If you’re just starting a new relationship—especially if you’re fairly new to dating—it can be tough to learn the ropes. How often should you go out? When do you meet each other’s friends? When do you meet their parents? There’s no end to questions. But one of the ones that will come up more quickly than you think is whether or not you’ll celebrate anniversaries when you’re dating.
The short answer—frustratingly—is it depends on you and the person you’re dating.
But even then, there are variables: If you celebrate them, are you celebrating true anniversaries, or are you celebrating “monthiversaries?” Do you have to celebrate both? And if so, what date should you choose as your starting point?
It’s enough to make you sweat from nerves, but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
So…When Is Your Anniversary, Anyway?
For couples who get married, the anniversary date is clear: it’s the date of the ceremony.
But if you’re dating, and it’s a true anniversary, it’s not as straightforward. Some people may consider the anniversary of their first date as the one to go with, while others will choose to go with the anniversary of when they started dating each other exclusively.
It really depends on the couple. But if you’re reading this, you may feel expected to participate in the whole “anniversary” thing because it’s important to the person you’re dating. If you’re not opposed to the idea—or even if you like the idea, but it’s just new to you—the first step is to figure out which date you’re celebrating.
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Time Is on Your Side
The nice thing about celebrating a true, once-a-year anniversary is that you’ve got plenty of time to figure out what—if anything—you’ll do about the anniversary. If you’re not into monthiversaries, you’ve got several months to plan for the first anniversary you’ll share.
Around month ten you can start feeling things out.
Consider being straightforward and asking if your significant other wants to celebrate. They may not really take anniversaries seriously, or they may take them so seriously that they only consider a marriage anniversary a “true” anniversary. But tiptoeing around the situation or dropping hints doesn’t help either of you.
What if You Don’t Want to Celebrate Anniversaries?
One of the reasons you may not be sure that it’s important to celebrate dating anniversaries is that you may not be entirely sold on the idea. There’s nothing wrong with that. Again, every relationship is different.
But if you and your significant other aren’t on the same page, it can definitely get sticky.
While you should never do anything you absolutely don’t agree with, you may want to think about celebrating dating anniversaries even if the idea doesn’t excite you. Good relationships are about compromise, and unless your significant other expects you to drop thousands on every special day, there’s not much harm in a nice dinner or weekend away to celebrate another year together.
If dating anniversaries are important to your significant other, it could be worthwhile to celebrate along with them.
Monthiversaries and the Possibility of Overdoing It
Let’s go back to monthiversaries for a second. We’ve brought them up a lot, but it’s worth going into a little more detail. Monthiversaries can be a sweet way to show your ongoing commitment to the person you’re dating.
Still, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. Celebrating absolutely anything too often can dilute the importance of a once-a-year anniversary.
…But if you’re celebrating monthiversaries, it’s a pretty good indicator that your significant other takes anniversaries seriously, too. In this case, yes—keeping your significant other happy means that you should consider anniversaries important while dating.
The Relationship Escalator
One thing to keep in mind about celebrating dating anniversaries is that it can be an indicator that you or your significant other wants each anniversary to be a step to the next level—marriage.
Frankly, your significant other may not want to celebrate too many dating anniversaries with you: they may be interested in celebrating for a few years before stepping things up to the next level and getting engaged.
There’s nothing wrong with commitment—obviously—but celebrating anniversaries can be an important indicator of being seen as being in it for the long haul.
If you are interested in eventually taking things to the next level, consider marking that special day once a year. Make them fun, exciting days that you and your significant other share together—put aside any day-to-day worries and focus on the past year together.
While you’re not obligated to propose or be proposed to on an anniversary, it’s a natural time to ask. This can be a great reason to preserve dating anniversaries as special days.
I Want to Celebrate an Anniversary—Now What?
If dating anniversaries are new to you, but you’ve decided you’d like to celebrate them, you still may not know where to start. Do you need to get an anniversary gift? How extravagant an event does it have to be? Should you have a party?
These questions are also in the “it depends” range. But there are some basics to keep in mind: First, it’s about making the other person feel special, so make sure that however you spend the day and whatever gifts you get, keep what your significant other in mind. Will they enjoy the restaurant you picked? Is the gift you get for them something that will help them remember a special day, or have you just picked out something you would have purchased for yourself?
However you choose to celebrate—or if you choose not to celebrate—the most important thing to keep in mind is that a dating anniversary is about you and your significant other.
It should be enjoyable for you both, and it should be an event that both of you look forward to each year. Find a way to celebrate your relationship that you’ll both enjoy.
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