5 Stages Of Dating That You Can Expect

Last Updated 05.04.2022
8 min read
Taimi

Every dating relationship is different, but in some ways, they are also very similar. Because of this, most people involved in romantic relationships will experience these five stages of dating. In many ways, this is a good thing.

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The early stages of dating can be quite overwhelming. As the relationship progresses, you may question whether you or your dating partner are equally committed, and feel unsure of where things are going. However, if you understand the stages of dating, you can step back to view things objectively. 

Now, this does not mean that every romantic relationship will unfold in precisely the same way. It just means that there is a bit of a framework that informs the evolution of a new relationship. Let's take a deeper look at these five stages, and what you can expect.

First Stage: First Impressions

The first stage of dating happens very early in a relationship. It is marked with feelings of ambivalence and a desire to impress the other person. You might call this the uncertainty stage. Here are some things that you can expect to feel and experience when you and a potential partner are sizing one another up.

  • You feel uncertain of yourself

  • You want to shy just your best side instead of your true self

  • There is a tendency to overanalyze things

Things to Remember During This Dating Phase

Don't let fear make this overwhelming. It can feel like an awkward stage of uncertainty and getting to know one another. However, you can truly enjoy this phase from the first online chat to happily concluding your first date.

First things first. Get your timing right, and shoot your shot! Whether you are on a dating app, or in the club, you have to put yourself out there. Doing something as simple as asking an open-ended question can help kick things, and maybe move things to the next stage.

Here's another helpful tip. Make a real effort. Planning dates is absolutely key. Forget hanging out, try setting up an amazing dating experience. That will definitely set you apart from the crowd. You will also know that you pulled out every stop. No regrets!

Second Stage: The Romance Stage

You've made it past the attraction stage. Things are moving along in a positive direction. However, you are very much in the early stages of dating. Your feelings are strong, and you feel like you could be falling in love with each other.

People often call this the honeymoon phase. You feel infatuated, and that hit of dopamine you get when you see them feels absolutely amazing. In this stage, you may feel as if the other person can do no wrong, and they may feel the exact same way about you.

Keep in mind that not everybody experiences these distinct stages of dating in the same way. You may feel eager to move on to the next stage, or you simply want to take things slowly. Remember that this hesitance doesn't mean that you are not genuinely attracted to somebody. Feel free to continue to enjoy the honeymoon stage.

Things to Keep in Mind During The Honeymoon Phase

The term honeymoon phase has both positive and negative connotations. This is often the stage where physical intimacy is active and loads of fun. You are seeing the best in one another.

On the other hand, there is a potential for toxicity or even abuse in this stage. Be realistic. Follow your gut, and have high expectations for how you are treated, honesty, and emotional intimacy.

Since this is a high intimacy stage, take advantage of that. Enjoy new experiences. This is your chance to discover what you want when it comes to sexual relationships. Even if things don't work out in the end, you may as well enjoy the intimacy stage.

Third Stage: Welcome to Reality

This sounds a bit dire, but it doesn't have to be. However, just like any other relationship stage, you have to navigate what often happens when the blinders come off and things get real. Yes, this is often the time when relationship problems crop up, but that doesn't mean that things are doomed. This is also a stage where you get to know one another on a deeper level.

Here is the bad news. This is where red flags crop up. If you have compatibility issues, they will become quite clear. You might experience issues with communication, power struggles, and those once cute behaviors will suddenly become more than a little aggravating.

Is a breakup looming? Not always. Think of it this way. This is the relationship stage where people do tend to end things. However, many people experiencing this stage realize they have something worth fighting for. You and your new romantic partner may come out on the other side in a committed and exclusive relationship.

Still, you want to be sure you are with the right person. Are your values similar enough that you are compatible? Do you have the same vision when it comes to the future of your relationship? Can you each respect and celebrate the other's differences? Have these tough conversations. Shared values are so important, and so is open communication. You can't form a relationship only on the information you share on dating apps or during your first few dates.

