One of the most highly researched things in the field of psychology is why and…
Every couple goes through different relationship milestones as you both progress. And it’s so important to know the timeline of your relationship in dating.
Milestones are the events, big or small, that lead a relationship in a new direction. Relationship milestones are how you see your progress in a relationship. It basically acts as a highlight for every step in a relationship you surpass as a couple – both the good and bad.
As you surpass every relationship milestone, you also grow more comfortable and familiar with one another. This is the entire explanation behind why the way your partner treats you initially is different as you pass each stage.
While every relationship is different, and timelines may vary, some general timeframes seem to work for most. No matter how long you’ve been together, there’s a milestone or two you should be crossing.
Why are knowing the relationship milestones important?
They’re important as they’re how you can tell which stage of familiarity you’re in. It’s also how you know which things you can do with your partner in a specific milestone.
For instance, if you’re still in the honeymoon stage of your relationship, you shouldn’t expect your partner to move in with you or propose marriage. Relationship milestones are gradual and you can’t skip steps to get to the last one.
Otherwise, you’ll miss the best part of a relationship, which is the journey. Also, it’s very accomplishing to know that you’ve surpassed a significant milestone with your partner.
Relationship milestones are how you know that your relationship is actually working and you’re both trying your best to make it last *hopefully for a lifetime.*
When should these milestones occur?
While there’s no rule for when you should be able to accomplish something in a relationship, it’s still a good idea to know if your relationship is progressing the way most normal relationships do.
1. The stage of showing hygienic flaws
You don’t generally have to see any personal flaws from your partner within six months of dating such as seeing them pee, witnessing their farts, and other personal hygiene flaws.
These things will usually reveal themselves further along in the relationship, but it’s not something you should expect within the first few months. As gross and unhygienic as this sounds, this is definitely one of the relationship milestones after approximately 6 months of dating until a year.
You can’t avoid this milestone as it’s going to happen whether you like the idea or not. The moral of the story is people are gross, and if you love each other, you won’t really mind your partner’s bowel movements. [Read: 13 unique ways to build intimacy with your partner]
2. The first time one of you cries
Let’s face it, usually, women will be more open to showing their tears than men will ever be. She might cry during a movie, when a sad song plays, or when she’s having a really rough day and crying is her outlet.
However, it’s a very rare occurrence to see men cry so when he does, you know it’s as real as it’s going to get. It might not happen right away, but it’ll happen as he gets comfortable with you in the relationship.
It generally takes a year, but it could also be less than that, especially if he trusts you enough to show his vulnerability and honesty.
3. The first time you let the crazy out
You might not admit it right away, but everyone has a crazy side – we’re just all experts at hiding it. When it comes to our partners, it’s inevitable to show our true colors. Yes, that includes even the crazy and weird quirks we have.
You know that weird thing you do when no one else is around, like eating cereal out of a mug, adding ketchup to your steak, or obsessively scrubbing the grout in your bathroom? The first time you show that really weird and unexplainable side of yourself to your partner is a milestone.
Again, you don’t really show this side to someone you’re dating within the first three months *that’d be crazy!* Rather, you show them when you get to know them better and when you’re comfortable enough to know they won’t run away from your weirdness.
4. The minute you realize you’re no longer in the honeymoon phase
Let’s admit it, we all love being in the honeymoon phase of any relationship. This is the one stage we want to get as much of while it lasts, especially you feel on top of the world during this stage.
When this stage is over, this can completely overwhelm the beginners of dating as they instantly assume the love or “sparks” are no longer there. However, if you’ve dated for quite some time now, you know that this is actually an accomplishment.
Not every couple surpasses the honeymoon stage and that’s where you know your relationship wasn’t likely love, but a matter of infatuation, lust, or attraction. No longer are both of you on your best behavior, living a lie, and being too cheesy for your own good.
Now, the real fun begins, and you really get to know each other. You stop seeing everything with rose-tinted eyes, but the reality of one another settles in. While there are no longer butterflies in your stomach and grand gestures, your relationship settles into feelings of warmth, comfort, and security.
This happens in a matter of 6 – 8 months *or even less for some couples*.
5. Sharing space, even if it’s at a parent’s house
When you’re first dating someone, it’s best to appreciate your personal space as you’ll lose this further in the relationship. It starts off with them borrowing a brush of yours and then it progresses into having your personal space, taking your clothes, and other belongings of yours.
This is when your partner’s toothbrush, hairbrush, spare clothing, and beauty products have taken over a drawer in your bedroom and the medicine cabinet in your bathroom. Sharing space, even if you technically haven’t committed to buying an apartment together yet, is still one of the huge relationship milestones.
Again, it doesn’t happen immediately, but it happens as you frequently sleep over at their place or are more comfortable sharing space together without feeling suffocated. This should happen after at least a year of knowing that you’re serious with each other.
Of course, for those on the more conservative side of the spectrum, you may find that you’ll only be sharing space after you’re married.
6. Being at ease with the parents
This is a tough one, especially if parents don’t tend to like you or you always struggle with being close to your partner’s parents. Then you do manage to build some sort of relationship with their parents, this is a huge deal for your relationship.
It’s fairly easy to feel self-aware whenever you’re talking to them or conversing with them. After all, who wouldn’t feel nervous when dealing with an authority figure? However, at some point, you realize they’re human just like you!
