It often feels like we live in a time of instant hook-ups and instant break-ups. True love gets put off and people say romance is dead. Can you prove the nay-sayers wrong?
You need to recognize, be proud of, and celebrate your relationship milestones – the big ones and the small ones. Getting into a relationship might feel as easy as swiping right, but it’s staying in a committed relationship that’s the real deal.
We all know what a relationship milestone is – that big event or occasion that moves your relationship forward, such as:
- Meeting the parents
- Saying “I love you”
- First-year anniversary
- Getting engaged
- Buying a house together
- Having a child
So which ones should you celebrate? Apart from the traditional relationship milestones, there are many others you should be celebrating. Way before getting married, let’s look at some of the “rites of passage” that really matter in a relationship.
Here are the 18 ultimate relationship milestones you should be proud of.
1. Giving each other pet names
Pet names are words of endearment that exist between the two of you. They can be as ordinary as “babe” and as quirky as “munchkin”. They are a unique way of expressing love and affection towards one another.
Giving each other pet names is the ultimate first step in signaling to others that you are exclusive. Some couples also develop a sort of “couple speak” full of inside jokes and shared idioms.
2. Public displays of affection
The first time you kiss in public is a huge relationship milestone because it solidifies your relationship in the eyes of society. When the relationship is really new, it can be hard to gauge when the perfect time for PDA is or whether your partner is even up for it.
The same goes for holding hands for the first time. It’s a really special moment that might feel awkward before it feels completely normal.
3. Becoming exclusive
You’re not really a couple unless you’ve had “the talk” and made it official. You know that it’s better to be on the same page, therefore, this one is a big milestone to be proud of.
Agreeing to be exclusive, especially in this day and age, is a big reassurance that you are both off dating apps and want to give this relationship a real try.
4. Making it social media official
Even if you don’t really care about social media, you’ve got to admit that a lot of people do. Like the cool kids say: if it’s not on social media, it doesn’t exist. Therefore, making it social media official (whether that’s a selfie on Instagram or changing your relationship status on Facebook) is a big deal.
Not only that, but if your boyfriend has nothing against making it social media official, you know you are a step closer to meeting his family and friends and he’s not trying to hide you or get back with his ex. He’s well and truly with you.
5. Meeting the friends
Meeting each other’s friends is one of the biggest milestones at the start of your relationship. It’s likely that you will be nervous about it, and so will they.
The same goes for you when you first introduce your boyfriend to your friends. You want them to love him and get along, so you’ll be super eager to hear their feedback after.
A word of warning – remember that your friends are not dating him, so even if they are not initially crazy about him, what really matters is that you are.
6. Your first fight…and making up
It’s inevitable that you and your boyfriend will get into an argument at some point in your relationship. There’s nothing to panic about! It’s bound to happen; the question is how you will both react to it and how quickly you can make up.
Your first fight can help you learn a lot about each other, including:
- Communication style
- How you handle conflict
- Any revealing discussion points
If you come out the other side stronger and happier together, it will certainly push your relationship forward.
7. The ex-talk
One day you will have to talk about your ex-partners. Some couples try to avoid this topic altogether, but eventually, it will surface. Conventional dating advice will almost always tell you that it’s not a good idea to bring up the past, but if you do, it’s a big milestone.
First, you will know that your boyfriend likes you enough to trust you with his past, including mistakes and heartbreak. It’s also a sign that he’s in a healthy place about his ex and isn’t pining over her.
Second, some relationships have had a significant impact on you, so it’s important to acknowledge that and be open about it.
Third, you are both grown-ups and should be able to talk about anything and everything. No topic should be off-limits.
8. Attending a work event together
This is a huge milestone because it mixes work with personal life. It also needs to come with a warning. If you attend your boyfriend’s work event, or he comes to yours, you are telling everyone that you are together. Make sure you’re really committed before you do this!
If you are your boyfriend are at that stage, great! You’ve got someone to rely on if the event is really boring or you get stuck talking to a colleague you don’t like.
