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Lover vs Girlfriend: Which Relationship Style Fits You Best? 

Ever wonder what it means to be referred to as someone’s lover as opposed to their girlfriend or boyfriend? This guide looks at some of the fundamental differences between these two types of relationships, the pros and cons of each, and what each relationship status might mean for you.

Key Takeaways 

  • Being referred to as someone’s lover is vastly different from being referred to as someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend 
  • Once you understand the fundamental differences between these two, you’ll be better equipped to make relationship decisions that serve you and your desires 
  • Being open and honest in your communication with your partner will ensure you’re both on the same page and that your wants and needs are met 

What Does It Mean When a Guy Calls You His Lover?

Typically, being referred to as a lover means that your partner sees you as someone he can have short term fun with. It indicates that his interest in you is primarily sexual in nature and that he’s simply looking for a no-strings-attached, noncommittal arrangement. 

The level of commitment and expectations that come with being someone’s lover differs vastly from that of a girlfriend. Make sure you understand these differences before entering a relationship. 

Understanding the differences will help ensure your needs and wants are met and that the two of you are on the same page. If you happen to be on different pages, you’re then at least given the option to walk away before finding yourself in a romantic situation you don’t want to be in or were ignorant about.

There are some key differences to take note of when comparing a lover to a girlfriend that we will delve into throughout this guide. 

Lover vs Girlfriend: Pros and Cons of Each Relationship Status

1. ‘Girlfriend’ assumes a longer-term commitment than ‘lover’

girlfriend assumes a longer term commitment than lover

Being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend typically means the intention is there for the relationship to be long-lasting. If your partner has formally asked you out, it shows a level of commitment on their end to be with you for the foreseeable future. Boyfriends and girlfriends might have long-term relationships or even become life partners.

On the contrary, being called someone’s lover means the intention is just to have fun in the moment, or for as long as things remain easy and convenient. This is a more casual relationship with short-term goals only.

2. You can be more dependent on a boyfriend or girlfriend than on a lover

With commitment comes dependability. As someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend, you are able to depend on your partner a lot more than as someone’s lover. 

Whether you need emotional support, financial support, someone to support you in reaching your goals, or just a friend who you can rely on and laugh with, your boyfriend or girlfriend will be there for you, provided you’re in a healthy relationship. 

There are some simple things you can depend on a boyfriend or girlfriend for that one often takes for granted, like being picked up from the airport, asking for everyday advice, and being taken care of when you’re sick.

Lovers generally don’t depend on each other when it comes to anything beyond physical intimacy. Your lover is typically someone you call on for a good time, which generally includes sexual intimacy.

3. Long-distance relationships might not work with a lover

Many of us understand just how much emotional energy, time, sacrifice, and commitment goes into making a long-distance relationship work, which makes it easy to understand why a romantic relationship like this would only work if two people are genuinely committed to and love each other.

Fortunately, with advances in technology, things like video calls, texting, and air travel make long-distance relationships a little easier. Generally speaking, a boyfriend or girlfriend would opt to stay in a long-distance relationship in the hopes of being connected again in the near future. 

Contrary to the above, making a long-distance relationship work requires emotional depth and commitment, which generally isn’t what a relationship as lovers is all about. Lovers usually only want to have some light-hearted fun in the spur of the moment.

4. A girlfriend or boyfriend will make compromises for you

There’ll come a point in any serious relationship where compromise and sacrifice will be required between partners to make things work. This is normal. Things like time, money, lifestyle choices, religious views, and where you choose to live may at one point or another all need some level of compromise.

In casual relationships or flings, however, serious sacrifice is seldom needed. 

It’s unlikely that lovers will get to the point in their relationship or interactions with each other where this will be required and, if it does, the interaction is then more likely to end than for compromises to be made. 

A relationship between lovers is a surface-level relationship where partners generally want a drama-free, no-strings-attached sort of relationship and because of this, it’ll rarely get to the point where serious adjustment is required.

