3 months is a milestone in any relationship.
It’s usually around that time where you reach what I like to call, the “fish or cut bait” stage. Aka, are you sticking around and committing, or are you cutting your losses and moving on.
This usually happens a few months in because it’s when you start to really get to know each other on a different level. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
This article will reveal exactly what to expect when your relationship passes 3 months.
How do relationships change after 3 months?
1) The rose-tinted glasses come off
Up until now, your other half could do no wrong. Even their flaws you saw as “quirks”.
The reality is that in the very early stage of dating and relationships we have a tendency to project onto our partner.
Fuelled by a strong attraction, they are a vision of what we want them to be. It helps that both of you are usually on your best behavior too.
But as we see each other more, we start to see more of the real person.
That’s not a bad thing. It’s what also helps bond you. But it means we may start to slowly stop seeing them as some kind of God or Goddess and notice that they are a normal human being, just like the rest of us.
So don’t be surprised if those cute “quirks” all of a sudden start to irritate you. Or you no longer are prepared to overlook behavior that you don’t really like.
2) You start to bicker and argue
It’s no surprise that arguing 3 months into a relationship is far more likely than after 3 dates.
After 3 months, you’re still getting to know each other, so there’s a lot more room for misunderstanding.
But since you’ve been together for a while, you have also begun to let your guard down. You didn’t want to rock the boat in the beginning, for fear of scaring them off.
On the plus side, bickering more is a sign of feeling more comfortable and secure in the relationship.
You need to learn to communicate effectively with one another. And sometimes, even if you try to talk things through reasonably and calmly, it won’t always go to plan.
Conflict is normal in any relationship. In fact, it’s all part of the process of figuring out who you are together.
But constant arguing after 3 months is a red flag. In this case, you probably need to take a step back and reevaluate whether you two are compatible.
If you find yourself arguing more and more often, if it’s not something you can fix, it doesn’t bode well for the future.
3) You’re more yourself around each other
The very early stages of a relationship can almost feel like the probationary period for a new job.
It’s not that you’re not yourself, but you tend to be the most polished version. After all, you want to impress. You don’t want to get fired.
But once you feel more confident in your role, you start to show more of your unique character. The same goes for relationships 3 months in.
You become less concerned with impressing your partner and more concerned with showing them who you truly are.
Even when it’s not a conscious decision, it happens naturally. We start to see the real person a few months in because keeping up any pretense is too much effort.
That’s also why plenty of relationships fall apart around the 3-month mark because you don’t always like what you see.
For better and worse, 3 months in we’re far more our true selves around a partner.
4) You learn more private and intimate details
Funnily enough, you didn’t mention on your first date that you wet the bed up until the age of 11.
The embarrassing moments, our deepest secrets, and most intimate moments are something that we only reveal to the people who have earned our trust.
As your connection grows, a few months into the relationship is when you begin sharing these things.
You start to open up a little bit more. Being vulnerable isn’t easy, but it’s an important part of building a healthy relationship.
Sharing secrets, those life-changing events, and your true emotions with one another is what makes what you have start to feel real.
It is what takes you from the shallows of dating, to the depths of a real relationship.
5) The sex becomes more connected
Maybe your sex life was pure fire from the very beginning, but for a lot of couples, it takes time to find their rhythm together.
You have to learn about one another bodies and personal preferences in the bedroom. But sex in the early stages is often more physical.
The closer you become the balance starts to shift and you will probably experience way more of an emotional connection with your partner through sex. For some people, this may happen far sooner than 3 months in.
Oxytocin (known as the love hormone) is released during sex, which researchers say has been proven to strengthen social bonds in other mammals.
So even though you’re still learning how to communicate in the bedroom, you’ll likely be feeling more bonded by the end of month three.
6) You’re no longer at it like rabbits
Maybe you’re still in that phase when you just can’t keep your hands off each other. But at some point in a relationship, the highly charged sexual energy does start to fade.
According to a survey by online doctor service DrEd, “more than half of couples who have been together for longer than six months experienced a decrease in sex frequency.”
A lot of couples have sex in the early stages of a relationship as though it’s a resource that is running out. They take every opportunity to jump into bed.
As you start to have more regular sex, that urge usually dies down.
Other things in life and the relationship may start to take priority too. You no longer feel inclined to stay up all night making love, when you’ve got an early start in the morning.
