The countdown to committal

Edging your way into a new relationship can be rife with lots of wonderful and scary emotions!

The nervous butterflies, the exhilarating first kiss, the giddy highs of holding hands…but how do you know when someone should stop being a dating dalliance and you should commit to courtship?

While many of us choose to hunt down a prospective other than dating sites, the choice of filters and options to narrow down your search doesn’t mean that the overall process is any more comfortable.

When is it safe to notch-up your relationship status?

Any dating territory is filled with pitfalls and problems – the key one being – when is it safe to notch-up your relationship status?

Playing the field, just seeing each other, casual dating, being exclusive…who knew that romance had so many categories? So, let’s look at how to navigate your way through this emotive minefield. So, what are the key phases and the main differences between the stages of finding a significant other?

Casual Dating

The primary indicator of casual dating is your approach and the thought process surrounding your short-time suitor. Casual dating is based in the ‘here and now’ – there is no crucial investment in developing any emotions or future time with someone, one (or both) may be dating other people and there are a definite ‘no strings attached’ air about any liaison.


If you find yourself toting titles or you’ve had ‘the chat’ about edging-forward exclusively – then you’re in this bracket. Talking about where you are at present and referencing yourself as a couple is a crucial pointer that you’re ready to upgrade your status to exclusive.

Ready For A Relationship

So, what’s the difference between being exclusive and being in a relationship? Generally, the two primary markers are the two big F’s: Future and Feelings. Those in a relationship will commit to a future with their beau, take-on those responsibilities associated with being someone’s partner, be understanding of each other’s needs and feelings and be willing to be authentic and vulnerable with one another.

How many dates should you go on before you ratify your relationship?

So now we are clear on the categories of dating, let’s look at the big question: How many dates should you go on before you ratify your relationship?

10 Is The Magic Number

If you’re one for facts and figures, then the love experts say that ten dates are the optimum number of times you should make rendezvous with your romancer before thinking about labelling anything as a ‘relationship’. The science behind the number 10 is that you’ve invested enough time to get to know a person without too much any emotional attachment.

Is it time to label your love interest as something more?

But the truth is we are all different. We all want different things from our prospective others, and our individual experiences and stages in life mean that we inevitably move at different paces. So, if you’re unsure whether its time to label your love interest as something more – then have a look at the following guide on how to tell if you’re ready to say so-long to your single status.

Go With Your Gut

If you’re a fan of an adage, then you’ll be familiar with the classic “when you know you know!”.

There is no harm in being in touch with how you feel, but there is also no guarantee that your feelings will be reciprocated either. Trust your instincts about your potential future with someone but also don’t assume too quickly that there is a future to be had, especially if you haven’t discussed it with them.

Honesty is vital but also remember not to confuse those first flushes of romantic excitement with something more concrete.

Quality Versus Quantity

Don’t merely zoom through the idea of 10 solid dates so you can update your Facebook status.

The quality of your dates should always take precedence over the quantity of them. Make sure you vary your activities so you can see the full scope of another person’s personality and your suitability with them. Do something competitive like bowling, do something creative like a pottery class; find activities where you need to be comfortably quiet, or open and honest – even something that may spark controversy.

Dating is a time to really get to know the other person, so find ways to best reflect this.

Time Apart

  • Don’t just consider your time together – but think about your time apart.
  • Does absence make the heart grow fonder or cause tension, disinterest or frustration?
  • How you handle the emotions that come alongside being separated will tell you a lot about your suitability in the long-term and this indicator of compatibility may be the maker or breaker of whether you’re going to last the long-haul.

Talk It Out

Communication is vital, whether you intend to be dating someone long- term or only as a bit of fun. Being transparent and talking honestly is
essential to protect, not only your own interests and emotions but also that of the other person.

Honestly talking is the only way in which you can categorically know which dating category you’re in and whether your liaison may have longevity.

The heart of the matter

There is no one perfect formula for how a relationship develops but we have given you some of the key elements to help you figure out the status quo of your relationship status.

If you want to declare yourself in a relationship immediately, and you and your suitor are both on the same page – then great! If you choose never to add a label to your love then do that too!

The most significant and most important factors to take away from this are that within any situation, you need to be sure of the following:

  • You can be your authentic self
  • You can trust the other person wholeheartedly
  • You are in a place where you can communicate honestly, and, of course…
  • There is chemistry

Part of dating is to navigate your way through all of the feelings – be it exciting, wonderful, scary and uncertain, but above all, make sure you take the time to listen to both your heart and your head.

Find a family law solicitor now!

Our expert family law solicitors are located across the UK and provide advice on family law issues such as relationship, children, divorce and separation.

This site uses cookies to make it more useful and reliable. See our privacy policy. Do not use this site if you do not consent to our use of cookies.