5. Lovers are synonymous with convenience

lovers are synonymous with convenience

Convenience, physical intimacy, and drama-free fun are the hallmarks of a lover relationship. While these relationships certainly have their benefits, they are typically also fleeting. A lover is also unlikely to stick with you through tough times simply because it’s inconvenient and isn’t aligned with what they’re looking for.

While an official relationship also involves a great deal of physical intimacy and fun, there’s a level of emotional depth, dependability, care, and concern for each other that goes beyond what’s convenient. An official relationship is more than skin deep. 

In a lover relationship, you might also find that they only speak to you, call you, or text you when it’s convenient and/or when they are looking for a good time.

6. There’s no sense of commitment with lovers 

Keep in mind that if you’re involved in someone’s life as their lover, there’s likely to be very little commitment in the relationship. Plans together might be changed or canceled at the last minute and, at times, you might be dropped with very little or no explanation as to why

The truth is, there’s simply no level of commitment to a lover and when things become boring or complicated, your partner is likely to move on in pursuit of the next best thing or person. For this reason, many people find it emotionally taxing to be considered a lover and nothing more. 

When you’re someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend, there is a sense of duty and commitment. In a healthy relationship, you’ll have a feeling that your partner has your back and prioritizes your wants and needs.

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7. There are milestones to look forward to as someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend 

In an official, intimate relationship there’ll be some big and exciting milestones to look forward to. Things like going on holiday together, moving in together, buying your first home and car together, and maybe even getting married and having children are some of the things you might look forward to. 

Contrary to the above, a lover relationship isn’t one where big milestones will be celebrated together, simply because you aren’t involved in each other’s lives to this extent or this deeply and intimately.

8. Communication styles and topics may differ

Communication with a lover will be vastly different from communication with a boyfriend or girlfriend. When communicating with a lover, it’ll predominantly be small talk and surface-level stuff. Conversations with a lover will rarely become deep and emotionally engaging. 

On the other hand, communication in a committed relationship is one of the key aspects of a healthy, functional union. It will cover everything from day-to-day chit-chat to deep and meaningful conversations. From time to time, healthy communication can expose your vulnerable side or even help you come to certain internal realizations.

9. A boyfriend or girlfriend comes with added expectations

There is a big difference between being someone’s lover and being someone’s partner when it comes to expectations. A lover’s expectations generally don’t extend far beyond the bedroom - it’s all about sexual pleasure and the occasional carefree fun. 

Being someone’s partner comes with additional expectations, like consistent communication, emotional support, physical touch and intimacy, and shared responsibilities. 

There is definitely greater expectation put on a boyfriend or girlfriend in a relationship than on a lover.

10. Being someone’s lover means things will be relatively drama-free

being someone’s lover means things will be relatively drama free

Because lovers keep a no-strings-attached policy where things remain light, easy, and relatively free of expectations and emotions, chances are a relationship as lovers will be drama-free. That is, of course, unless someone develops feelings and starts wanting more than the other one can give. 

In a serious relationship, emotions may run high from time to time, giving rise to additional drama. This is normal and to be expected in any long-term commitment where two people need to compromise and find a happy balance.

11. There will be deeper feelings involved in a committed relationship

Unconditional love, jealousy, anger, frustration, joy, excitement, and a host of other emotions, both positive and negative, will occasionally rise up in a committed relationship. It’s normal to feel a vast array of deep and complex emotions in this sort of union. 

As lovers, feelings will rarely become deep and complex. Your interactions will usually be marked by physical attraction, fun, and lust.

12. Lovers are driven by sex 

As mentioned, sex is the main driving force behind a relationship as lovers. Your relationship and time together will predominantly be physical in nature with very little time and energy spent connecting emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. 

Reversely, a boyfriend and girlfriend’s connection is deeper in that it merges physical intimacy with emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy.

13. You’ll be introduced to their family and friends 

Another difference between a lover and an official partner is that as a girlfriend or boyfriend, you’ll be introduced to each other’s friends, families, and work colleagues. You’ll know someone is serious about you when they introduce you to these people. 

