How Many Dates Do You Need to Start a Relationship for Real?

How Many Dates Before Relationship Starts

How many dates does a couple have to go on before they are in a relationship? That’s a common question, and many people struggle to come up with a definitive answer. Some people just click immediately and know that they should be able to have a meaningful relationship with the person that they are with. Others don’t feel that bond or connection until they’ve gotten to know the other person.

Related reading: Dating vs Relationship – What Are the Main Differences Between Them?

Each person feels differently when it comes to the idea of how many dates before a relationship becomes official. So, let’s take a look at why these factors may be different for each person, as well as what we believe to be the golden number of dates that you should go on before making an official relationship call.

Why Do We Date Before Starting a Relationship?

Each situation is different, but why does it takes a few dates at a first place? The answer is simple: before your exclusive relationship officially begins, you need to get to know each other better, get off on the right foot, identify all the potential red flags, and, generally, make sure you’re on the same page.

Getting to Know Each Other

“It is so varied and so individualized. There is no real number… In the beginning, you want to see if there is commonality, if you enjoy each other, if you are attracted to each other, and that takes time. Then, it gets deeper and you start to share more personal things.”

Sarah Kahan, a licensed clinical social worker

Getting to know each other takes time, and the best way to get to know each other is time spent together. By casually dating the same person for a while you will start to get a feel of what you both may feel during a serious relationship with each other.

Getting Off on the Right Foot

Remember that the first date is one of the most important that you will have during a relationship. It is essentially the first interview of something that can affect you for years to come. Some people say that they think of the first one in the same way that they think of a job interview.

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You may feel nervous, and you also want to put your best foot forward in hopes of getting you to go out with them again. But once you get off in the right direction, you’ll be in the early stages of a casual relationship that could lead to making your dating relationship official.

Watching for Potential Red Flags

During the first few dates, both you and your partner will be focused on making yourselves as appealing as possible to the other. So much so that you both may be hiding red flags from the other.

While this is fine, it can be hard to enter a relationship when you don’t know exactly what the other is like. Therefore, it can take a few dates before you feel comfortable with the idea of making it official.

Making Sure You Are on the Same Page

You might be in a position where you believe that the relationship will not work out, while the other believes that you both are a match made in heaven. This opinion can also change as you continue to date: your opinion may shift to be more in favor, and theirs shifting to be less in favor of a serious relationship status.

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By taking the time to go on a few dates before your relationship, can truly begin you will know for sure that you both are on the same page. Unless they display some absolutely unforgivable traits, do not let one bad date ruin your chances to be with someone you genuinely like.

3 rules for casually dating people

3 Main Dating Rules

Before you start any sort of serious relationship or even before you start dating it is important to set up some rules and boundaries. This is to ensure both your comfort and the comfort of your partner. Here are some rules that we believe work well for budding relationships.

# 1. Be Clear How Many Dates You Need

The best thing you can do at the very beginning is to clarify how many dates you want to go on before you make your relationship official. For some of us, this number is as few as 2 dates, and for others, you need up to ten dates before a relationship can be made official.

#2. Be Ready to Pay for Yourself

A hard and fast rule when you first start to see someone is to always be prepared to pay your own way for the first few dates. Remember at that point you’re still getting to know each other. So issues regarding money could lead to resentment, which is not a good sign for a long-term relationship.

#3. Outline Your Boundaries

Before entering any sort of committed relationship, it is a good idea for both of you to tell the other what you expect to a reasonable point. For example, some people cannot and will not even entertain the idea of a long-distance relationship even if you both really connect. You can also outline how many dates you both must go on before you are willing to participate in certain activities.

How Does The 10-Date Rule Work?

“Men want connection, true connection, as much as women do. In general, they’re a little slower at forming that connection than women are, and 10 dates is a good rule of thumb. A man is not going to continue asking you out if he’s not interested, and if he asks you out on 10 dates, he’s into you.”