The moment you feel at peace talking to them without feeling stiff, anxious, or tense, then that’s a relationship milestone! You should be proud of yourself for surpassing this. See, that wasn’t so hard now, was it?
7. The first time you take care of each other when sick
We all have different personalities when it comes to being sick. There are some who wouldn’t dare let their partners see them in that state, while others are okay with it. However, there’s something to be said about letting your partner see you in that vulnerable state and letting them take care of you.
It’s also a great way to see how great they are at taking care of you and if they’re able to attend to your needs. It’s a bonus seeing them care for you like that *makes you realize why you fell for them in the first place!*
8. The first time one of you is too tired to have sex
Sex isn’t everything in a relationship, but it sure feels like it when everything is new. While every couple has different sexual needs, you can’t really deny that sex and sexual compatibility play a big part in the early stages of your relationship.
This is one of the relationship milestones of admitting that you’re too tired to have sex normally happens when you’re comfortable enough to admit this and knowing that your partner wouldn’t hold it against you.
It really boils down to two main reasons: external forces *new job stress, a year filled with major life changes, death in the family, etc.* and your sex drive.
While it’s normal for some couples to have sex regularly, there will come a time where you’re just too tired, no matter how much you want to. It doesn’t mean your sex life is done for, it simply means you’re secure enough to know that there are some nights when it just won’t happen.
9. When you finally express your hatred toward someone in your partner’s family
When everything is new, you try your best to put your best foot forward around them. This means you wouldn’t dare admit the hatred or even frustration you have for their family member. After all, who would admit this when you just recently started dating them?
Nobody in their sane mind would! It could mean their sister, mother, or uncle. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t spoken of a year in, maybe not even two.
For many, it doesn’t happen until the third year in, mainly because it will take you a while to actually get to know someone enough to dislike them. Especially if this is someone your partner is specifically close to, you won’t express your dislike until after a few years.
10. When you finally learn about each other’s gross habits
This is connected to the first point, but it’s more specific about your habits. Remember how attracted you were to your partner when you first started dating them? In a few months or a year, you might want to hold that memory close to your heart.
You’ll see all their gross habits such as refusing to wash the dishes or not shaving their legs often. It could be something minor, but those minor things usually accumulate into something major. Don’t worry – this is a relationship milestone for both of you.
It just means you’ve seen both the good and bad sides to one another and stayed together regardless. The good thing about this is that you reach a point where you’re used to these descriptions, and you tend to build up a natural mental blockage that prevents you from being completely turned off by your partner.
11. When you go from dating to being exclusive
There’s something to be said about being exclusive with someone you’re dating. This often happens between three to six months of dating *anything more than that, you should start questioning the relationship.*
It only takes three to six months to see if you have the chemistry and compatibility to date someone and if you see real potential in them. This is one of the first relationship milestones, if not the first, that you’re going to accomplish in your dating life.
It’s the milestone that means you’re only going to see each other and that you’re officially boyfriend-girlfriend.
12. Saying “I love you”
We’re not talking about a one-sided “I love you,” but one of the significant relationship milestones that counts is that mutual exchange of feelings. When you openly admit how you feel for each other, that’s an important highlight as it means that everything just went from infatuation to real love.
These three words take your relationship to the next level. This is when you know you’re not just imagining things in your relationship, but your feelings are actually reciprocated by someone you love! Similar to the point above, this often happens between three to six months of dating.
13. First time having sex
As mentioned earlier, your relationship isn’t just about sex *it should revolve around it!* However, it’s always a big deal when you first have sex with someone you’re in love with.
It’s one of the biggest relationship milestones that indicate intimacy as you bare your naked body and soul to the person you’re with at that moment.
Every experience is different and this is especially true when you’re in love with that person. When you first have sex with them, it feels like you’re high on adrenaline, love, and intimacy at the highest level. There’s just no right set of words to describe it except that it’s an important milestone.
There’s no timeline for first having sex as every couple is different. It all depends on the sexual compatibility and physical attraction of the couple when sex is on the table.
14. Traveling together
For some unusual reason, you get to know your partner much better when you travel with them. It doesn’t matter where, but it definitely unlocks an important stage of your relationship. After all, you get to spend days or even weeks with them.
You’ll find yourself discovering more about your partner than you ever did in the months or years you were with them. This is probably why traveling with your partner is one of the most underrated relationship milestones, but definitely an important one!
However, couples usually take at least a year before traveling together. After all, it can be pretty devastating traveling too quickly and breaking up with them eventually!
15. Making plans for the future
You need to be together for a while to be making plans for the future, but it’s an important milestone! There’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen, but it says a lot about where you see the relationship going and who you want to spend the rest of your days with.
For all commitment-phobes out there, this is the most difficult milestone to surpass. When you make future plans with your significant other, what makes it one of the biggest relationship milestones is that you’re saying that you see them in your future and nobody else.
This means you want this for the long haul and you’re hoping they see and share your vision too.
So, why are relationship milestones important?
Relationship milestones help you know what stage of your relationship you are in. As you progress on the amount of time you’ve been together, you’ll gradually see yourself ticking every one of the milestones in this list and it’ll feel like the most accomplishing thing ever. It also gives you a sense of your level of comfort and security together.
Even if your particular relationship milestones are absolutely unusual or weird, they mark a time in which both of you have gotten closer. They help you see how you’ve grown more intimate and comfortable with each other as the years pass. You might’ve not wanted to share your space before, but now it’s something you look forward to!