How Many Dates Before a Relationship?

How many dates are normal before a relationship?
on February 12, 2024
Read time: 5 mins

From the flutters of a first date to the trickier terrain of a serious relationship, there are a lot of steps that go into making a relationship official. 

When each date just keeps getting better and better, it doesn’t take long for the classic questions to arise. How many dates before a relationship? When should you have the relationship talk? Do you have to have a fixed number of dates before you take things to the next level? 

Before you start sweating over your relationship status, and whether it’s time to take the leap and make things official — we’re help to help.

Key Takeaways
  • The transition from dating to a relationship varies widely among couples, as there's no specific number of dates that determines when it's time to make things official. It's a personal choice influenced by emotional connection, compatibility, and mutual desire to progress the relationship!
  • The key to moving from dating to an official relationship is open and honest communication. Discussing your feelings, intentions, and expectations with your partner is essential, especially when considering becoming exclusive.
  • While not a strict guideline, some individuals prefer the structure of the 10-date rule, which suggests going on ten dates to thoroughly know each other before deciding to enter into a committed relationship.
  • Indicators that you may be ready to move from dating to a relationship include feeling comfortable and authentic around each other, reciprocated feelings, making future plans together, spending significant time together, and seeking each other's advice or support. Everyone moves at their own pace in the early stages of a relationship and that’s okay!

When does dating turn into a relationship? 

Whether you meet on a dating app or the dance floor, the early stages of dating someone are always a thrilling experience! 

As you get to know each other and spend time together, you’ll naturally progress through many dating milestones. From the butterfly-fueled first kiss to the infamous third date, it’s important to test your compatibility and see if you’re ready to progress to the next relationship stage. 

The only way to progress from dating into being an official couple is through communication and having that dreaded ‘What are we?’ talk! If you’re both on the same page and share that emotional connection, then congrats — you’re officially in a committed relationship!

It’s also important to note that casual dating is not a crime! Even if you’re not dating to find a potential partner, dating (and the infamous situationship) can teach you a lot about yourself. 

However, if you want a casual relationship, you need to make that apparent to your dating partner — as they might be thinking you’re moving towards an exclusive relationship if you’re spending that much time together. 

How many dates before making it official? 

So what is the average number of dates before making it official with your partner? 

Ultimately, there is no magic number when it comes to dating — as choosing to enter into a relationship is a very personal choice. While some people jump into a new relationship very early in the dating process, others prefer to build a strong emotional bond before putting an official label on it!

It’s comforting to remember that there are no hard and fast rules around making your relationship official, as every couple moves at their own pace, and that’s totally okay! 

What is the 10-date rule? 

While some people prefer to approach dating without any strict rules, other people like more structure when looking for a potential partner. 

Enter the ‘10-date rule’, where individuals go on 10 dates with their partner before moving forward into a committed romantic relationship. For followers of this rule, this amount of dates allows both partners to spend time getting to know one another (and time to spot any red flags!) before progressing into something more serious. 

The often nerve-wracking first date is an opportunity to test the waters and see if that spark is there. Then if you progress to the second and third date (which not everyone does!), you have the chance to get to know one another on a deeper level. If all goes well, by the fourth date you should feel comfortable together. 

As you progress through each date, more and more milestones (and hurdles) will naturally arise, and you can evaluate how you and your partner feel each step of the way. 

By the tenth date, you should both feel confident in your choice of partner, and ready to dive into a new relationship with your intentions set! 

How do you know when to make it official? 

The amount of time you spend with your partner or the number of dates you go on, differs from couple to couple but everyone knows when it’s finally crunch time. After spending time with your significant other, if you think you’ve found the right person, it’s time to pop that question. 

But how do you know when it’s the right time to make it official? 

Even though it’s tempting to revert to the infamous phrase “when you know, you just know”, we want to provide you with a bit more guidance than that!

The general rule of thumb for these big decisions is tapping directly into how you feel, and of course, how the other person feels! Even though we don’t want to dismiss the concept of love at first sight, any relationship coach will advise you to wait at least a few weeks or a few months before diving into a relationship. 

The most important thing is that you’ve given yourself enough time to get to know one another and to see if you’re really compatible. If you’re still struggling to see if you’re ready to become official, we have a few hints that you’re already well on your way… 

Signs you’re going from dating to a relationship

Comfortable: Feeling like you can be authentically yourself with your partner is an amazing feeling! While you might spend your first few dates fixing your hair or correcting your posture, as you progress, you naturally become more comfortable around each other. If you’re starting to feel more comfortable around your partner, it’s a great sign that you’re ready to take the next step.
Reciprocated feelings: This stage involves the dreaded talk but is an essential stage in any relationship! As you progress through your dates, it’s important to check in with your partner to see how they’re feeling and if they match your energy.
Future plans: While you don’t need to be planning your wedding date quite yet, you should feel more comfortable casually chatting about your future plans. Whether it’s dinner next week, or your next holiday, if it doesn’t feel like a big deal — you’ve probably naturally fallen into a more committed pattern without even realizing it.
Spending a lot of time together: When you’re moving into a more committed stage in a relationship, it’s natural to want to spend as much time together as possible. If you find yourself joined at the hip (and yet still craving more), it’s likely a very good sign!
Lean on each other: Who do you go to for advice? If you find yourself leaning on your partner, or seeking their opinion — it’s a very good omen for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the dating 3 date rule?

    The "3-date rule" is a dating guideline some people use to decide the timing of sexual intimacy in a new relationship. According to this rule, a couple should wait until at least the third date before engaging in sexual activity. The idea behind the rule is to establish a certain level of emotional connection and mutual respect before taking the relationship to a physical level. It's seen as a way to avoid rushing into sexual intimacy but remember that everyone moves at their own pace. As long as you’re both comfortable and consenting, you can engage in physical intimacy whenever it feels right.
  • Is 5 dates too soon to be exclusive?

    Yes and no — it’s entirely up to you and how you feel! While some people prefer to wait 10 dates, or even 20 dates before diving into a relationship, it’s only too soon if you don’t feel ready or are unsure about the person. If you feel like you have a strong emotional connection with someone after 5 dates, then go for it!
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