What To Expect After 6 Weeks Of Dating — Where You Should Be
- Learn what important things to look for after 6 weeks of dating.
- Identify red flags early in the relationship and when to take them seriously.
- Know where you stand in their life, and when to cut it off completely.
- The Initial Rush
- Practical Realities
- On Your Way to Becoming Exclusive
- Glamour vs. Transparency
- Red Flags Waving
- Don’t Panic – It’s Organic
The Initial Rush
We all love those first, heady weeks of dating someone new. You’re likely to see your new person in the brightest, shiniest, most optimistic light. The things they say are fresh and entertaining, the (possible) sex is novel and exciting, and all the ways in which you’re compatible seem to be lit up in neon – this could really be the one!
Everyone has her own pace, of course. While the infatuation stage often lasts much longer than six weeks, there are certain things that most people find changing around that point. It may be too soon to know whether this is a forever romance, but probably not too soon to see if you’re ready – and they’re ready – to take dating someone to the next level.
It’s also an excellent time to take stock of any potential red flags. The more serious a relationship gets, the more difficult it becomes to remain objective. Good judgment can take a back seat to build emotional attachment as you become enmeshed and invested.
By the 6-week point, you probably have nearly as much information as you need. In all likelihood, you’ve had 10 dates with one another. You’ve probably been to a few restaurants. You may have met each other’s friends. You’ve quite possibly slept together, although it’s not recommended before you determine your relationship status.
You may have seen some red flags as well. You may have seen him be testy with the waitstaff. You may have heard him snore. You may have decided you really like, or hate, his friends.
You should be having real talks about real things by now. It’s normal to want him to communicate that he’s interested in you, whether by the way he listens to your words, his desire to spend increasing time with you, or his articulation of a real commitment.
It’s still the beginning of a relationship, but it’s not too early to have some hope about it becoming deeper and more committed.
On Your Way to Becoming Exclusive
Studies seem to indicate that the average time to become exclusive with someone you’re dating is around 3 months, but the truth is that you should already become boyfriend/girlfriend within the first two months. Any longer than that indicates one or both people who are deeply ambivalent about commitment to each other.
By the 6-week point, you can expect to know a fair amount about his communication style. Does he text, call, or message you when you’re not together? Can he keep a conversation going? Does he check in with you about events you’ve talked about (the raise you were expecting at work, your sister’s baby shower, the presentation you were going to give)? Does he ask you about future plans? This is a good indication of how invested in you, your life, and your relationship together he might be. It’s also a good time to figure out how much contact and communication you need to feel good, and whether his style fits yours.
Are your time commitments starting to get in sync? People who are interested in being together carve out time for one another. If one of you keeps suggesting times for dates, and the other is always busy, this isn’t a strong sign for a future together. One-way prioritization leaves you pining for more, and you may recognize at this point that you may never have the level of communication you need.
At six weeks, you are still getting to know each other, and both of you should be putting your best efforts in. It’s certainly way too soon to be taking one another for granted. He wants to know more about you, what you feel about things, what makes you happy, and the same is true for you with him. Although you may not yet have had sex, if you have, you’ll have a sense of physical compatibility. You should have a certain comfort level with each other’s sexuality and body, even if that means accepting a decision not to be sexual yet.
Shared experiences help to cement relationships. At this point, you should be one another’s go-to for any plus-one events. Being invited is another indicator that he wants to spend time with you and maybe even establish you two as an official couple with friends and family.
Glamour vs. Transparency
In those first exciting but scary weeks, you both want to present your best selves. But by now, the scales begin to tip in favor of honesty. Instead of hiding your real life beneath a veneer of marketing, both of you will start to be more comfortable with the “warts and all” approach.
He may see you without makeup, and you find out he lives in sweats whenever he’s not at work. You reveal your secret love for romance novels while he lets you know that Thursdays are for video games. Accepting one another for who you really are is an important step in an authentic long-term relationship. Being able to tell the truth about yourself is key to future intimacy. If either of you is still unwilling to share your less attractive qualities, or is judgmental about anything less than perfection, it could be time to examine why.
Red Flags Waving
In every relationship I’ve ever been in, the red flags were visible six weeks in. I just sometimes chose to ignore them. This is the perfect time to notice them and take them seriously. You’re not so completely invested that it’s hard to back out, and you’re far enough along that the rosy glow that’s blinded you may have dimmed just slightly.
Is he overly possessive, expressing jealousy when you want to see friends or do something without him? Is he always busy unless it’s on his terms? Some of the most toxic personalities can “love bomb” you, making you think you’re the most important thing in the world, but this may have started to wear off once he thinks he has you on the hook.
How do the two of you handle conflict and stress together? Do you have compatible styles in these situations? If you have a slight disagreement, does it escalate quickly, or have you both developed healthy coping strategies for conflict?
Are your overall values and goals aligned? Whether it’s a future with or without children, a deep investment in religion, or the desire to live abroad, this is a good time to test the waters on things that are really important to you. If he doesn’t want to talk about anything serious or future-oriented, that can be a good indication that you are not currently on the same page.
Does it feel one-sided in either direction? Mutual attraction and mutual respect are the cornerstones of a strong future.
Don’t Panic – It’s Organic
Although six weeks is a while, it’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things. So if you’re not exclusive yet, it may not be the end of things. Relationships have an organic way of developing, and no two people have the same timeline.
At the same time, if you’ve gone six weeks and you still haven’t taken down your profiles or called each other boyfriend/girlfriend, it’s close to the time for you to have “the conversation.” If he’s still unsure, you may want to give it a few more weeks, but if he’s completely dismissive, well you have your answer, and not too much time invested. Be sure to listen carefully – believe the negatives. Guys who want to be your boyfriend try to claim that status quickly. Guys who don’t will create an endless array of excuses about why they’re not ready.
It’s good to take them at their word if they say they don’t want anything more than what you’re currently doing. At that point, it’s up to you to decide whether you like how things are and are okay with them staying this way, or whether it’s time to move on amicably.
Hint: if you don’t know where you stand with him after 6-8 weeks and all you get are texts and one date a week, that’s probably all he wants from you. Better to cut bait and find a man who wants to integrate you into his life, rather than relegating yourself to be the once-a-week hookup.