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5 Stages of Dating in a Relationship

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“Are you serious?” is one of the most anxiety-inducing phrases in the dating world.

Well-meaning loved ones are genuinely interested in the state of our relationship, but the dating process can feel more like a maze of riddles than a natural progression.

Then it can get even more confusing when you consider how different generations define dating.

Here, we help explorers of the dating world stop overthinking and start understanding.

How does dating work?

At its core, dating is simply the idea that two people spend time together and romance develops.

There is a natural progression of dating, but you should reserve space for defining your own steps if necessary.

Not only has the pandemic capitalized on loneliness and a longing for companionship, it has also forced people in the dating world to explore long-distance or virtual relationships.

Dating works the way you want it to, with new influences our parents and grandparents never had the option to explore.

  • Social Media: You can now meet people on social media without being on a dating site.
  • Virtual Hookup: Traditionally, dating is supposed to be two people going somewhere and doing something together. Technology allows us to date anyone in the world via Skype or Facetime and still maintain a human connection.
  • Group settings: Millennials and Gen Z are much more likely to have group outings that they consider “group dates.” Even though more people are attending, it’s still a social experience of getting to know potential partners.
  • One-on-one: This is when two people agree to do something together. Whether it’s dinner and a movie, or just playing video or board games.

Beyond the concept of dating, you can find the stages of dating that can grow a relationship.

The 5 Stages of Dating in a Relationship

Knowing about the stages is very important, but you should also know that not everyone you date reaches all five stages.

Part of dating is learning about other people, establishing boundaries, and breaking contracts.

Dating also helps us understand how ready we are for relationships or if we need more time to focus on self-awareness and self-love.

So what are the stages of dating? Let’s see what you can expect if the relationship develops.

1. Attractions and Sparks

Start dating someone when you feel a spark or connection. This spark can be purely physical attraction or common interest.

Sweet couple having a coffee date Dating stages

There is no right or wrong way to feel a spark, because sparks can occur on social media, internet forums, dating apps, or organically.

At this first stage, you may find that you like the other person. However, he only likes what he knows and is very limited.

Every text message and social media post is a flood of endorphins. You might even have an all-night text session or answer the phone.

They also have such a strong sense of “newness” that they often go on dates and may neglect their friends and hobbies.

At this stage, we have collected a lot of information, and confirmation bias tends to obscure our judgments. We have a lot of feel-good hormones, so we’ll take all the details we’ve learned and help them see what we already know – we’ve got this other I think people really like it!

2. Reality, Red Flags, and Investigations

The second dating stage gives a little more texture and tone to the relationship being formed.

You’re digging beneath the surface of your personality and appearance past butterflies and dopamine rushes at each point of contact.

Don’t mistake the lack of “spark” for failure. It turns out that it is impossible to sustain that excitement for a long period of time, and that it develops into deeper feelings as the relationship progresses.

Some key moments make sure you are in this second stage of dating.

  • you have your first fight
  • The confirmation bias fades and you start to see bright red warnings and minor annoyances.
  • Getting hurt is really scary.
  • You start worrying about whether the person is seeing other people or just dating you.

If “The Spark” is Dating 101, think of this as “Dating 201.” I want to get deep into conversations and lifestyles without scaring them.

At this point, you can cut the bait without taking too many emotional risks, but dive into topics like how many kids you want and how much they will pay so you can choose your future home layout. should also be avoided.

At this stage, you should start setting firm boundaries. This is to discuss topics such as what honesty means to you. For example –

  • Are omissions lies?
  • Want access to each other’s passwords?
  • Can you sleep next to that person and get a good night’s sleep?

Even the smallest things, like sleeping with the TV on and off, can affect your sleep health over the years.

3. Commitment and exclusivity

At this stage, there is a “talk”. You decide if you want to see each other exclusively.

Two young couple talking dating stage in the park

Some generations may view commitment differently than others, so this can also be a consideration of whether you want to remain committed to each other but have an open relationship. I can do it.

Commitments aren’t like mile markers in a marathon that you have to complete at a certain time. Enjoy his first two phases of getting to know someone in different settings.

