Breaking it Down: What Are the Stages of the Dating Process?

Building a genuine romantic connection takes time. Love doesn’t blossom overnight! When you’re single and hoping to meet someone new, you might be eager to skip over the early stages of a relationship. In fact, when you encounter someone who you’re interested in, you may start dreaming about your future together, before you even know much about them.

But it’s important to appreciate every stage of your romantic journey with a new partner. Each phase brings something new to enjoy, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about your partner and deepen your connection. Wondering what to expect when you meet someone new?

Let’s break down the major stages of the romantic journey.

Initial Attraction

Maybe you bump into someone friendly at the grocery store or start chatting with somebody on a fun night out. Or perhaps you notice an attractive photo while using a dating app.

No matter what the scenario is, you know those butterflies. The initial attraction is the feeling you get when you meet somebody who piques your interest. Suddenly, they’re on your mind all the time, and all you want to do is spend time with them. You’re distracted, you’re excited, and you’re infatuated with your potential new partner.

Forming a Connection

You’ve both introduced yourselves, and now you’re spending time together. Maybe this special someone has asked you on a date, or maybe you made the first move. Either way, you’re beginning to form a real connection that is based on something deeper than those early butterflies.

Maybe you’ll even get to meet each other’s friends and family members. This stage is all about finding out if you’re really right for each other and navigating the uncertainty that comes with meeting someone new.

Becoming Exclusive

At some point, you and the object of your affection will have a discussion about whether you want to become exclusive. If you both feel the same way about each other, it’s time to stop seeing other people for casual dates and delete the dating apps from your phones.

Taking the leap can be hard, but if you’re with someone who genuinely cares about you, it’s worth it! Deciding to be exclusive is an important choice, and it marks a new stage in your journey together. You’re focused on each other now, and you’re exiting the “dating scene.”

Building Intimacy

Throughout your relationship, you will learn more about your partner, and they will learn more about you. Sometimes, you’ll still surprise each other, even after you’ve been together for years. You’ll get comfortable being more vulnerable in front of each other.

At some point, you might decide to move in together. During this stage, you’re joining your lives together, and you’re figuring out whether this person is someone who you could see yourself spending the rest of your life with.

Engagement and Marriage

Finally, if you and your partner know you want to build a future together, you’re ready to make the ultimate commitment: engagement and marriage. When one partner says “Yes” to the other’s proposal, you’re making a promise to stand by each other.

But even once you’re married, the journey doesn’t stop! It’s important to keep trying new things, going on dates, and making an effort to surprise each other in order to keep the spark alive. As the years go on, your bond will grow deeper. A truly loving marriage can change both partners for the better.

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