How to Tell if You’re in a Low-Key Relationship: 12 Simple Steps

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The first time I heard someone talk about low-key relationships, I was in my twenties, and it sounded like a strange new relationship status… like swingers or gender fluid.

Now that I’m a bit older and have a lot more experience with relationships, I’ve had a few very happy low-key relationships. 

It can be difficult to know if you’re in a low-key relationship, a secret love affair, or just with a partner who doesn’t want to commit.

I’ve learned a few pointers to help you decide what kind of relationship you are currently in. After all, nobody likes confusion and miscommunication in a relationship, so you’ll want to figure out sooner than later what your partner’s level of commitment is… and determine where you stand.  

What are Low-Key Relationships?

Low-key relationships are those that involve a lesser degree of commitment and visibility than typical, “traditional” relationships.

Low-key relationships can range from casual acquaintances to close friends who have decided to maintain a low-scale relationship without making it truly visible or public knowledge.

While these types of relationships may not be as common as more traditional ones, they can be just as meaningful.

In low-key relationships, there is often a certain level of understanding and trust between the two individuals involved. This could involve holding hands or another physical contact, but in most cases, it does not go beyond that.

There usually isn’t a desire to take things further than what has been agreed upon by both parties. This type of relationship is often seen as less serious than a typical romantic one, but just as meaningful in its way.

Low-key relationships can be beneficial in many ways. They provide individuals with an opportunity to explore their feelings and emotions without the added pressure that comes with a more public relationship.

Low-key relationships also give people the freedom to be themselves without feeling the need to put up a façade. This can foster deeper connections and understanding between two people, regardless of whether or not they ever decide to take things further.

Ultimately, low-key relationships are whatever you make them out to be. They’re an opportunity for individuals to create meaningful connections without having to commit to anything

Reasons for Entering a Low-Key Relationship

Taking the Time to Get to Know Each Other

Taking the time to get to know each other is important in low-key relationships as it can help foster deeper understanding and connection between two people.

When two individuals decide to enter a low-key relationship, they often do so with the intent of getting to know each other without the added pressure of an official commitment. This allows them to take things slow and explore one another in a more relaxed environment.

Exploring One’s Emotions

Being in a low-key relationship also beneficial for exploring one’s emotions. Without the added pressure of a formal commitment, two individuals can feel more comfortable expressing their true thoughts and feelings.

This isn’t always easy to do with someone at first, but low-key relationships can provide a safe and secure environment for learning more about ourselves and each other.

Avoiding Public Opinions

Low-key relationships are often seen as a way to avoid public opinions and scrutiny.

By keeping things less visible, two individuals can protect their relationship from prying eyes and unwanted interference. This in turn provides them with more privacy and freedom to explore their connection on their terms.

Not Subscribing to Public Expectations

Not subscribing to public expectations is important in low-key relationships because it allows couples to create a relationship status that works best for them without any external pressures.

This includes avoiding pressure from family members or society who may have different ideas of what constitutes an appropriate relationship status.

For instance, if two individuals are comfortable with being in a low-key relationship but their family members expect them to get married, they should be able to make their own decisions without feeling obligated to follow societal norms.

You Actually Have a Secret Relationship

Entering into a low-key relationship can be beneficial for people who are in secret affairs or looking to keep their relationships on the down low.

Low-key relationships require the couple to plan ahead of time to have private moments away from prying eyes.

A secret relationship or affair provides individuals with a way of exploring and developing their feelings without the need to make it public knowledge.

Your Relationship is Forbidden

Entering a forbidden relationship can be a reason for wanting to keep things low-key. A forbidden relationship is one that two individuals enter into even though it may not be accepted by their family or society, such as when two people of different religions or social classes fall in love.

By entering into a low-key relationship, couples can explore their connection without the fear of being judged by those around them.

Having a secret affair is often seen as an escape from reality, a way of living out fantasies or just getting away from the mundane. Being in a secret relationship can help individuals to explore these feelings without having to worry about being judged by society or their family and friends.

Ultimately, secret relationships are whatever you make them out to be. Whether it’s for exploring emotions, taking the time to get to know each other, or avoiding public opinion, entering into a low-key relationship has many advantages.

