The very essence of romance is uncertainty
November 6, 2012 12:59 PM   Subscribe

What's a normal dating progression? Okay, I know there's no normal - how about average?

In the past, my dating has been either one date and it's over, or one date and we move in together (not quite, but you get it). What's a sensible progression? What are milestones or signs that it's working well? What am I trying to ask here?

I am dating a nice guy - we've got past the first five dates, and the sex is awesome, and there's plenty of daily emails. I just don't want to rush things and spoil it. So how does this work?

I don't want any PUA or The Rules bullshit, just sensible approaches to something I don't have any real practice in.

If it helps, I'm 45, female, Australian, atheistic with no urge to remarry.
posted by b33j to Human Relations (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I think the "one date and it's over" is pretty normal. A lot of times, you can tell you're incompatible right away.

Most people I know move together when (a) they feel comfortable and (b) one or both of them have to move anyway because a lease is up or a roommate is moving out. My personal rule of thumb (I'm in my mid-20s and only on my second LTR, so YMMV) is to wait until the new relationship energy is over before deciding if I want to move in with someone (even if I do in the beginning, very much). This usually takes me 3 to 6 months for me.

I'm really against The Rules. So I will say what's on my mind usually. If I like someone, I say it (sometimes with a preface: "this doesn't have to mean anything long term, but I wanted to let you know I like you a lot"). I figured, if it scares someone off, then they're not really the right one for me.
posted by ethidda at 1:06 PM on November 6, 2012

I'd consider starting a conversation with him that goes "I really like you and this is working for me, I just don't want to rush things and spoil it. How do you feel about this? What should we do next?"

The important thing will be what works best for the two of you, not for some hypothetical average not-you.
posted by mhoye at 1:06 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Uh, no, I'm not talking about pushing for a permanent relationship. I want to know what happens between first date and feeling like pushing for a permanent relationship.
posted by b33j at 1:08 PM on November 6, 2012

You keep dating to see what he's like in different circumstances. The job interviewee of the first few dates will stop being on his best behavior and you'll get to see a better picture of what he's like when he's happy, sad, tired, wired and everything in between.

Just do a lot of different things and enjoy yourself.
posted by inturnaround at 1:18 PM on November 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

You keep dating until you're not having any fun anymore.

You do more and varied dates. Not just movies, dinner or hanging out, but traveling.

Husbunny and I met July 2001, and traveled like crazy right after 9/11. We married in August 2002. I think all that travel and all that togetherness helped us realize that we were going to be happy together.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:22 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

This question is complicated. What feels normal for some people doesn't feel normal for others, and what IS common for one group of people is totally different for another. How people do things in Austrailia verses Europe, how they do things at 18 verses 65- it's all going to change what is going to feel natural to you and your community- AND that's not even taking into consideration your (or his) personal boundries.

My Father and his new wife got together in their 40s. They are from the Midwestern states in America. They dated for about six months before she moved in, then they lived together for ten years before they married. This is totally 'normal.'

I got together with my boyfriend in my late twenties. We dated for a month before becoming "official", then moved in together a little shy of a year. This is totally 'normal.'

My friends from south texas (in america) married after knowing each other a year (engaged after six months) and didn't move in together until they were married. This is totally 'normal.'

My buddies born and raised in brooklyn dated for six months before becoming "official." They then were together for three years before moving in together. This is totally 'normal.'

Dont be afraid to explore this question with the dude in question. What does he see as normal? what does he see as rushing in?
posted by Blisterlips at 1:28 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

>>Dont be afraid to explore this question with the dude in question.
This feels a bit like putting him on the spot / rushing it - as if I had an agenda.
posted by b33j at 2:07 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just date someone until you feel like there is no chemistry? Honestly a lot of people I know who rush things and move into together really fast, those types of relationships end sooooo badly. Do not move in with someone unless you have been together for 2 years. It may seem like a long time for some people, but do you want to be in a situation where you "fall out of love" with someone you just moved in with? heck no. Take it easy! I say "slow and steady wins the race" :)
posted by Autumn89 at 2:24 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Picnics, short trips, meeting some friends, trading books, sleeping over, general frolic. Just enjoy yourself.
posted by ead at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2012

I agree that there's no one pattern. However, what has gone among my friends has been a month or two of dating before some kind of exclusivity conversation (whether it's one month or two depends on how much they see each other during that time period and the degree of limerence present). Then at least a year before the next stage. During our younger days, this stage may last 2-5 years. Now that everyone is in their 30's, by the one year mark, some sort of movement is happening. Either people move in together, talk seriously about marriage, get engaged, or break up because they don't want to waste time with someone who isn't serious. I would imagine that by people's 40's, this changes again because no one is in a rush to have kids anymore and there are a lot of people who are wary because they've been married before.

Again, there is no normal, but just wanted to provide this anecdote from my circle of friends.
posted by superfille at 3:39 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thanks. It's a bit unusual for me not to have a plan for every area of my life, but okay. I'll just date until it's not fun anymore. I can do that.
posted by b33j at 3:58 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are asking for stages in the relationship, as opposed to how to evaluate your specific one, the progression for me is usually something like this:

- Start dating
- Kiss if it goes well
- Keep dating
- He comes over for the evening as opposed to going out somewhere
- Keep dating
- Have a conversation about whether you are exclusive/removing your profile off daying site etc
- Keep dating
- An overnight
- Keep dating
- A weekend
- Now we are serious
- Stay serious until something changes
posted by JoannaC at 1:27 PM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

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