But the good news is that even if the passion does start to decrease, 3 months in your sex drive is unlikely to disappear completely.
Plus, a reduction in sex isn’t always a bad thing. It’s often reflective of your partnership progressing onto the next stage of bonding. One that focuses on an emotional as well as physical tie.
7) Feelings get stronger
Many couples a few months in will start to experience the early attachment stage of a relationship.
As you begin to fall in love, your connection feels more cemented and emotions are heightened. Attachment is a vital part of any relationship making it past 3 months and beyond.
Attachment is the biggest factor in creating long-term relationships. It’s where you create a firm foundation based on friendship rather than just lust and attraction.
The attachment you start to feel tends to be spurred on by a rush of chemicals — which according to scientists is largely oxytocin and vasopressin. The main purpose of both being released by your body is to create bonding.
If you haven’t already, you can expect to catch some serious feelings around the 3-month mark in a relationship.
8) Freaking out over commitment
Getting closer in the relationship isn’t always entirely smooth sailing.
Up until now, you may have been coasting along, enjoying the moment and thinking little about the future.
All of a sudden after a few months together it feels like you can’t avoid those bigger questions like “what is this?” and “where is it going?”. Whilst that can feel exciting, it can also feel like a lot of pressure.
It feels like this person suddenly has the potential to hurt you. Which can leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable.
It’s perfectly normal to have a little panic about commitment, or even question whether you want this.
Of course, these feelings should be more fleeting. If they linger too long, then you might start to wonder if you’re not ready for the commitment of the relationship.
9) You can relax
Some people love dating life. They enjoy those anxious butterflies and the excitement that comes with hearing from your crush.
But it’s not all rainbows. It can also be a pretty nerve-wracking and uncertain time too.
Not hearing from your beau for a couple of days after your first date sends you into a paranoid panic over if they want to see you again.
You are on a heightened state of alert looking for any pitfalls, red flags, or problems that might pop up and burst your little love bubble.
A few months in is when you can start to exhale. You can stop worrying so much about everything that could go wrong.
You feel more confident about your partner’s feelings for you. You feel more secure in the relationship and safer in the knowledge it seems to be heading somewhere more serious.
10) You make it official
Dating is like shopping. We tend to want to try before we buy.
Sure, we like what we see, but we also want to make sure it’s a good fit before we make things more permanent.
Is dating for 3 months serious? For many people yes. Because after a few months of dating, you’re usually ready to make your purchase — and that means making it official.
By 3 months in, you’ve probably confirmed that you are exclusive. The dating apps have been deleted. You’re not seeing other people.
Not everyone has a proper chat to confirm they are an “official” couple, it’s just assumed (largely because you spend every waking moment together).
But whether you need to have the exclusivity talk or not, important questions to ask after dating for 3 months involve how you see your future together.
It’s a good idea to check in and see where you both see this going. Do you want the same things? Do you share the same relationship goals?
Ignoring important values and beliefs over relationships in the earlier stages will come back and bite you in the ass later on.
11) Fewer dates and more Netflix
Romance doesn’t need to die completely, but our definition of a good time might change a few months into a relationship.
Perhaps you pulled out all the stops to impress in the early days. You had romantic dinners, picnics in the park, rooftop bar cocktails at sunset.
It’s not just hard on your wallet to sustain the thrill of the early dates. Most of us actually enjoy the slower pace of relationship life.
3 months into a relationship you’re snuggling on the couch on a Friday night and ordering pizza. But you wouldn’t want it any other way.
These cozy evenings and more humble ways of spending time together reflect that you don’t need glitz and glamour to enjoy each other’s company.
Basically being with each other feels enough, without needing to do anything in particular.
12) You become more integrated into each other’s lives
The early stages of dating are usually pretty solo. You spend time together as a couple on your own whilst you get to know one another.
But after a few months, you have probably started to introduce other people into the picture. That means meeting friends and other significant people in each other’s lives.
Depending on the circumstances, perhaps you may even be starting to think about meeting each other’s families.
It’s a big step to bring people into the fold, but it will also help strengthen your bond as a couple.
The longer we spend with someone the more our lives will naturally integrate as we create networks as a couple rather than a single.
13) You progress past the early honeymoon phase
The honeymoon phase of a relationship doesn’t have a defined period of time for how long it lasts. Experts say it’s usually anywhere from two months to two years.
