Understanding the Stages of “Dating” + How To Tell When It’s Time To Move Forward

Is this post really relevant? Some may think not and to just “go with the flow.” But to others, meaning the ones who’ve been STUCK in the same position – no progression – no growth, yes, this is for you. Understanding the different stages/phases of dating can be helpful and should be helpful. Knowing that it’s finally time to move into a committed relationship when your partner is not quite ready, can be tough. You know I’m right, right? I hope this helps.


  1. Meeting, attraction → infatuation 
  2. Getting to know each other, learning
  3. Dating exclusively
  4. Growth (spiritual, meeting families, etc.)
  5. Healthy Commitment → preparing for the future

Let’s break it down.

1. Meeting, discovering the attraction – For some, it may take only one day to know for sure if you’re truly attracted to he/she. For others, maybe a week to 3 months. Scenario: You see him noticing you. You think he’s appealing (nicely groomed, gorgeous smile, gentleman, and charming), so you’re hooked. You want to know more. You want to make the exchange for further communication.

2. Getting to know each other, learning – Obviously you’re interested. You feel that the potential is high and you’re anticipating more. It’s time to move the “working relationship” a little further. Seeing he/she in a group setting is one of the best ways to get to know them. You learn how they act/react towards certain situations and get a feel for that person. You begin to learn or discover if you’re comfortable around them and vice versa. You talk freely and in younger couples, you enjoy staying up all night long talking to him/her. For most couples, this stage is the most exciting one. This is also the most important stage for honesty as you’re getting to know all of the personal deets.

3. Dating exclusively – Meaning you are absolutely not keeping your love interest a secret. You take he/she out on romantic dates consistently. And you enjoy that without expecting anything in return. You find out their flaws and differences but ultimately realize that you want to look past all that and take them as they are. This is major and is also apart of the growth and maturity process. If you’re truly interested in someone, you’ll look past the downfalls.

4. Growth – This could range from attending church together (praying together) to doing activities together such as weekly cooking or working out. You’re still learning and getting to know each other, but more on an intimate level. By now, he/she should know the “real” you. At this point you feel like you’re falling head over heels. You meet all types of family members from immediate to extended. It’s cordial and you feel even more comfortable being “you” around your partner.

5. Healthy Commitment/Preparing for the future – Now it’s time for the real test. You definitely should know by now if you want a long term relationship with the person you’ve been dating. You’re willing to give your all and make the necessary transition. The foundations of trust/honesty, and integrity have been laid to its highest degree. You begin to move forward naturally without any doubts, uncertainties, and/or setbacks.


Things to remember: All relationships have different progressions. It may take longer for certain couples to make it to the 5th phase but it will happen over time with patience and clear understanding. One thing you should not let happen is prolong something that you know may never happen (i.e. he/she just may not be right for you). However, you’re the only one that can sort that out for yourself. Basically, don’t waste anyone’s time. Know that after the 3 month mark, the excitement slows down a little, but if you really want to move forward, you’ll know by then. I always like to believe that if nothing has changed by 3 months and you don’t feel like it will grow, just leave it alone. This period is about getting to know the person enough to decide whether you want to continue. Simple.