How many dates before a relationship? Here’s what you need to know

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Have you ever been dating someone and found yourself wondering when you could start calling it a relationship? You’re not alone.

This is something both men and women wonder about, especially when asked by friends and family about their relationship status.

After all, if you have been on 3 or 4 dates, are you technically allowed to be seeing someone else without being in violation of some relationship rule that you think is unspoken?

Good question.

So, how many dates before calling your relationship a relationship?

Follow the 10 date rule.

Image credit: Shutterstock – By View Apart

If you are wondering how many dates you need to go on with someone to classify the relationship as such, it’s about ten dates.

This isn’t just arbitrary number though. There’s some science behind it. Let’s consider the facts.

Based on the fact (or hope!) that you and your love interest are both working full-time jobs, it’s likely that you won’t be able to get out for a date until the weekends, right?

That means that you will likely only see each other once a week to start. By that math, you are looking at about three months of dating someone before you can call it a relationship!

That seems like a really long time.

Let’s say, then, that perhaps you have ramped up your dating because you are definitely interested in pursuing a relationship with this person.

Let’s be generous and say you are dating this person twice a week. That’s still a month and a half!

If you are seeing someone else at this point, it might be advisable to stop and decide which avenue you want to continue to pursue.

Five weeks of someone’s time is a lot of time to “waste” if things aren’t working out. But if you are seriously thinking that this could be a relationship you want to be in, then there’s no rush anyway, right?

Ten dates is a good number because it gives you plenty of time to do different things, see people in a different setting or number of different settings, perhaps you’ve been to each other’s homes, and even met some family members.

If it’s been a struggle to get those ten dates under your belt for anything other than scheduling conflicts, it’s probably not worth pursuing. You’ve heard of the book-made-movie “He’s Just Not That Into You,” right?

It’s a real thing and it works both ways: Men and women alike skip out on things all the time because they don’t want to make others feel bad.

But what do those dates have to do with whether or not you’ll actually be in a relationship at the end of the ten dates?

happy couple
Image credit: Shutterstock – By Peter Berni

Well, there are a number of things you can consider during the ten or so dates you engage in.

For example, if your dates are always on the couch watching Netflix binges, you probably might want to reconsider that relationship before it ever gets going.

If, of course, you like being in on a Saturday night, then all the power to you.

Other things to consider include whether or not you’ve met his/her friends and how they acted around their friends.

Are they totally different or are they just themselves and you fit into the group well?

Has your partner been keeping up regularly between dates or does he or she just call the day off and expect you to be available?

That might be a sign of things to come so consider that you might not want to be at someone’s beck and call in a relationship. Those days are over.

Pay attention to the language of the relationship, or potential relationship.

Does your partner include you in their plans, do they use “we” language or do they continually refer to the amazing life they are going to lead…without you by their side.

Does your partner ask about your life and seem interested in what you do and like to spend your time doing?

Do they get angry for you when your boss is being a tool or do they feel sad when you’re not happy?

All of these things can go a long way to helping people realize that they may not want to be in a relationship with someone, even if they make it passed the 10-date rule.

And when you both decide that moving forward in a relationship is what is right for you, don’t put a lot of pressure on the situation.

If you are happy just hooking up or being together when the mood strikes you, that is okay too.

And if you decide that you aren’t happy after 11 dates, well that’s just life. You can move on at any time.

The great thing about relationships is that they evolve overtime and so do the people in them.

If you find your relationship is getting stale and you are bored, think back to your ten dates and ask yourself if you felt that way before?

It might help you avoid making the same mistake again in your next relationship!

(Related: Do you know the strangest thing men desire? And how it can make him crazy for you? Check out my new article to find out what it is).

So, how do you have the “relationship talk?”

For many women, they want to be dating someone for at least 12 weeks before deciding on whether or not they want to be in a relationship with that person. And it goes both ways, of course.

However, just because one party is ready for the talk doesn’t mean that both people are.

Many men say they can tell if they want to spend more time with someone after just a few dates, so there’s no need to prolong the conversation any longer than that.

If things are working, they are working, and they are not likely to stop working just because you put a label on your situation.

How should you go about bringing up talking about being in a relationship with someone?

This is alarming for some people and can be a great source of anxiety for those who have been rejected by people in the past.

If you are thinking about having the talk with your significant other then it’s important to psych yourself up for the possibility that they might not feel the same way that you do, but more often than not, if you have gotten this far in your “relationship”, you are probably betting on a sure thing.

You don’t have to be awkward about it, just bring it up over dinner or when you are just hanging out watching Netflix.

Take the pressure off yourself right away to bring up the “talk” in a majestic way. Just say what you feel and be honest about what you want and need in a relationship.

What will happen when you decide to be in a “relationship.”

The third thing that people want to know is what changes after you cross over into relationship territory.

If you’ve been dating for any length of time and hanging out regularly, then you can expect that not much is going to change.

If, however, you decide that you are going to go all in and move in together or exchange keys, then there are additional conversations to be had with one another.

But if you keep it light and tackle one conversation at a time, nobody will feel overwhelmed, and things will go a lot smoother.

What will change? Well, for starters, something deep inside a man will be triggered when he enters into a relationship with a woman.

When a man’s in a relationship, he wants to stand up and provide for and protect his partner and ensure her overall wellbeing. This isn’t some old fashioned notion of chivalry but a real biological instinct…

There’s a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology that’s generating a lot of buzz at the moment. People are calling it the hero instinct.

Simply put, men want to be your hero. It’s a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about. And it’s a desire that goes beyond even love or sex.

The kicker is that if you don’t let him stand up like this, he will stay lukewarm towards you and eventually seek out someone who does.

The hero instinct is a legitimate concept in psychology that I personally believe has a lot of truth to it.

Let’s face it: Men and women are different. So, trying to treat your man like one of your friends is not going to work.

Deep inside, we crave different things…

Just like women generally have the urge to nurture those they really care about, men have the urge to provide and protect.

If you want to learn more about the hero instinct, check out this free video by relationship psychologist James Bauer. He offers several unique tips for triggering the hero instinct in your man.

Not everyone enters into a relationship thinking about it ending

That’s a terrible way to start your relationships, but before you bring up the idea of being together officially, be sure that it is what you want.

Are you getting enough out of the arrangement now? Do you need more? What is it specifically that you think will change or be better if you are an official couple?

Do you feel like you need to justify your situation to others with a label or could you just carry on doing what you are doing and be happy about it?

Sometimes the pressure to have the talk about being in a relationship doesn’t come from a placing of actually wanting to be in a relationship, it comes from the social pressures we internally believe and carry with us, and we feel like we need to meet a certain standard in our love life; namely, being attached to someone.

So do your due diligence in your own mind before you bring up the conversation in the first place. You might be perfectly happy the way you are, and there’s no need to go changing things just for the sake of changing them.

What happens next?

After writing about relationships on Hack Spirit for many years, I think there is one crucial ingredient to relationship success that many women overlook:

Understanding how men think.

Getting your guy to open up and tell you what he’s really feeling can feel like an impossible task. And this can make building a loving relationship extremely difficult.

Let’s face it: Men see the world differently to you.

And this can make a deep passionate romantic relationship—something that men actually want deep down as well—difficult to achieve.

In my experience, the missing link in any relationship is never sex, communication or romantic dates. All these things are important, but they are rarely deal breakers when it comes to the success of a relationship.

The missing link is that you actually have to understand what men need from a relationship.

Relationship psychologist James Bauer’s new video will help you to really understand what makes men tick. He reveals the little known natural biological instinct that motivates men in romantic relationships and how you can actually trigger it in your guy.

You can watch the video here.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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