Isn't it true that everyone wishes to be normal? I mean, being the odd one out is never fun. The majority of people want to “fit in” and be a part of the crowd.
Why? Because we all want to know that we are accepted and/or loved by others. We believe that if we conform to societal norms, others will look favorably on us.
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Is this, however, true? What's the harm in marching to the beat of a different drummer? Nothing, in fact. It's just that most people believe it's not acceptable, which is unfortunate.
Most of us are relatively “normal” and adhere to societal norms – even in our relationships. But, of course, there are outliers. For example, I had a married friend who and his wife were swingers. It wasn't for everyone, but it worked for them.
I believe you understand my point.
So, what constitutes “normal” for a relationship in terms of when things should occur in the relationship? Should you stick to a relationship timeline?
The issue is that there is no such thing as normal. Sure, there are averages, but what works for one couple often does not work for another.
For example, I'm the type of person who, if I'm not excited about someone on a first date, I won't go out with them again. To keep my interest, I need that instant jolt. But I have a friend who was skeptical of her now-husband months before they married. As a result, she takes a long time to warm up to someone. That is not something I am willing to put up with.
But neither of us is incorrect. It's just what's best for us.
With that said, let's take a look at some of the “normal” timelines for relationships and discuss whether you should compare yours to them or not.
How Does a Typical Relationship Timeline Look?
Again, there is nothing wrong with you – or the relationship – if you do not adhere to these standard timelines. It's simply YOUR timetable. So, don't be concerned if you don't recognize yourself in these stages.
1. Initial “Date”
Obviously, in order to have a relationship, you must first go on a “date.” I put the word “date” in quotation marks because people in romantic relationships often begin as friends. As a result, there may not be an official “first date.” But that's how it is for many of us.
2. The First Kiss
If you started out as friends, your first kiss might come before your first date. You could also have it on your first date if you met online or through a dating app.
But, on a first date, should you really kiss? That is entirely up to you. There's nothing wrong with doing it if you're in the mood. However, some people prefer to avoid any kind of intimacy when they first meet someone.
3. Initial Dates
Most people go out once or twice to see if they want to continue seeing each other. I believe I am out of the ordinary. As I previously stated, I need to be very excited about someone in order to go out on a second date. However, many people continue to go out to see how things go and if they want to progress further.
You could probably consider the two of you to be “dating” as you continue to go out on dates. This is a difficult stage because one person may assume it while the other does not.
But, whether it's explicitly stated or not, you can pretty safely assume that this is a dating phase.
5. Honeymoon Period
If you keep going out, it's safe to assume you like each other a lot. As a result, you're probably in the “honeymoon phase.”
This is when you are completely smitten with the person you are dating and can't get enough of them. You tend to ignore flaws and see the world through rose-colored glasses.
6. Visit Each Other's Residences
This is a significant step, primarily because it increases your vulnerability. If you met through a dating app or online, you've probably met in public up until now because it's safer.
You'll probably start hanging out at each other's houses once you're more at ease with each other.
7. Exclusive Dating
As I previously stated, this stage is difficult. Some people believe that as time passes, it is simply assumed that you are exclusively dating each other. That, however, may not be the case.
One or both of them could be dating someone else. So, ideally, you should have a conversation in which you “define the relationship.”
8. Make New Friends
When you know you're only seeing each other, it's a good time to meet each other's friends. It's a good time to see how well you and the other person fit in with each other's friend group.
9. Relationship Commitment
Some people erroneously associate dating with commitment. Just because you're only seeing one person doesn't mean you're committed to them long-term.
I know people who dated someone for six months but made it clear that they were not in a committed relationship. But, then again, every couple is unique.
10. The Honeymoon Period Has Come to an End
It's a shame that this stage has to come to an end. It might not; after all, there are probably some little old couples who have been together for over 50 years and are still madly in love.
Most people's infatuation fades after a while. It varies from person to person, but it usually occurs between six months and a year.
11. Get to Know Your Family
After you've been together for a while and believe the relationship has the potential to last, it's a good time to meet each other's families.
You should probably introduce them to your siblings and parents before introducing them to your children (if you have them). This is because your new relationship will have the greatest impact on your children, for better or worse.
12. Engage in Sex
This is one area where people's timelines diverge dramatically. Some people have sex on their first date and go on to have a happy life. Others wait until they marry.
As a result, you must do whatever feels right to you. Typically, most adults will wait 3-5 dates before going on a date. However, as previously stated, everyone has their own timeline for this.
When you start sleeping over at each other's houses, just like with sex, is a very personal decision. Some people do it right away, while others wait months or even years.
14 Traveling Together
Not everyone travels frequently, but if you do, this is a difficult time for most couples – especially if they don't spend a lot of time together “living together” at each other's houses.
Traveling with someone reveals who they truly are, for better or worse.
Some people oppose living together before marriage. Others believe it is a requirement. But how long should you keep waiting? Again, it is entirely up to you.
I believe that waiting at least a year is a reasonable estimate. After a year, you've gotten to know each other well enough to determine whether or not you'd be compatible living together long term.
Some people marry within months, while others wait years, decades, or never marry. All of this is fine.
It's even acceptable not to marry if you don't want to. However, the average time frame for getting engaged is between a year and a half and a year and a half.
17. Is married
Getting married is obviously the next step. That usually happens six months to a year after getting engaged. The type of wedding that a couple has is also very personal.
18. Children and Beyond
Love comes first, then marriage, and finally the children in the baby carriage. I'm sure you've heard that expression before.
Having children is difficult for many couples because it completely alters their lives. It's no longer just the two of you. You can't be as selfish as you used to be.
19. Empty Nest Syndrome
After years and years, you will eventually find yourself in the empty nest years. It is critical to remember that you must make an effort to stay connected as a couple during the time your children are at home.
If you don't, you'll be staring at each other during the next empty phase, wondering who you are as a couple. You may need to rediscover your love.
20. Retirement Years
- Not every couple makes it this far, but if you do, you've accomplished a lot!
- Hopefully, these years will be filled with travel, grandchildren, and other enjoyable activities.
- Is It Necessary to Stick to a Relationship Timeline?
- So, should you create a relationship timeline? And the answer is that it really doesn't matter.
What works for one couple may not work for the next. So, if you don't want to, don't feel obligated to follow the standard timeline like everyone else.
Be yourself and negotiate your way through these stages as a couple because that is what will truly make you happy in the long run.
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