are you to know what feels "appropriate"? How do you know if you're overstepping? Understepping?! And if you don't go ahead and DTR right now, are you sentenced to spending your Thanksgiving wondering if they’re in their hometown sleeping with their marching band ex?
Well, we certainly can’t speak to the skeletons in your person’s (or almost-person’s) closet, but for what it’s worth, we can help you with the gifting conundrum. Ahead, we’ve pulled together the most low-stakes, high-brow gifts to give your partner-adjacent person while you’re still finding your footing as a "couple." They’re not gag gifts, but they’re not diamonds either. They’ll build intrigue without overpromising. And surely, they’ll help cement that third, fourth, fifth, twenty-seventh date.