Everyone has to meet to date. That will always be true, whether it is 1918, 2019, or 50 years from now—you have to meet to date. Meeting, of course, looks different now than it did in the past. You can “meet” someone on Twitter and be “friends” with them for six years before ever physically meeting in person.
Stage 2: Establishing a Crush
Crushes are fun but also, well, potentially crushing. Developing feelings for someone is usually the fun part, but by the time you realize you have a bonafide crush, the complications have settled in. Maybe the person you’re into is dating someone else. Maybe they’re straight and you are not.
Stage 3: Declaring a Crush
Perhaps just as important as having a crush, is making it known to the person you’re crushing on. This stage is super important because it makes or breaks the future. Maybe your [friend, coworker, stranger in a bar, person on a dating app, longtime Twitter mutual] has feelings for you too. Great! If so, you’re onto the next step. But maybe they don’t. Maybe the whole saga ends here.
Stage 4: The Awkwardness
This stage is hard to know but almost all of us have been here. Regardless of if you just met or have known each other for a super long time but have finally taken the next step, there is most likely going to be an awkward stage at the beginning of your dating relationship.
Stage 5: The First Date(s)
While this can be a stage that occurs simultaneously with the awkward stage, it’s a definite major stage in dating. You have to have a first “date” in some sense of the word. Even if your first date is just the two of you hanging out on a couch drinking wine and watching television—if it happens post-feelings declaration, it counts.
Stage 6: The “What Are We?” Stage
Maybe everyone’s least favorite stage, “What Are We?” is frequently called “defining the relationship” or the “exclusive relationship talk.” After hanging out or dating for awhile, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to decide what you’re doing. Is this just casual? Are we just hanging out? Are we seeing other people? Do you want to see other people? Are you in love? There are so many questions that go into defining the relationship.
Stage 7: The Lovey Dovey Stage
Not every serious couple has to be in love, of course. However, chances are if you have successfully managed the other stages, you will eventually meet this one head-on. Being in love is incredible. It’s such a special feeling to love and be loved in return.
Stage 8: Being a Partner
The “final” stage (because real relationships really have no end or final stage) looks drastically different for so many people. Maybe partnership for you means a long-term relationship that’s never legally bound. Maybe this means an engagement and a marriage and kids and everything that comes along with it.