It’s Official: How Many Dates Before it’s a Relationship?

Here’s the million dollar question: how many dates before it’s a relationship? Is it one, two , or ten before it’s official? It’s a tricky one to answer, but an important one nonetheless. Here we take a closer look at the facts to help you unpick this problematic proposition!

Nearly everyone has been in a ‘situationship’, one of those in-limbo relationships that isn’t defined by titles like boyfriend or girlfriend. Instead it’s all abut hanging out, going on dates, potentially being intimate, with no clarity. It’s tough to know when to take that conversation from “this is chill” to “wait, what are we doing here?” How many dates does it actually take before it’s a real relationship? Three? Five? Ten? 

How many dates before it’s official?

Of course, this answer is going to differ quite a bit depending on the couple. For instance, some people see each other three times a week, and others may see each other biweekly. How many dates before it’s a relationship, and the amount of time it takes to get to know a person, is really up to you. However, there is a bit of research behind the whole “how many dates” before you’re in an official relationship thing. 

Well and Good interviewed Racine Henry, a relationship therapist to discuss some questions around this topic. According to Henry, “It’s not like all the sudden it’s date seven or three months have passed and that’s the time to figure it all out.” 

What a relief. Though it would be nice to have an answer to how many dates it takes to achieve the “taken” relationship status, it’s not realistic. Instead, it’s a lot more about communication, vulnerability, and being honest with yourself. Henry states, “If you find yourself thinking about introducing him or her to your family or making future plans, that’s something to pay attention to.” 

Feeling like you’re ready to take the next steps is a solid indication that it’s time for a relationship. 

We know that after one date, you can feel excited and ready for the next date, but that doesn’t mean your relationship is solidified now. After two dates, you can hold onto that excitement and hope it goes somewhere. After three dates, it may be time to start thinking about whether or not you see this going into the relationship arena of life. 

Maybe after the fourth date, it’s time to at least float out the “are you seeing other people” question. A few years ago, Mic conducted a survey to figure out when people felt like they were “exclusive” in a relationship. Of 3,058 adults, 45.2% said they were dating their partner for less than a month before calling it a relationship. 28% of those surveyed said it took them between one and two months. As far as the number of dates goes, that can fluctuate pretty wildly depending on your circumstances, but if you average about one date a week, that’s around four dates before some people are calling it a relationship. 

Moving to fast?

Does that sound fast to you? Don’t sweat it. Everyone is different. Some people will be ready for a relationship after four dates, but some people won’t be. The important thing to keep in mind is that when you’re ready for a relationship life, that’s the right time for you.

When you start to feel like it’s time for them to meet your family, that may be your sign that you’re ready for a relationship. When you’re ready to delete the dating apps because you only have eyes for them is a good sign that you’re ready too. Counting down the hours until you’re back in their arms is a clear signal you’re ready for that relationship talk. 

Deciding when you are in a relationship based on the number of dates is tricky, but deciding when you’re ready for a relationship based on how you feel may be a slightly better fit. If you are a tangible thinker and would really like to put a number on it, check in with yourself after the third date.

Do you want to see them again? Do you want to see other people as well? If you do want to see them again and do not care to see other people, continue to check in with yourself after each date. If you’re ready for a relationship, it will quickly become clear to you that it’s good to go!