9. The first time someone farts
Let’s be honest – when you first start dating someone you promise yourself never to fart in front of them, to always look your best, and never use their toilet for number two. But as time progresses, you are bound to break those lovely rules and embrace your authentic self.
The first time someone farts is probably one of the most embarrassing yet hilarious moments in a relationship. It’s also when you realize that the other person really doesn’t care because it’s completely normal. This is a true sign of a serious relationship!
10. The first time you travel together
They say the best test for a relationship is to travel together, and that’s certainly true. It’s one of the biggest milestones because it incorporates so many different things, including:
- Project management and organizing the trip
- Being on the same page about where to go and what kind of trip it will be
- Navigating the unfamiliar together
- Dealing with bad WIFI or delayed flights
- Being together 24/7
- Learning about each other’s habits, quirks, and pet peeves
In that sense, the sooner you plan a trip together, the better for the relationship – it will either be a success or a disaster, but at least you will know who you are dealing with.
11. Giving each other a key
When you don’t live together, you will be bouncing between staying over at his, or him staying over at yours. Slowly but surely, you will start leaving things at each other’s places out of convenience.
The day you give him a key (or he gives you one) is a big milestone. It’s all about trust and recognizing that this relationship is serious, so then the key is (pun intended) to make it as logistically easy as possible to see each other and stay over.
12. Spending a major holiday together
Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, this milestone can fill any couple with dread because it usually comes with spending time with family and extended family, which can be really intense.
Surviving your first major holiday together will bring you closer as a couple unlike anything else. Even if the holiday is really intense and you can’t wait to get it over with, at least it will give you some perspective as to what you and he want to have in the future and what holiday traditions you want to look forward to.
13. Adopting a pet together
This is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but if you already live together and have been going strong for a few years, then why not? As long as you both agree to put in the effort to take care of your pet, this could be a lovely next step in your relationship.
14. Shopping for furniture together
Whether you are choosing a new couch for your living room, or a brand-new fitted kitchen, this milestone is on a whole other level. Not only will it make you feel like true adults, but it will also introduce a new dynamic in your relationship.
You might find out that your tastes are polar opposites, or that you align perfectly (if you are lucky). Either way, a lot of these things just take practice, but the first time will probably be very memorable.
15. First time someone is ill
The first time you see your partner ill is a big milestone. Not only will you realize what he looks like when he feels poorly, but you’ll also have to be the one to take care of him. Arm yourself with patience – man flu hits differently. If he becomes a whiney, needy person overnight, you will see a side to him that you didn’t even know existed.
16. Have a conversation about the future
No relationship milestones list would be complete without talking about the future. The talk will probably take place while you are both lying in bed and is least planned. However, it might be over dinner when you’ve both had a bit to drink and are feeling brave enough to bring it up.
The significance of this milestone is considerable because it will highlight where you both are on your relationship path, how serious you are about each other, and whether you see yourselves being together in the near (and not so near) future.
A few topics for this conversation include:
- Where you see yourselves living
- Whether you want children
17. Getting engaged
This will be one of the happiest days of your life, and one you might think will never come. Men do like to take their time, don’t they? He might be thinking about proposing, but between thinking it, being ready for it, choosing a ring, and proposing, you could be looking at anything from a few months to a year and a half.
When he finally pops the question, it’s going to become your biggest relationship milestones, and it’s definitely worth celebrating with friends and family!
18. Getting married
The happiest day of your life, walking down the aisle, surrounded by your nearest and dearest. Getting married is not just the day you throw a huge (and very expensive) party to celebrate your love, it’s also a huge commitment and a legal obligation.
Then, celebrating your wedding anniversary becomes an annual event. Congratulations if you’ve reached this relationship milestone!
Every couple celebrates different relationship milestones. For some men those might be:
- Seeing her naked for the first time
- Going to a sports event for the first time
- Buying a car together
For her those could be:
- Going make-up less in front of him for the first time
- Moving in together
- Having a baby
Whatever milestones in your relationship you wish to acknowledge, be proud of them, as they make you who you are as a couple!