Jonathon Aslay, mid-life dating and relationship coach

Some people say that you only need to go on about 5 or 6 dates before a relationship is made official. But that’s OK if it isn’t enough comfortable for you. In this case, you should be have enough time showing your true self to each other before you can enter a serious relationship.

Remember the actual number of dates you should go on before you make it official is subjective to each person, and that some couples don’t need to spend time with each other nearly as much as others before they feel comfortable making the decision. Pick what works best for you.

Here is a look at an example of the timeline of casual dating that could be done before you can make your relationship official.

The First Date: Testing the Waters

The first one is essentially like your first interview for a promising field in a promising job field. Both you and your potential partner need to put your best foot forward in order to entice the other to get to know each other better.

Make yourself clean and presentable, be prepared to pay your own way for the date, and meet up at a nice location. The first date is the perfect way for you both to get to know each other and show each other what you are like at your absolute best.

The Second and Third Dates: Getting More Casual

The second and the third date are much like the first date. You are still getting to know each other, however, you can be a bit more casual with things. You can still present yourself nicely – however, you don’t have to be so picky about the location you meet up at.

There are many interesting ideas for the second date. Rather than the fancy restaurant you met at during the first one, take it down a notch and suggest a nice cafe or a museum. You should ideally go on the second date a few days after the first one,

A general rule states that the third date should happen about a half months time after the first date. It is also good to note that this date is a great time for your first kiss with each other.

The Fourth Date: Comfortable Together

At four dates, you are both becoming much more comfortable with each other, but you aren’t exactly at the level where you can meet each other’s friends or family just yet. You may learn that you both have similar or even the same values.

For this date number, you can start to visit each other’s hobbies by doing things like going to the movies or attending a walk-in painting class.

The fifth date is the first checkpoint to a serious relationship

The Fifth Date: First Checkpoint

At this point, you are halfway through the timeline, and should probably treat this date in a similar fashion to the first one. It could take a few weeks to get to this point, and it’s good to see how much of a good match you are by revisiting your first date.

Take note of how much more comfortable you are and how much effort you are putting into it as you both get ready. After going on multiple dates with each other, most folks find that they feel ready to jump away from the arbitrary number of dates and enter a serious new relationship. However, you are only just beginning to feel comfortable in the other’s company.

The Sixth and Seventh Dates: Meeting Friends

You are now getting close to how many dates we find are the best to go on before you make your relationship official. After a couple of months of casually dating each other, you are now at the ideal number of dates to be introduced to your partners’ friends.

These dates could be a couple of double dates in which you can intermingle with another couple in order to enjoy time with your potential partner, as well as have an intimate reaction with other people that you are going to be in contact with.

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You and your casual partner could also consider casual get-together dates as well. This way you both can enjoy time with each other, and get to know the people that know you best. This is a great way for you to keep your eyes and ears out for any potential red flags as their friends talk with you about their habits that they haven’t felt comfortable showing to you just yet.

Go to a party together before entering a committed relationship

The Eighth Date: Party Check

At this point in your relationship, you have been casually dating for a while. You both likely spend a lot of your free time with each other. Also, you have very likely discussed or even made the adult decision to participate in certain activities. With all the quality time you have spent together during last several months, you may feel ready to make it official.

However, it is not time for that just yet. There are still a couple of things you should do before you can be certain that you’re ready to take that next step. We believe that for each relationship you should go to at least one party with them before you make it official. By going to a party with them, you’ll find that you’ll be able to see what type of person they are in a social setting that involves a lot of people

The Ninth Date: Last Date Before It Starts

You have now reached a point where you feel comfortable with each other as a person. It’s almost time to make it official with each other. You’ve both gone on many dates with each other over the past few months, have most likely introduced each other to your family members, and have developed a deep emotional connection.

While it is perfectly fine if you make things official now, however, we feel that 10 is the magic number when it comes to how many dates you should go on. Do something simple and enjoyable for this date number.

