The theorem of Pythagoras, whose assassination set off the events leading to the first world war, what the function of mitochondria is, etc… The list of things we are taught in school but never end up needing to know in our adult life is a very long one. And as for the things we wished we had been taught but weren’t, that’s easily an even longer list!

Undoubtedly many people wish that one of those non-existent classes at school were about relationships and love. How much easier would navigating the turbulent waters of the dating pool be if we had been taught relationship dos and don’ts before setting sail in the pursuit of love? Well, we can’t give you a full course on dating but we are able to help with one aspect that many people struggle with: how many dates before relationship status has been achieved.

How Long Does Dating Phase Last?

Dark-haired man and green-haired woman holding their phones which show each other's picture with text bubbles between them.

This question unfortunately has no “one size fits all” answer, and for obvious reasons! Just imagine if there was a rule that said dating absolutely had to last 2 months and then after that, you’re officially an item! You’d feel a lot of pressure to make things work before that deadline right? How long the dating phase lasts will depend on you and your partner and what works for both of you.

There are generally defined stages of dating and successfully making it through each one means that things are on the right track. After the initial meeting, this will hopefully be followed by a period whereby you express mutual interest in knowing each other better. You’re balancing the thrill of the chase with playing hard to get and those complex feelings of mutual infatuation are a strong sign that you are in the “honeymoon” phase. This blissful period generally lasts around 3 to 4 months (although it can, of course, be longer or shorter depending on the couple).

Usually, the period afterwards is when things start to settle and calm down slightly and many people drop the ball here. You are more comfortable with each other and start to look at the bigger picture and your long-term potential together. Patience and communication are essential, especially during this transition period. You most likely don’t want things to fizzle out and lose that spark for each other, but the prospect of being in a long-term relationship can also be a scary idea. Talk to each other about any fears or apprehensions you have in a constructive way and if you are meant to be, you will meet somewhere in the middle!

Signs She Is Developing Feelings

Brunette man and woman lying on the grass in a park and conversing with each other while smiling. It's a sunny day.

An overabundance of hormones raging around inside both of you during those first few weeks can make it tricky to decipher whether she has genuine feelings for you or not. Luckily, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for that show she’s interested! In a nutshell though, they all boil down to the little things that she does:

  • Not constantly being on her phone while around you shows that she is present and focused on enjoying your company
  • Conversations and text exchanges are not one-sided, indicating that she is showing an equal level of interest in you
  • She pays attention to the details - whether it’s something as small as remembering you don’t like tomatoes in a salad or something as big as your birthday
  • You don’t have to wonder what she’s thinking because she is open with you about her thoughts and feelings
  • Consistency and being true to her word are big indicators that she cares - if she says she will do something then she will follow through with it

Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list and everyone is different. People’s feelings and desires manifest in different ways but it’s safe to say that when they act interested and make you feel special, there are genuine feelings behind those actions.

When Should You Ask Her To Be Your Girlfriend?

Red-haired man and woman sitting on two separate windows next to each other. Both of them are holding a yellow rose.

So you’ve made it through the honeymoon phase and there are no signs that you won’t make it as a couple, what next? You are probably thinking about when to pop the big question and to make it official. No, we aren’t talking about marriage! Knowing when to ask her to be your girlfriend is tricky but always remember one thing: patience when dating is crucial.

It can be very tempting to ask her during the honeymoon phase when your emotions are at an all-time high. But very often, once this period subsides and you stop seeing everything through rose-tinted lenses, you can easily feel trapped with each other. The fact that the bliss subsided slightly can even make you second guess your choices.

The best course of action is to see how you both work together when things have calmed down a bit. Will you be able to work through conflict in a healthy way? Are you both open to compromise? Do you build each other up and support each other? If you are both able to make the tough side of a relationship work and aren’t shy about putting in equal amounts of effort, then that’s a pretty good sign that you can make that commitment of being boyfriend and girlfriend!

It’s a pity that we are not taught all the ins and outs of relationships and dating before we venture into those potentially messy waters. But the fact that everyone is so different and expresses things in their own unique ways means that it’s very difficult to give universal advice that will apply to 100% of people.

Generally speaking though, communication and patience are key. Nobody can read minds so if you don’t say how you are feeling or what you’re thinking, how else will they know? It can also be very tempting to get caught up in the moment and want to rush things but remember the age-old aphorism: it is about the journey and not the destination. Enjoy the moment and take things as they come. Grow together and learn about each other at a pace that works for the both of you. If you are meant to be with someone then sooner or later, love will find a way!