As a lover, you might feel like you’re being hidden away to an extent. You’re unlikely to meet any of the important people in your lover’s life because of the pressure that’ll put on the relationship to be more serious than it is.

14. You might live with your girlfriend or boyfriend, not your lover

Moving in with your partner is a big milestone in an intimate relationship and often one that requires a great deal of planning and compromise. It’s also something new couples look forward to while dating. Moving in together signifies that a couple is serious about their relationship and their future together.

Furthermore, moving in together is an emotional commitment that will require compromise, patience, and kindness. Simply put, living together is an adjustment that’s not always easy and because of this, it’s generally not something lovers will do.

15. Being someone’s lover might leave you feeling disappointed 

being someone’s lover might leave you feeling disappointed

Entering a relationship where your expectation is to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend only to find out they only see you as a lover can lead to feelings of disappointment and sadness. 

As someone’s lover you may feel overlooked from time to time. You may even begin to feel that your relationship is unfulfilling as your overall well-being takes a backseat and the focus remains primarily on sex. 

On the contrary, in a committed relationship, partners endeavor to fill each other’s cups by taking a keen interest in each other’s mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Partners may even have shared goals and dreams that they work on achieving together. 

How to Communicate to Your Partner What You Want from a Relationship?

In my opinion, being honest and transparent about what you want out of a relationship from the get-go is very important. First off, make sure you know what you’re looking for, want, and need yourself and then make sure you communicate this. Even if you’ve just started speaking to someone on a dating app, be upfront from the beginning. 

Being honest about what you want from a relationship ensures that no time is wasted with the wrong people. It gives you a better chance of finding the right person for you. It also means that no unrealistic expectations are set, avoiding potential disappointments and heartache down the line.

  1. Set time aside to figure out exactly what it is you’re looking for from a relationship, i.e. do you just want some casual fun? Do you want to find someone who can potentially become a life partner? Is it important that you feel emotionally fulfilled or is physical intimacy enough for you? 
  2. Once you’ve decided on what it is that you want, stick to that. Communicate clearly, effectively, and transparently with your partner or person you’re speaking to about what your needs are.
  3. Communicating your needs from the start is very important. It’s a way to ensure your time and energy isn’t wasted on the wrong people. Furthermore, it gives you an opportunity to make sure the two of you are on the same page, avoiding misunderstandings and heartbreak in the future.


Can you become someone’s partner if you started out as their lover? 

Yes, starting out as lovers and then transitioning into partners is possible. That being said, all relationships are different and while that might work out in some cases it’s not to say it’ll work out in all. Transitioning from lovers to partners will require both parties to be on the same page, with the same goal in mind. This will not work if it’s one-sided. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that if your partner has communicated that they want things to remain casual but you want something more serious, you shouldn’t stay in the relationship hoping things will become more serious or more committed. This is unlikely and can lead to heartbreak.

Is it considered cheating if your lover is seeing other people?

This depends on the boundaries the two of you have set. However, generally speaking, it is not considered cheating if your lover is seeing someone else because a relationship with a lover is considered casual by nature. 

Setting some casual rules with your lover and practicing safe sex in this kind of sexual relationship will protect you physically and emotionally. 


Generally speaking, the main differences between a casual relationship and a committed relationship is the amount of time you spend with each other, the long-term goals of the relationship, and the boundaries and expectations. 

More so, a lover is someone who you might be sexually involved with, without any hopes of taking things further. It’s someone you keep around for the good times only.

On the other hand, your official partner is someone you’re likely to invest a great deal of time and energy on. It’s someone who you care about physically and emotionally. Naturally, serious relationships go through ups and downs as the two of you grow and become stronger together. 

Being transparent from the get-go is important in any relationship! Communicate your wants, needs, and expectations with your partner. Transparency and honesty will give you a good chance at finding someone whose views and values are aligned with yours which means a happier future for all.


Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


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