When you’re ready to commit, you feel comfortable taking your partner to office gatherings, family events, and even the funeral of a loved one.

Commitment is a slippery slope and it’s not easy for both people to reach a ‘couple moment’ at the same time. .

  • you accept the person They’re not trying to “fix” them, nor are they trying to “fix” you.
  • they have been proven to be fair You have disagreements, respect boundaries, and are emotionally open to your needs.
  • you don’t want to date anyone else Ready to delete dating apps. You may feel jealous if you think they are showing too much affection to others.

Other related articles

15 signs you’re ready to move in together

15 Signs of a Toxic Girlfriend

Wondering how many stages of talking should be before dating?

4. Up close and personal

People who rush through the first three stages often skip this step. When a commitment happens, you simply say, “I like this enough to commit to you now.”

During the intimate and personal stage, also known as the intimate stage, you learn everything you may have missed before.

We’re not just talking about physical intimacy. I’m not judging those who become physically intimate along the way. This is the kind of intimacy that finally allows you to “let down your hair” and show yourself as you are.

Exposing all the parts you’ve hidden or protected will not only let your partner see them, but make you feel comfortable doing so.

Examples of this stage include:

  • No more worrying about people seeing you without makeup or in casual clothes.
  • I feel like I can openly and honestly discuss uncomfortable topics. They can do the same as you.
  • You can be vulnerable about past mistakes, insecurities, and less attractive parts of yourself.
  • You and your best friends will trust only them.
  • They see you “crying ugly”.

At this stage, you’ll find that the walls that kept you from getting hurt are broken. You can talk about trauma or discuss intimate fantasies you want to explore.

Boundaries should be held firmly, but if you feel your partner has violated them, you can deal with them openly and without fear.

5. Wear a ring

This stage of dating is traditionally when the marriage proposal is made and the couple begins planning a life together, but those who are not keen on marriage mark this moment by moving in together or having an engagement ceremony. maybe.

By the time you reach this level of commitment, you may use words like “soulmate,” “my person,” and “the love of my life.” We avoid phrases such as , and feel ready to become “ours” in the near future.

This phase should not be reached through guilt, pressure, or ultimatums. If you’re still in the process of manipulating your emotions or playing games, you may still be in steps 2 or 3.

You also need to be well past the “correction” stage and accept the person as they are while supporting your goals and dreams of evolving as a couple.

How long before dating becomes a relationship?

Trying to force a relationship is as impossible as forcing a flower to grow faster. Each couple, each relationship, and each marriage has its own timeline and rate of evolution.

You shouldn’t treat your relationship as a race against time or compared to other couples.

  • First phase probably lasts less than 3 months Because it’s hard to sustain that level of excitement and endorphins for long.
  • The second stage can take weeks, months, or even a year or moreIt depends on the amount of time you spend together, the obstacles you face, and your previous experiences plaguing your new relationship.
  • The commitment phase can occur within 6 months to 1 year. This assumes that both parties want commitment and are working together toward that goal.
  • The intimate stage can occur in parallel with the commitment stage However, it can last for months or even years. Some relationships stall at this stage and are pressured by the desire for more formal commitment.
  • The average time to reach the “Put A Ring On It” phase is two years.Don’t let the word “normal” mean “average.” After two years, if you’re still in a healthy, vibrant, and respectful relationship, you’re not running out of time.

Clarifying the meaning of phrases such as “I want to take it easy” can help both dating partners.

Sweet couple showing affection outside the dating stage

Three months may feel like a long time to commit, but your partner may be saying, “We’re going to have a good year before we even think about exclusivity.”

Opening the door to that conversation also sets a better pattern for transparent conversations and dispute resolution going forward.

final thoughts

You can research statistics and averages as much as you like, but it comes down to your happiness and trusting your intuition.

If you’re staying in a relationship because you’re bored, you want a companionship, or you’re afraid you won’t be able to meet someone else, that’s the wrong reason at any stage.

You can stay on stage as long as you want, despite family pressure and nosy friends. If you wake up feeling happy, appreciated, and supported every day, that’s the best stage.

What Are the Stages of Dating? Read this post to explore the five stages and find out how long you should date before getting into a relationship.

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