Romantic relationships are a journey with many phases that are sure to bring about new experiences and challenges.Whether they seem big or small, accomplishing new feats at any stage in a relationship is worth celebrating.
Reaching a new stage with your partner can indicate progress towards a happy and fulfilling future together.
We've made list of some of the most important relationship milestones and dive into why you should take the time to reflect and appreciate your relationship every step of the way.
Whether this is your very first time meeting someone or you've already known this person, the first date is an opportunity to introduce yourself as a potential romantic partner.
The goal is to start learning more about each other and gain a better sense of their personality. Once you've figured out what to do on the first date, it's important that you make a lasting impression.
Use this is as an opportunity to gauge if the two of you will be compatible and if you actually enjoy their company on a more personal level — but don't overthink it.
Just be yourself, show some enthusiasm, and try to connect with each other over common interests. Be sure to keep the conversation even more interesting by sharing something unique about yourself too. If all goes well, you can look forward to many more dates in the future!
Whether it is on the first date or farther into dating someone, the first kiss can signify a lot of feelings.
We all want to feel head over heels when we first kiss someone. It should be a moment of connection that sets the stage for romantic feelings to develop further.
But, sometimes we can get too in our heads on what the first kiss should feel like and don't stay in the moment when it's happening! Make sure you don't overthink this relationship milestone.
Holding hands for the first time may seem like a simple gesture, but it's actually a big deal! Holding hands in public signifies that you share a connection with this person, and that you are ready for the world to see you as a couple — not just two individuals who are together. This physical bond can have a can have a profound effect on the relationship as you are now translating an emotional connection into a physical one, and other people get to witness it.
Holding hands in public can not only define your relationship status, it can also be a gesture of protection and concern for someone's safety. You may notice that parents hold their kid's hand when crossing the street or walking in large crowds, but couples can do this too. If you're in a crowded area and don't want to lose someone, latching onto their hand — even for a few minutes — makes you inseparable. Holding hands doesn't come natural to everyone, so give hints to your partner that you are open to making physical contact.
Making it official with your partner is a major milestone that marks the beginning of your official relationship.
Relationships are based on loyalty and commitment — not just attraction and emotional stimulation — so this decision will come after considering your current circumstances and future goals. At this point, you should have an understanding of more practical things, like their world views, long-term goals, and if you plan on living the same area or maintaining a long-distance relationship (if you live in different cities).
As you start to become more familiar with each other and express your true feelings, it's important to be upfront and let your partner know what you want out of the relationship. The early stages of dating are all about learning and exploring new things with someone, and you might be so infatuated with them that you put off the discussion about your future together. You may want to date exclusively and work towards a long-term relationship while they could be looking for a fling to explore and meet new people, so be transparent to your partner about what the situation is and be honest about any reservations you may have.
Meeting someone's friends can happen at various points in a relationship. Whether it's going to a party or night out with your romantic partner or a double date with their friend, getting to meet someone's friends can be a relationship milestone to really reflect on.
This means that the other individual(s) in the relationship are excited to have you interact with the people they love and trust. They want to see how their friends interact with you and vice versa.
Meeting family members is an even bigger relationship milestone to celebrate than meeting friends! Usually the first time you meet someone's family is after defining the relationship and it can be a nerve-racking time for everyone in the relationship. You're trying to impress your partner's parents and set a good foundation for the future.
Whether it is meeting their friends or family, put your best foot forward by simply being yourself! Chances are their friends and family will like you!
You've defined the relationship, met some of their friends and family, and are definitely in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. You feel like you understand your partner and have a great relationship with them and see a future together. That's great!
But actually saying "I love you" to someone can feel scary and daunting. Will they say it back? Do they actually mean it?
Instead of thinking about how they'll react, thing about how you truly feel. By saying "I love you" for the first time, you're saying this relationship is worth celebrating and that you're committed for the long haul.
Knowing when to say "I love you" shouldn't be based on how long you've been seeing someone. Every relationship timeline is different and it should be based on how you feel not how much time has passed.
Social media allows us to keep in touch with distant loved ones and to connect with people around the world, so in this day and age, sharing posts with your significant other on social media is a milestone.
There is no definite stage or timeframe to reveal your relationship status or significant other; as you start develop a stronger presence in each other's life, your partner's presence will likely increase on your social media too. While those who are close to you may already know about your romantic relationship, the first post will be somewhat of an informal announcement. It may come as a surprise to some of your friends and followers, so be prepared for a few reactions and questions about your significant other.
Social media posts can say a lot about us, but they don't always reflect the challenges couples can face in real life. Be sure that you and your partner are happy with the photos and personal content that you share online, and only post as much (or as little) as you feel is appropriate by always asking for their consent to post a photo. While your timelines may be filled with other people's idea of relationship goals, you should never rely on social media to measure your own level of happiness and security within the relationship.
Every relationship has conflict — or else it isn't actually a healthy relationship. It's how you handle the conflict that really matters.
Whether it's arguing about something that happened, a miscommunication, or personal beliefs on a subject, make sure that you're always being respectful and listening to your partner(s). The first fight can make or break a new relationship because you've likely been in a honeymoon period up until this point.
Remember, healthy conflict is perfectly normal in every relationship. If you're in it for the long haul, you have learn how your partner feels about different things and build a great relationship together.
Traveling the world together can be a good way to get to know someone. You'll see how they treat other people, deal with stress when things don't go according to plan, and how open they are to trying new things.
Nowadays, many people choose to go on their first trip together early in the relationship to help gauge the other person. Try dipping your toes into the water of traveling together by planning a staycation, quick road trip, or a small weekend getaway.
This is one of the biggest stages of dating because it is a big commitment to the other person. At this point, you should have already met their friends and family, been in your first fight/argument (or maybe even a few!), and hopefully spent some time at each other's places for extended periods to see how the other person really lives day-to-day.
Before moving in together, it's also important to have honest and open conversations about finances, relationship goals, and long-term aspirations. If you haven't talked about these things, it could cause problems down the road. A shared space together is a big deal and shouldn't be taken lightly. But, if you're committed to the relationship, it's a great way to move the relationship forward.
Every relationship is unique and should move at the pace that all partner(s) feel comfortable with. The foundation for a healthy relationship starts with the first date and builds into true love every step of the way.
Building a real life relationship takes work from everyone involved — from understanding their love language(s) to a make-up after a big argument — a great relationship is built on a foundation of respect, trust, and communication.