The Relationship Timeline: The 6 Basic Stages

Relationships are an enviable occurrence in life. Some are serious while others are more fleeting. Each new relationship has a cyclic pattern. Relationships are tough and we all mess up sometimes, so follow the rules of the six stages listed below.

Relationships are an enviable occurrence in life. Some are serious while others are more fleeting.  Each new relationship has a cyclic pattern.  Relationships are tough and we all mess up sometimes, so follow the rules of the six stages listed below.

1. You Just Met

The feelings started with the thought “holy fuck she is hot, let me talk to her,” but grew into much more.  This girl is even more special than the dimepiece you pinned up against the wall while grinding to Jay-Sean.

You likely follow a dating code of ethics.  That means for girls the “I’ll let him contact me” rule and for boys the “wait three days to call” rule (unless of course you’re just trying to get laid).  However, newsflash to you ladies & gents: these rules are stupid, so let me re-write “the game” for you.

  1. Girls: ‘Catch that dog’ – If you’re interested and he hasn’t texted or called you, just text him.  It shows that you are “ready for it,” and if the guy is interested he’ll like it.  It doesn’t need to be a serious three page text, but a simple ‘had fun the other night, it would be great to see you again’ will send the message.
  2. Boys: ‘Use it or lose it’ – Definitely wait a day to text or call. Keep the girl slightly intrigued, but not in the dark. Use her number or throw it away, because she won’t remember who ‘Brian Highlighter Party’ is a week from now.

2. The First Few Dates

If you go on a real date (aka it is ONLY the two of you) – This indicates there is serious interest. More interest than just sex, an actual willingness to get to know one another.  For those not opposed to being in a relationship this is a good start.  A real date involves letting a man be a man and buy the meal, there’s a time and place to reciprocate. #dome

If the date is in group settings you are on the express pathway to friends with benefits.  97.9% of college kids choose to avoid awkward first date moments by having their first date being in a drunk group setting.  Yes, this actually still can turn into a real relationship, but first it will head down the ‘we’re drunk and horny so is it okay to hook up on the first date?’ path. So do what you want kids, but be aware of the rules for stage two:

  1. Do NOT tell me you love me drunk:  In fact don’t even use the L word- ever.
  2. Do NOT ask if it’s okay to have sex without a condom:  This makes me think you have raw dogged our entire university.
  3. No I don’t want to meet your parents.
  4. Keep drunk texting to a minimum.
  5. No we do not have week day sleepovers.

3.  Hooking Up

Welcome to the ‘we’re talking’ phase. ‘Talking’ has a zillion different meanings, but let me clear up the definition for you.  “Talking” means “I like you, I want to keep seeing you, but I’m not you’re girlfriend so if I meet someone better then too bad for you.”  During the “talking” stage everything is new and exciting and you’re beginning to get more comfortable.  It’s also when you really determine whether or not you have enough feelings for each other to keep this moving forward.  If not- there’s two options: stop seeing one another or become friends with benefits.  Keep in mind the rules for stage three:

  1. Get comfortable, but NOT too comfortable: Sure take your shoes and socks off, but don’t you dare put your nasty feet on me.
  2. Quality over quantity: Yes I’d like to spend some quality time with you- no I don’t want to see you every day of the week.
  3. Definitely still don’t want to meet your family.
  4. Make some small sacrifices: If we’re screwing, even if we’re not exclusive you still have to buy me things and make me feel good about it!
  5. Don’t waste my time or yours: If you don’t see this going anywhere be honest- nobody likes liars.

4.  Dumping With The Door Open

Hello relationship status: It’s official you two are exclusively dating.  If you’ve gotten this far you’re definitely out of the honey moon phase and checked backed into reality.  Meaning he has busted prematurely far too many times for you and him not to be on a realistic, “we don’t screw like pornstars anymore” level.  You don’t like everything about them and they don’t like everything about you. Overall, the feelings are real and it’s something you want to give your best shot. Here are the general stage four rules:

  1. You don’t have to “clear history”and you can get rid of your Playboy’s.  You are finally sexually active on the reg!
  2. If you’re going to break up: Don’t do it by shacking up with her sorority sister…or real sister.
  3. Don’t be jealous: Yes, she will have friends of the opposite sex, so chill the fuck out.  However, if his best friend is a blonde with DD tits, be concerned.  Sorry boys, but sometimes life isn’t fair.
  4. Be together, but don’t be the lame couple that never goes out.  You aren’t living in a retirement home so go have fun with your single friends even if you are in a relationship.
  5. At this point grinding with other people is frowned upon, so beware your crazy nights at the bar are gone.

5.  Long Time Commitment

At this point you have been dating for months, even years, and love has evolved.   There are not too many relationship rules anymore. If you’re feeling horny, you say so. If you want head, ask for it.  Here are the stage five guidelines to live by:

  1. Don’t cheat: this is a no brainer.
  2.  Appreciate the small things: take time every once in a while to appreciate the tiny things you do for one another.
  3. Be realistic: If you don’t ever plan on marrying and you don’t think this is the person for you, do yourselves a favor and end it.
  4. Go on birth control:  He doesn’t want to wrap it up anymore and no one wants kids.  So do yourself a favor and take the pill.

6.  Conflict

Most of us see this coming because usually at this point things haven’t been going that great anyway. The issues have mounted so high that you both decide to call it quits. Or maybe just one of you, either way it is over. General Rules:

  1. No you cannot realistically be friends yet- yes it seems like a good idea, I mean you had real feelings for one another, but really this is the stupidest idea ever. Until all those feelings are gone (or at least most of them) and you don’t feel the urge to be a jealous monster when you see them with someone else, you should cut contact. Be friends in the future if you want but not right after a breakup.
  2. Do not Facebook Stalk- this will drive you insane and cause you to send completely ridiculous drunk text messages, especially after you see that picture of him with another girl that you’ve never met – or vice versa. Do yourself a favor and stay away from their page for a while.
  3. Do not Drunk Text- Easier said than done, trust me I am an avid drunk texter. But seriously, seriously do your best to avoid this one. Leave your phone with a friend, take the battery out, or delete their number for the time being. Drunk texting leads to only one road, regret.
  4. Don’t date my friends- This one is obvious. So don’t do it. Ever.

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