So you’re dating someone for a while now, and you’re probably feeling a little more comfortable being with them.
By then, you may feel eager to make things official between the two of you.
But, how many dates does it take before you can call your relationship exclusive and official?
Let’s find out.
Dr. Michael Carollo, Psy.D.
Psychotherapist | Relationship Expert, Catalyst, LLC
There is no universally agreed-upon average number of dates for when two people progress from “dating” to being a “couple”
One of the reasons for this is that how we understand and go about establishing a romantic partnership is generally a highly personalized process.
For example, what it means to even be “a couple” can vary considerably between two people. Ultimately, the establishment of a committed romantic relationship is about two people navigating and confronting these differences together.
This difficulty in understanding is often heightened by the fact that when using online dating platforms and communicating via text messages, we lack the non-verbal cues found in face-to-face discussions. In order to avoid confusion, it is crucial that each person be clear and direct during the transition from “non-committed dating” to being a “committed couple.”
Since healthy romantic partnerships involve (at least) two willing participants, the first, and most crucial, “joint-decision” a couple will make is the decision to establish the partnership.
Doing so in a clear and direct manner will help forge the habit of making future joint decisions using the same healthy communication strategies.
Ultimately, it is generally more important to establish direct communication right from the start of a relationship, rather than be overly focused on the specific number of dates a couple has been on.
Dating Expert, Dating Scout
Give it a month
It’s quite easy to fall for the butterflies in your stomach whenever you meet someone new. So, if you’re looking to make the relationship last, give it some time. A month of meeting each other may be good enough so you can distinguish the butterflies from the spark.
In 30-days, you’re probably going to fit around six dates—enough to get to know and decide if you suit each other.
After the date, where they talk about wanting a relationship
The moment your date starts talking about wanting a serious relationship is one of the definite go signals to look out for. This can happen on the second, third, or fourth date–this varies for every person. Just to be safe, don’t jump into it immediately even after it happens on the first date.
Confession time (for long-time friends)
If you already know each other for a long time, the moment you confess your feelings to each other can be the cue that you already are a couple. But of course, before assuming, make it clear for both of you first to avoid any complications.
Behavioral Relationship Expert | Podcast Host, Deal With It!
This always seems to be a “rule” people look to follow.
There is no number – none
The reason being is that if you are both “open”, meaning emotionally available, it won’t make a difference how many dates there are when it comes to deciding to be a couple.
There are a couple of things which are very clear. The first beyond the “openness” is the common desire to be in a relationship. Often, we think because we feel a certain way the other person should feel that way too. It is not always the case.
In fact, people who believe or want to believe there is hope the other person is as interested as they are will hide their real feelings and count the dates that take place hoping the other person will be more ready as time passes. They may wait months or years before or “to see if” the other person commits to a relationship.
Again, it doesn’t matter the amount, it matters about the availability and the desire to be in a healthy relationship.
In many healthy relationships, there is a desire to go forward not backward. So, if someone is dating you, you need to see the dating relationship progress and show consistency. If those are missing then saying the words “I am in a relationship” is not true. You are in a situation-ship.
Commitment is both feet in when you date someone who is interested in you. This is communicated and shown by their commitment whether it is 1 date or 10 dates. It’s all about showing up and allowing the progress to take place naturally.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC
Certified Imago Therapist | Co-founder, The Marriage Restoration Project
The question as to how many dates one needs to have before becoming a couple is rather subjective
There are a lot of factors involved, including the purpose of dating, the nature of the relationship, etc… If you are specifically dating for marriage or to have a serious relationship, it may take fewer dates before you commit to marriage, but more dates than someone casually dating to become “boyfriend and girlfriend.”
There are no hard and fast rules; rather one should be present and feel how things are going.
If you both like each other, and there is chemistry, you will both know when you are ready to become a couple.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between being in an exclusive relationship and a committed relationship?
Yes. Being exclusive usually means that you and your romantic partner have agreed not to see other people and to focus on building a relationship with each other.
However, it does not necessarily mean that you are in a committed relationship, as you may still be in the process of getting to know each other and deciding if you want to enter into a long-term relationship.
On the other hand, a committed relationship usually means a higher level of emotional commitment and a mutual understanding of expectations and boundaries.
This often includes a clear agreement on a monogamous relationship and a commitment to work through challenges and build a healthy relationship.
How do you know if you are ready to become a couple?
Knowing if you are ready to become a couple varies from person to person. Some signs that you are ready to become a couple include:
– You feel a strong emotional connection to the person.
– You have had meaningful conversations about your expectations and values.
– You feel comfortable and safe around the person.
– You have spent enough time getting to know each other and have built a foundation of trust and mutual understanding.
– You are excited about the idea of entering into a committed relationship with this person.
– You have a compatible lifestyle and are able to spend time together regularly.
– You have common goals and interests.
– You feel comfortable communicating openly and honestly with each other.
– You feel respected and valued by your partner.
– You have overcome challenges together and have a history of supporting each other.
How do you deal with cultural differences when deciding when to become a couple?
Cultural differences can play an important role in dating and relationships, as different cultures may have different expectations and values about commitment, dating, and marriage. Below are some tips:
Learn about each other’s cultural background: Take the time to understand each other’s cultural background and the values that may be important to each of you.
Have open and honest conversations: Talk openly and honestly with the other person about your expectations and your ideas about a relationship. This will help ensure that you’re both on the same page and can navigate any cultural differences.
Be respectful: Be respectful of each other’s cultural differences and perspectives and avoid assumptions or judgments based on cultural stereotypes.
Find common ground: Look for ways to find common ground and build a solid foundation for the relationship, despite any cultural differences that may exist.
Get support: If you’re having difficulty coping with cultural differences, seek support from a relationship counselor or other professional who can help you work through any challenges and build a strong and healthy relationship.
Can the dynamics of a relationship change when you become a couple?
Yes, when you become a couple, the dynamics of the relationship can change because you’re more committed and have higher expectations.
When you become a couple, you’re essentially agreeing to be in a committed relationship with each other, which can mean a higher level of emotional investment, time, and effort.
Below are some examples:
Greater expectations: When you become a couple, there may be greater expectations in terms of communication, exclusivity, and building a future together.
Greater emotional investment: Becoming a couple may also mean a greater emotional investment in the relationship, as you may feel more connected and committed to the other person.
More time together: A committed relationship can also mean spending more time together and sharing more experiences with each other, which can be both positive and challenging.
New challenges: Becoming a couple can also bring new challenges, such as managing disagreements and meeting expectations.
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