The Tenth Date: Totally Ready!

You both have had many dates with each other and are likely ready to move things forward toward an official relationship. You may even consider yourselves to be best friends at this point. The fact you’ve continued to casually date is a great sign of a mutual attraction to each other and a compatible relationship.

Even if you’re not counting dates if you find yourself at this point of comfort with each other it is likely you are ready to make yourself and your partner an official couple.

How Many Dates Work for You? Signs You Are Ready

Since our magic number 1o is subjective, each person decides how many dates needed in each particular situation individually. So, instead of counting dates, pay attention to the signs that show you are ready to make it official. When you fit them, it doesn’t really matter how many dates you have gone on with each other.

1. You Both Feel Comfortable with Each Other

Generally speaking, you should not enter a relationship with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. A good relationship should feel good for all individuals involved.

2. Your Feelings Are Mutual

From first dates to your most recent one, you have to ask if you both feel the same way about each other. When dealing with a love interest, it is important that you both feel that you are on the same page with each other.

3. You Start to Casually Talk About Your Relationship

One thing that people tend to notice about couples is that they talk about each other a lot. If you find yourself talking about them casually when they’re not there, this is a good indication that it’s time to make things official.

4. You Crave Each Other’s Company

When it comes to a healthy relationship, you should crave each other’s company. But not in a way that makes it difficult to manage, of course. If you find yourself wishing they were there when you are at home or doing any sort of mundane activity, it may be a good sign that you are ready for a serious relationship.

5. You Need Each Other’s Advice

If you find that you are able to have serious conversations with them, things are serious. Notice if you crave and value their insight when it comes to things that matter to you. If that’s mutual, that is a good sign that you both are ready to make the move toward making it official.

How to have a conversation about a long-term relationship

Checklist for the Relationship Talk

When you’re dating another person the idea of making it official has probably come to mind at some point or another. But how do you have the relationship talk? After all, this is a serious conversation that can vary from person to person. Here’s a short guide on how to have this conversation:

  1. Sit down alone in order to make sure that neither of you are distracted
  2. Talk about your recent dates. Were they good, bad, or somewhere in between?
  3. Make sure that you both are on the same page
  4. Tell them you want to make it official between you both
  5. Ask them if they feel the same.

In practice, this conversation is actually much more complicated than how we have illustrated it. We find that this is essentially the natural progression of things when it comes to the relationship conversation.

4 Signs It’s Too Soon

Last but not least, here are the signs that it is simply too soon to make a call because you aren’t compatible with each other. Remember: if it doesn’t click, any dating coach will help you.

1. You Haven’t Been Introduced to Friends or Family

Being introduced to friends and family is an important part of the process. This way, you feel a sense of acceptance with each other. And if you don’t get to this point, it may be too soon to become official.

2. You Feel As If You Are Not on the Same Page

Even those with different values can have a thriving relationship. However, if you both feel that you do not want the same things,  then it’s too soon.

3. Your Work Takes Too Much of Your Time

Part- and full-time jobs can be stressful for any person and can make you feel isolated and resentful towards others. If you are at a point where you are too focused on your career, it may be too soon to be in a relationship.

4. You Just Don’t Feel Ready

There is no set rule to dating. If you are not ready for official relationships, then you are simply not ready. Take your time and don’t listen to any dating coach before you complete your process.

Ready to Update Your Relationship Status?

So, you have been dating for a while. You both show the signs that you are ready to move forward from casually dating to a serious relationship. All you need to do now is make it official.

Start by telling your family that you are now in a serious dating relationship with each other, then move to friends, and anyone else you feel should know. Enjoy being together!

Dating Tips Author
Shelly Standford
After a devastating relationship breakup, I threw myself into the dating scene by registering on Hily. I had over 100 dates - some absolute disasters, some pretty average, and some that were actually great. So many stories to tell and insights to share with you guys!

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