Relationship Milestones – What To Expect In The First Year Of Dating

Great relationships don’t just happen. It takes two people to show up every day with the commitment and willingness to #startsomethingreal.

Modern dating can feel confusing, but as Match’s dating expert, I want to show you how to turn your dates into something more serious, and what to look out for in the people you date.

If you’ve just met someone you quite like, let’s talk about the relationship milestones you can expect to hit, and when to expect them.

Month 1 – Time to enjoy

At the beginning don’t worry about the future, just enjoy those early dates and keep an open mind. Right now the only question to ask is “can I have fun with this person?” If you enjoy each other’s company, and you’re both making the effort to meet up, it’s definitely a good start! This is the month where you’ll enjoy your first kiss, and maybe a bit more!

Month 2 – Time to meet their friends

When you’re building a relationship one thing to explore is how someone connects with your friends. Remember you’re not looking to change your life for someone, you’re looking for your two lives to click together. So remember to keep spending time with your friends, and look out for someone who is interested in getting to know them. This month is a great time to start finding out.

Month 3 – Time to make it ‘official’

It’s good to take a little time to get to know someone and build the bond between you. Instead of rushing to get commitment, think of it as something you give to someone else once they’ve shown you respect, kindness and commitment in return. If it feels right by now, it could be the start of something real.

Month 4 – Time to take a trip together

You’re at a great phase in the relationship where everything still feels fresh and exciting, so it could be time to spend a night away together. After a few months of dating it’s normal to find yourself spending multiple nights a week together, including longer stretches of time. This is a great way to see how you might work together over the long term.

Month 5 & 6 – Time to let your guard down

Ultimately you need a partner who loves and accepts you as you are, so it’s time to show your imperfections. This could mean you let them see you without any make up, or you reveal something about yourself that you don’t usually share. Remember the best people for you will treat your vulnerabilities with compassion.

Month 7 – Time to buy a second toothbrush

As you spend more time with one another you’ll start to feel increasingly at home in each other’s space – which may mean you leave a toothbrush at their place. Look out for people who show equal willingness to come to you.

Month 8 – Time to meet the parents

Hopefully by now their friends are starting to feel like your friends, but now it’s time for the big one – meeting their parents! Our families often form a key part of our lives and value systems, so meeting them is a big relationship milestone.

Month 9 – Time to get your own drawer

Your toothbrush has been joined by some shampoo, three sets of underwear, and that outfit you wore last Saturday night. Almost without knowing it, you’ve taken a step towards living together. Remember: there will be disagreements. But take the time to work them out together: life is all about give and take.

Month 10 & 11 – Time to get serious

Now you’ve spent almost a year together it’s natural to think about the future – and you should always aim to have a partner who is open about where they see your relationship is heading. So this could be the time to have a more serious chat about your future goals. But if you need a break, maybe think about taking another step: choosing where to go and saving up for your first proper holiday together.

Remember: while goals are good, every couple takes their own relationship journey. Great relationships don’t just appear, they need to be built. So don’t worry if yours doesn’t follow this trajectory precisely.

The most important things you’re looking out for are always time, respect and kindness. Value what your partner brings to the table, and remember that what makes them amazing isn’t what they look like or what they earn: it’s their willingness to co-pilot your relationship together with you.

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