When you watch relationships in movies and on TV, they always seem to just naturally progress to the next step. In real life, though, you don’t have a director telling you when it’s time to move to the next phase of the relationship.
So how do you go about knowing how many dates you should go on before you get into a relationship? Is there a magic number?
That’s what we want to talk about today. If you’re fresh into seeing a new guy or gal and are curious if it’s the right time to move to the next step, this is the guide for you.
The Magic Number of Dates
Here’s the spoiler upfront. There is no magic number of dates needed before a relationship can happen. Also, there is no magic number of dates that when completed automatically mean you’re in a relationship.
While we love the times we can come up with hard and fast rules that work across the board, this is not one of those situations. Anyone who tells you a particular number does not know what they’re talking about.
Now, does that mean we’re just going to send you on your way without any helpful information? Absolutely not. In the next section, we’re going to give you some indicators to help you determine in your unique situation how many dates before a relationship discussion is right.
How to Determine How Many Dates Before a Relationship
As there isn’t a fixed number that is going to be correct in all situations, here is some guidance to determine that number in your situation.
- Never less than three dates. – Okay, so we said there weren’t any hard and fast rules, but here is one. Anything less than three dates is almost always going to be too soon to start talking about getting exclusive. Usually, the discussion doesn’t happen until at least date four, five, or six—or sometimes longer.
- Relationships are a decision, not scheduled. – You’ll notice we’ve been talking about relationship discussions, and not just getting into a relationship. The reason for this is that it never automatically happens. It only happens when both people involved decide that they are ready to enter into a committed relationship. This also means that you may come up with the number of dates before a relationship that you want, but the person you’re seeing might have a different number in mind.
- The number should be dependent on your shared goals. – Is the person you’re dating interested in a committed relationship? If they’re not, you could go on 100 dates and you still wouldn’t have a relationship. We talk about this a lot in our guide on how to ask a girl to be your girlfriend that we highly recommend reading.
- Stop thinking about it in terms of numbers. – We’re not trying to go all philosophical on you here, but this is an important distinction. When you think about things in terms of numbers, it doesn’t mesh well with relational and emotional growth. The right time to get into a relationship is not after a fixed number of dates. It happens when both people in the relationship have decided they want to take the next step and have conveyed that to one another. Trying to put a number to that doesn’t do much except create problems. If someone is really open (and you are too), they may be ready after just a few dates. But if someone maybe had some negative past experiences or likes to take things slow, it may take a while for them to commit to that next step.
If you’ve read this far and you feel confused still, it’s okay. If we were 100% forced to put things to numbers (which we don’t recommend), this is what we’d say. Never even consider it prior to going on at least three dates. From there, we see a lot of people have the initial discussion around date four to date six.
Ideally, though, you’ll focus on getting to know each other and the rest will fall into place. If it’s the right person, everything will work out. If you’re worried that you have to get them locked down or else you’re going to lose them, they’re either the wrong person or you need to be more confident in yourself.