It not only depends on the couple, but also how accelerated the getting to know you part has been, and how much time you’ve spent together.
The first few months of any relationship are usually the most thrilling. It’s always exciting to explore new things — and the same is true of people.
Your lust for one another, driven by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen can leave you feeling in a euphoric daze.
Meanwhile, your attraction to one another brings with it an increased amount of dopamine to your system, which is otherwise known as the happy hormone, and increases well-being.
This accounts for why the first few months of a relationship can feel exhilarating, to the point of being all-consuming.
But if you’ve already been seeing each other regularly for a while now, then you may find that the novelty wears off. It may sound incredibly unromantic, but it’s also reality.
Perhaps Mother Nature knows what she is doing because as good as it feels, it’s not a practical way to live long-term.
When the honeymoon stage dies down, some couples mistake this natural change as their feelings wearing off. It’s one of the reasons why so many people split at the end of the honeymoon period.
Surviving this shift in the relationship comes down to having realistic expectations of what love is, rather than unfair fairytales expectations.
It’s important to understand that real love changes during a relationship, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
14) You say I love you
It’s always important to try not to compare our relationship progression with other people. Your own situation is as unique as you are. There is no right time to say I love you (you feel it whenever you feel it).
But research has found that on average men tend to start thinking about saying those three little words around the 3 months mark — 97.3 days to be precise. Women it seems may take a little longer, with the average coming out at 138 days.
Generally speaking, both men and women consider saying “I love you” for the first time somewhere around a few months into a relationship.
It may have been on the tip of your tongue for some time now, and you’ve been waiting for the right time.
Whilst you may have heard of “love at first sight”, it would be fairer to call this attraction at first sight.
The reason love only starts to progress after a few months together is that you can’t really love someone you don’t truly know yet.
15) It gets more real
A few months into the relationship and it’s probably starting to feel a lot more real to you.
It has all sunk in a bit more, and you’re getting used to being a “we” instead of a “me”. You start to think more as a couple, considering how you navigate life as a partnership rather than solo.
But those real-life habits that come along with feeling comfortable in each other’s presence are also likely to be more commonplace too.
He’s happy to pee in front of you, she’s comfortable wearing no makeup, and you both feel fine slobbing around in sweatpants all day.
You’ll notice these small details more and more as time goes on, and they’ll become part of who you are as a couple.
Far from the glossy Instagram version, these are the sacred glimpses into our behind the scene lives that only a privileged few get to see.
16) The way you communicate over technology changes
Maybe in the early days, they would blow up your phone throughout the day, but now you don’t speak nearly as much through text.
Particularly when we’re getting to know one another we often ramp up the phone communication.
After a few months, you will probably start to notice differences in the regularity or way in which you communicate. This is down to you getting more comfortable with one another and finding your stride.
You don’t need to make as big of an effort over technology because you are having deep and meaningful chats in person.
Neither do you feel the need to send lots of texts to show you are interested because your partner already knows that by now.
The 3-month mark is often a good time to talk to your other half about how regularly you would like to speak and text when you are apart.
It’s one of those tiny little things where personal preferences and expectations can differ and create big misunderstandings and frustrations.
17) You’re more honest
When I say that you’re often more honest a few months into the relationship, I’m not suggesting you were deceitful before.
It’s just that we are less inclined to sugar coat things and start to tell it like it is a few months down the line.
Rather than bite our tongue, we’re more confident in openly voicing when we disagree.
We are usually more conscious of what we say when we are just getting to know someone. So that means we can end up concealing our true feelings and thoughts.
The more comfortable and secure you start to feel, the more forthcoming you are about saying when something bothers you, makes you mad, or hurts you.
This brings a whole new layer to your communication. As a consequence, it’s also when we need to hone our skills of communication to make sure we’re sharing and expressing ourselves in an open and reasonable way.
To conclude: what happens at the 3-month mark in a relationship?
Relationships are an ever-evolving entity. If they’re not growing, they are stagnating and dying.
3 months into your relationship is an important stage of that evolution.
You may inevitably have to leave some of the good stuff behind — like the non-stop love fest and giddy butterflies. But you also blossom into a new more mature bond that brings with it a fardeeper connection.
So take this opportunity to celebrate what you’ve achieved together so far. And remember, there’s plenty more to come.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
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