The Different Stages Of A Relationship: Are You Ready To Level Up?

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When is the right time to say "I love you"? What about moving in together? Getting a pet? Having a child? Find out here.

All relationships are different, and proceed at their own paces. Some couple end up engaged after only two months of dating, while others date for two years with no plans of getting hitched at all. But most people do adhere to a pattern, one that we can plot as stages of a relationship by month.

Dating platform Match.com conducted a survey to find the average time it takes for couples to reach certain relationship milestones. Here's what they found.

Stages of a relationship by month *

First date

Kiss for the first time

1-2 weeks

Hold hands

Sleep together (But not stay the night)

Within a month

Get undressed with the lights off

Introduce them to your best friend

3 months

See them without any makeup

Call each other boyfriend/girlfriend

4 months

Say "I love you".

5 months

Update relationship status on social media

Have your first argument

Reveal an imperfection

6 months

Introduce them to your parents

7 months

Leave a toothbrush at their house

Be given a drawer in their home for your stuff

Go for a night away together

9 months

Go on a holiday together

1 year

Have a conversation about the future

2 years

Get engaged

2.5 years

Get a pet

3 years

Buy a home together

3.5 years

Get married

4 years

Have a child

*A caveat: This study on stages of a relationship by month was conducted on 2,000 Brits, and dating behaviours vary from culture to culture.

Where are you in your relationship?

stages of a relationship by month

Though it's interesting to see how most people conduct their relationships, if you're worried that your relationship is going too fast or too slow, you shouldn't compare yourself to others. Again, each couple is different. And dating isn't a competitive sport, so comparing yourself with others will get you nowhere.

Some couples meet as strangers, while others start off as being friends for a long time before they pursue a romantic relationship. A couple who starts their relationship at 18 will have vastly different priorities than a couple who starts dating at 25, 30, and so forth.

If you're concerned about the pace of your relationship, you can get the advice of people you know will give you good, sound advice — like your parents, or maybe older married friends. However, the smartest thing to do is to communicate this with your partner. Need to slow down? Tell him/her. Think your relationship needs more direction? Talk to him/her about it and come up with a game plan. You're in this together.

You and your partner might have vastly different timelines in mind. Perhaps you're ready to settle down, but he isn't. Or maybe it's the other way round. Maybe one person wants kids, but the other doesn't. In cases like these, resist taking the easy way out and sweeping things under the rug. Maybe you or your partner just need more time, but when it's clear that you need to reevaluate your relationship, just bite the bullet. Even though you love each other, you might be better off as friends if you're holding each other back from your bigger goals.