Things to Know During This Stage of Romantic Relationships

Your relationship will truly hinge on your ability to communicate your needs to the other person. Remember that disagreements and difficult times don't mean the end of your relationship. In fact, if you and your partner can work through them and develop a good understanding of one another, your relationship may be stronger for it. Say what you mean, express your needs, and show empathy. If you have great conflict management skills, this could turn into an exclusive relationship.

Also, slow down! Don't rush into a lifetime commitment. Every stage of a relationship is there for a reason. Take it slow, and allow your romantic love to develop naturally. Continue to get to know the other person while you enjoy your romantic journey. Get to know your common interests, and truly explore one another as partners.

Fourth Stage: Relationship Intimacy

At this point, you have certainly been through it, and so has the other person. The good news is that you are moving into a true comfort zone. You have moved past the stages of a relationship that are often rife with uncertainty, drama, passion, and conflict. Now, it is clear that you have something special with this person.

During this stage, it isn't unusual to spend hours together. You may meet one another's family. There are other signs of trust and closeness as well. For example, you may share intimate secrets or information on past traumas. You feel genuine love for this person, concern for their wellbeing, and likely a commitment to making your relationship work. You may not be totally ready for a lifelong commitment, but you are starting to think that you have found your person. Yes, your friends have probably noticed the changes in your relationship as well.

Things You And Your Partner Should Know

Your relationship is beautiful and important, but you are also. Don't get so caught up in any relationship that you lose yourself. Spend time alone and with your friends. Pursue your own interests. A healthy romantic relationship should be made of two interesting people, not a couple! Don't give up things that are important to you. Otherwise, you will simply resent one another before you get to the next stage of your relationship.

The Final Stage: A Committed Relationship

This is the final stage, but in this case, that is a good thing. Congratulations! You deserve a Master's degree in the art of making a relationship work. You have made it through the stages of a relationship, you should feel really good about yourself.

This is the time of the relationship when you make things official by calling each other partners, lovers, boyfriend and girlfriend, or other terms that show you are committed partners.

Chances are, you have had a deep and meaningful conversation to solidify your commitment to one another. There is so much more to this than being Facebook official. Use this time to unpack any issues that could get into the way of your future happiness.

Enjoy this new stage with your partner, but remember it takes hard work to get to this point. You will also have to make an effort to sustain your relationship and maintain a sense of ongoing love and dedication. Remember that you will both evolve, and your relationship must be nurtured. Fortunately, you have already proven that you can make it through some of the toughest stages of a relationship.

What You Need to Know Now And in The Long Run

Continue to emphasize communication. Enjoy that you are comfortable with one another, but keep up the romance. Date one another! Talk about the things that are important to you. Make plans! Commit to navigating challenges together. Learn to fall in love with one another at every stage of your relationship journey.

There is no Exclusive Relationship Template

These stages are just a guideline. You may experience some of them in very different ways. Some you may feel as if you barely went through them at all. This is simply a bit of a guide that outlines what many people experience when they begin a relationship with a new person, then see that through to commitment or the end of the relationship.

Hopefully, this information provides you with some comfort. As you navigate challenges in a relationship, it can bring a sense of security to know you are experiencing something that is totally normal. This helps many people to validate their emotions and motivates them to work through relationship challenges, even when that means ending a romance with the person they were once in love with. Yes, sometimes the best decision is the one where you realize there are too many differences to overcome.

What About You?

Which relationship stage are you in? Do you have a favorite stage in the life of a relationship? What are the most difficult challenges for you to overcome when you begin a great new relationship? How do you decide that it is worth fighting for a romantic partnership?

Hopefully, all of this information was helpful and informative. It may benefit your partners as well if you are better able to understand the emotions you feel, and decisions you happen to make as the result of these emotions. It's great to fall in love, but it is even more important to date and form partnerships in healthy and sustainable ways.

If you are interested in long-term dating or even starting a family, keep this guide in mind. You will be less likely to panic if things get a little weird. That will empower you to deal with things in a healthy and sustainable manner.


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