When do you go from dating to a relationship

The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.

How will the story stack up against the greatest films about business?

The thing is, you can make any excuse you like when you really fancy, or even love someone.

“They’re still getting over their ex,” “they just need more time,” or (ugh) “they’re scared of commitment,” but the fact is when someone meets the right person, they can’t propose marriage, or a joint rental agreement quick enough.

One friend (who wishes to remain anonymous lest her non-boyfriend reads this) explains: “I’ve been seeing this guy for four months now – we’re dating and see each other a couple of times a week.

However, if anyone refers to me as his girlfriend in front of him, the colour drains from his face.

A survey carried out last year by dating website ‘Seeking Arrangements’ found that most couples tend to say ‘I love you’ after 14 dates – or seven weeks (the average number of dates per week was two).

Similarly, most new couples introduced each other to friends for the first time after six dates or three weeks, and that people are most likely to introduce their new boy or girlfriend to their parents after 12 dates or six weeks.

While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.

But the fact is – and this is something I’ve had to learn the hard way – if one of you isn’t calling it a relationship, Then. Yes, I could hang around, try and coax them into it, or just generally refuse to go away until it becomes easier for them to give in – but who wants to do that?

That’s like being awarded a relationship through squatter’s rights.

So, let me help you out with some suggestions next time you’re asked to define your non-relationship: “Well Gran, it’s funny you should ask, there is someone on the scene, we’re: sleeping together/seeing each other/dating/friends with benefits/friends (apparently the same as friends with benefits, but twice as infuriating) /having an affair (it’s unfortunate when, after 12 dates you discover that his reticence to define your relationship is down to his previously unmentioned wife) or wasting each other’s time until something better comes along.” I agree that technology – evil, brain-sapping technology – might play its part here. When I asked for further clarification as to what we were doing he said “We’re friends - you’re my friend.” Hilariously, when the article in question came out, a couple of my other exes read the piece and took credit for that particular quote (hint: it was none of them), which is a sorry example of quite how often I've gone down that particular road. My new rule is, eight weeks – if someone won’t call it after eight weeks, then I’m out of there.

We can be in touch with our potential paramours all the time – via texts, on Facebook, on email – and this constant contact can be misleading – giving us the impression that we’re embroiled in something much more meaningful than we really are. My reasoning being that if someone doesn’t feel strongly enough about me after a couple of months, then they’re never going to feel strongly enough for me to spend time and energy on them.

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