Coming up with a good conversation starter is a great
Author: Ruth Jesse
Ruth is a life coach who specialises in finance, relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.
Coming up with a good conversation starter is a great
Marriage is a sacred bond that we all as humans
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Dating can be nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. You get butterflies in your stomach when you see that special someone, your mouth dries up, and your palms are sweaty.
One would give anything to remain in that euphoric state that is dating. But unfortunately, you can’t date forever-eventually you are gonna have to define what you mean to each other.
Will you also be dating exclusively? And what long-term goals would you want to achieve? Such as do you want to get married and have kids? Or how many dates should you go before making it exclusive?
It all comes down to how you define things before making your relationship official.
If you have been seeing someone for some time and find yourself questioning when you can start calling each other boyfriend-girlfriend, you’re not alone.
Table of Contents
Below, we are going to mention the five stages of dating so you can assess where you and your partner are at the moment, and most importantly, whether your relationship has what it takes to weather the storms of a long-term commitment.
This is the first stage of dating and is where you feel a deep sense of attraction and desire for your partner.
That element of magnetism is crucial because it determines whether your relationship will develop into something romantic.
At this stage, the first date feels so exciting and fresh. The flowers are bright, and there are rainbows, and butterflies everywhere.
This honeymoon phase gets past the second date and often lasts a few months. It is characterized by constant communication through texting, long phone calls, and video calls. You also want to see more of each other, so you plan for lots of dates.
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At the end of the honeymoon stage, reality hits and you start to notice the flaws and weak points of your partner that annoy you.
This stage can last up to six months, and it doesn’t mean that you don’t like or love each other. It just means that a dose of realism is kicking into your relationship, and you become more aware of your partner’s traits.
Many relationships end at this stage, but if you make it past it, for example through honest communication, then it’s a great sign of more to come. You then become an official couple.
After making a relationship official, you then pay allegiance to each other through dating exclusively and being faithful. You can also learn to accept your partner’s flaws and see if you make a good match long-term.
With commitment and understanding comes accepting each other’s aspirations, goals, needs, and desires in life. It includes discussing plans and helping each other to attain career goals.
After a year or so comes the closeness or intimacy stage where you nurture the true love you have established.
When two people develop a connection and become exclusive, they bond with each other on a deeper level, and that’s when true love begins.
This stage involves letting your guard down, and opening up to one another. You also learn each other’s past, innate feelings and see each other’s true character.
The last stage is where you experience blissful love. You get engaged, make things official, and ultimately decide to plan your lifelong commitment to each other.
This phase is not a bed of roses. You will go through ups and downs but have to keep believing that your love is significant enough to endure it all.
It’s also important to apologize and forgive each other when things go wrong and most of all, not let other people dictate your relationship.
In reality, the process of falling in love is much different from the notion presented in romantic comedy movies.
It is complicated and consists of mixed signals and emotions ranging from jittery to stability.
Let’s have a look at the five stages of falling in love:
Specifically, we call this “happy anxiety”. And there is nothing better than that feeling of restlessness you get when you’re crushing on someone.
This obsessive thinking about someone new you’re falling for is what we describe as butterflies and happens in the early stages of an emotional connection.
You not only can’t get the other person out of your mind, but you want to be your best self as well so that you can win them over.
Thank the influx of estrogen and testosterone hormones for the intensive desire we feel during this stage.
At this stage, the “happiness chemical” consisting of the neurochemicals adrenaline and dopamine takes over. As a result, you feel happy, and your heart beats faster, thus creating the hormone serotonin.
You try to learn all you can about each other by arranging many dates. You’re collecting as much Intel about your crush to back up the feelings you have for them to see whether you are on the same page.
This is where meeting your special someone’s friends and family comes in.
Now you find out if this individual is a jigsaw fit into your life. You apply all the info you’ve gained about them into your way of living and your personality.
Just a few dates is enough for you to figure out if your values and ideologies rhyme or clash. Do you have similar boundaries and religious beliefs?
This phase is crucial for assessing whether you will last as a couple after the infatuation ceases and if you are on the same page.
There is no other way to accomplish this phase than to open yourself up and be vulnerable, aka have the relationship talk!
This stage is highly critical as it makes or breaks your relationship. If your crush truly accepts you for who you are and you can reciprocate the sentiment, you’re one step closer to true love and an official relationship.