With some creativity and understanding, you can create a relationship that works best for you without fear of judgment or pressure from society.

Is It Low-Key or Just an Affair? Telling the Difference

Some relationships have a hidden charm: secret meetings, secret texts, secret rendezvous. On the flip side, it can be easy for secret relationships to turn into secret affairs, which are something completely different.

What’s the difference? Is it just a low-key relationship or something more illicit?

To figure out if you’re involved in a secret relationship or an affair, take a look at a few key indicators.

Are both of your friends and family aware of the situation?

Do you two meet in private locations and share secrets no one else knows?

Depending on how these questions are answered, you might be able to determine whether things are staying low-key…or boiling up to something more.

1. Level of Public Awareness: In a low-key relationship, both people’s friends and family are generally aware of the situation, whereas in an affair it typically remains hidden from public knowledge.

2. Duration: Low-key relationships can be ongoing or short-term depending on the individuals involved, while affairs tend to be kept secret for a longer period due to their illicit nature.

3. Depth of Relationship: Low-key relationships typically involve some form of connection between two individuals, whereas affairs might not have any emotional components at all – they may just involve physical pleasure or companionship without any real commitment or long-term plans.

4. Location: Individuals in low-key relationships might meet in more open locations such as restaurants or parks; however those engaged in an affair usually prefer private places like hotel rooms where they can conduct their activities away from prying eyes and ears.

5. Intimacy & Trust Levels: Generally speaking, couples who are engaged in a low-key relationship trust each other enough to let others know about them on some level; meanwhile those involved in an affair often lack this level of trust with one another which is why it is kept under wraps most times

How to Tell if You’re in a Low-Key Relationship?

If you wonder if you are in a low-key relationship, you probably are.

It can be hard to tell if your personal life is becoming too private – are your friends or family unaware of your private relationship?

If so, then you may be creeping into the zone of having a low-key relationship. But that doesn’t have to mean anything bad; it could just mean that both of you prefer privacy more than being public with personal matters.

The important thing is to make sure that whatever it is, it works for both of you!

12 Common Signs You Might Already Be in a Low-Key Relationship

If quality time together has become a priority, but you still don’t feel like you’ve made it official, then you may already be in a low-key relationship. It’s an interesting concept, and if you’re curious to know whether or not that’s the case for you, some warning signs could confirm your suspicions.

Have your closest friends been referring to one special person as your significant other? Do you refer to one person when describing what you did last weekend?

That’s the main difference between being single and being in a low-key relationship; even though others can recognize the change between the two scenarios, both people involved aren’t on the same page about changing the label from unknown to definite.

In this final section, we look at all the signs of a low-key relationship that might indicate that your own relationship is a secret relationship, where only your best friends know, if anyone at all.

1. More Time Together

If you are spending more and more time alone together, it is a sign of a low-key relationship.

If you notice that he prefers to keep it just the two of you, investing more and more time exclusively together rather than seeing other people or family members?

Low-key relationships also give people the freedom to be themselves without feeling the need to put up a façade.

Could this be his way of telling you that being close to no one else gets him closest to his heart’s desires: You!

2. Planning Ahead

Low-key relationships require the couple to plan ahead of time to have private moments away from prying eyes.

In a normal relationship you should not only be planning ahead for “alone time” but sometimes spending time with both couples family and friends. Unless there is some reason to have a private relationship.

3. Private vs Public Lives

Are you and your partner the ultimate secret keepers, navigating the world of love in hushed whispers and quiet gestures? Or do you revel in explosive, public displays of passion and disagreement? Discover the soul of your romance and the significance of keeping it low-key.

Do you find yourselves resolving conflicts calmly behind closed doors, without making a scene? You might just be a master of low-key dating! In such relationships, it’s not just love that’s kept discreet, but also disagreements.

Beware though, of manipulative partners who can skillfully twist matters to their advantage. It’s crucial to know when you’re genuinely valued or just being played.

Find your sweet spot between secret romances, a new relationship, and serene low-key dating.

4. He Doesn’t Disclose to Others

A man who’s in a low-key relationship will admit to being in a relationship with you, but he won’t get baited into sharing details with his buddies or others. He won’t tell them all about you or what you two do together.