After some time of getting to know each other, your relationship status is more stable and you’ll deviate from intense infatuation and get more comfortable being yourself around them.
The hormone that plays a key role in this phase is oxytocin. It supports the formation of bonds between men and women after orgasm.
Another primary player hormone is vasopressin that heightens the brain’s bonding sections as well and promotes emotional intimacy.
So, if you’ve made it this far with your partner, bring on the Netflix and Chill Friday nights and snuggle in your jammies!
However, if you’ve been together for years doesn’t mean a special experience can’t make you drift back to stage one (anxiety).
Make it your goal to schedule night-outs and trips that help you relive the other stages rather than always hanging out in your comfort zone.
Variety and spontaneity is the spice of life- it gets rid of boredom and fosters your relationship.
They may invite you to a wedding that’s a year from now or share about their plans to tour Europe in the future. Some even mention their retirement plans.
When your partner shares things that won’t be happening any time soon, it’s a big indicator that they’re hoping for a committed relationship with you.
One super sign that your partner wants more than a casual hook-up is that they might seem restless like they’re not fully satisfied.
Even though you are happy with your current situation, your partner’s subtle pressure could be a huge hint about their needs.
If you are satisfied with seeing your partner only once a week, but they are angling for more, that could be a hint.
A big-time hint is they want to spend every day with you- they’re trying to attain the security of the commitment level in your relationship.
They might be afraid to say out loud that they are looking for more, so instead, they slot in more time with you, hoping that the commitment phase will naturally set in.
One way to see whether your partner wants a committed relationship is they try to bait you with an idea just to see how you’ll react.
For example, they may bring up their friend or relative who recently got married or became exclusive in their relationship to see what you will comment.
In mentioning the commitment of others, your partner hopes to make you think in the same manner.
Sometimes the hints could be in the form of indirect communication, such as little jokes that you should go through properly listings or cute comments like “what would it be like if we were living together?”
If you get one indirect comment, take note and see whether they relay something else in the lines of exclusivity.
Don’t feel pressured or rushed into a committed relationship if you aren’t ready. It’s important to discuss with your partner to clarify their hints and chat the way forward.
The 3-date rule is a dating mechanism that requires both parties to abstain from sexual activity until at least the third date.
After the 3-date, the couple can have intercourse without fear of being neglected or considered promiscuous.
The 3rd date rule holds more significance for women than men, with women who don’t follow it being judged and criticized. Also, men who don’t conform to this regulation are often labeled as womanizers.
While the 3-date rule is an acceptable form of dating, there is no proof to suggest that it should be followed. The time length you wait to advance your relationship is totally up to you and your partner.
The fact is that there is no agreed-upon number of dates before making your relationship official. No two relationships are the same.
It all depends on what feels right for you and your partner.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to how many dates you should go on before you get serious.
The first is the number of dates you go on depends on the kind of person you are seeing and the chemistry you have for each other.
The second is you must go on five dates before going further with your relationship. The 5-date rule prevents you from getting hurt when you fall for someone who doesn’t reciprocate your feelings.
The dating rule also prevents you from having sex with someone who doesn’t want to commit to you.
Roughly, two months of dating is enough time for you to broach the subject. However, every relationship varies. So if it feels right for you, go for it whether you’ve dated for a month or a year.
So the answer is very subjective – there is no ultimate answer.
Say you go on one date every week; you will have to go for 10 to 12 dates before deciding to become an exclusive couple.
If your schedules allow you to see each other more than once a week, that means it could take 24 dates before becoming exclusive.
But, increased dating frequency already indicates coupling, and you are likely to be exclusive at a certain point.
Generally, there is no universal rule for a specific number of dates people should go on before progressing from dating to being a couple.
It is more important to have direct communication right from the beginning of a relationship, instead of being overly focused on the specific number of dates before becoming a couple.
In any healthy relationship, there’s a need to progress forward, not backward. So, if you are dating someone, you need to see the dating relationship advance and show consistency.
If those signs are missing, then saying that you are in a relationship is not valid. You’re in a situation.
There are no hard and fast guidelines as to how many dates one should go on before a relationship, but rather one should be present and feel how the current is flowing.
If you both like each other, and there is chemistry, you will both know when you’re ready to commit to each other and be in a relationship.
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Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.
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