Your relationship is verified but private. Your partner doesn’t carry guilt for denying you since he didn’t; he’s just not going to tell everyone every single thing about you.

He or she is not ashamed of you, they just want to keep the relationship private until they know it will work out. 

5. Trusted Friends are Informed

Unlike an affair, your low-key relationship partner will be more open with their closest friends, and they will take you with them for social gatherings with this intimate group of people.

While he may not take you to the work Christmas party, he will do a movie night with his longtime school friend and you and your dearest bestie but otherwise might want to keep the relationship private.

6. He’s Not Shy about His Love When Alone

Just because there is a low-key relationship, does not mean your partner does not care deeply. Your partner may be affectionate and romantic when you are together. 

They might frequently send text messages and give you unsubtle signs that they are attracted on many levels. They may just be keeping the relationship secret so their friends and/or family don’t mess things up for them.

7. He Always Puts You First, Even in Public

This is a good sign for any relationship, not just a low-key relationship. It may be unrealistic expectations to get this private person to send out a relationship update blast on social media, but when you need them, they will always be there for you.

It may be a secret relationship, but if you need help or defense and they choose to not say anything, this is a big red flag that your love affair is one-sided.

8. He Expresses His Affection in Private

While he may not want to share status updates on social media, or constantly bring you around his close friends, one of the keys to low-key dating is that your significant other does seem to put an emphasis on prioritizing your love life.

They talk to you, want your two cents about the things going on in their lives, they will be romantic and care about your world. They may not want to share their affection for you with the whole world, but they do clearly show this affection.

9. He Slowly Moves the Relationship Forward

Have you ever wished a guy would ask you out only to have him take forever to do so? While this guy may just be shy and not necessarily heading toward a low-key relationship, there are other reasons for taking it slow. 

A man in a low-key relationship may choose not to rush into the relationship. Since no outside pressures are pushing you along, he may want to become friends before he becomes your lover.

Your decisions are shared because you have reached that state of commitment.

It may be that the longevity of the new relationship is more important than a public and exciting but ultimately expendable relationship or affair with a new partner (you). 

10. He Respects Your Independence 

Most women hate a clingy guy. They hate being pressured or told what to do, but they end up in a public relationship like this because society tells them it’s okay. 

A low-key relationship partner does the opposite. He respects your independence, and he wants you to have enough time alone to meet your own needs. Likewise, he doesn’t exclude you, but he also wants to have time alone for his hobbies and activities. 

While you may have shared interests in hobbies, you and your partner don’t take up the same hobby because one of you is already doing it.

Instead, he’d wish you a lovely Saturday morning at the yoga studio while he stays home and watches college football. 

11. He Has a Timeline for Making Your Relationship Public

Public relationships are not better, but when you care for someone and they care for you, at some point you want your friends and family to acknowledge this.

A low-key relationship is often about having time to really get to know each other without having public opinions involved. However, nobody can constantly live in “hiding out” with the one they love.

When he has a plan of keeping it low-key for a set period like six months, he is open to then making the long-term relationship public there is no need to worry about the secret relationship.

This shows maturity and ownership of his commitment to the relationship. The time to worry is when after the period has passed and he “moves the bar” on the date he intends to your relationship with the world.

This type of action might be gaslighting and there might be some very bad reasons he wants it to be a low-key relationship.

12. You Make Decisions Together

Since a low-key relationship is about you and your partner and not about the world outside, you will be much more committed to each other.

Your decisions are shared because you have reached that state of commitment. By making decisions together, you deepen your experience of the relationship.

Final Thoughts on a Low-Key Relationship 

While a private relationship isn’t for everyone, there are many solid reasons why someone may want to consider engaging in a low-key relationship. It offers couples the chance to experience true intimacy, without the prying eyes of the wider community or the nasty intrusions from social media.

You can still inform your closest friends about your relationship while keeping it quiet from those who don’t approve or would actively seek to break you up. Or those who just love to throw their two cents in via social media posts and “dislike” buttons.  

Life is hard, but your love life shouldn’t be. Your relationship should be the soft place where you can fall, and your partner should be willing and able to catch you. Not sure where life has hit you hardest?

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