Dating For 9 Months: Where Should Your Relationship Be?

When you’ve been dating for 9 months, it’s safe to assume that you should be in a pretty good place with your partner. You’re out of the honeymoon stage and into a phase that’s more serious and potentially long-term. So what should be happening at this point in your relationship?

  1. Your communication is on point. Well, it’s much better anyway. You might think that you had the communication channels down around the one-month mark, but that was optimistic and stems from a desire to have the perfect relationship immediately. However, once you’ve overcome a few fights and tense moments and just lived as a couple, you realize how much more information and situations you need to ensure effective communication. Patience is key, and so is listening. We all know that, but we have to practice what we preach sometimes. Start to recognize other people’s trigger points and anticipate your partner’s needs more. You’ll feel much more confident planning things for them or engineering surprises because you know what they’ll like and what they need. It’s very satisfying.
  2. You’ve made it through a few arguments. This is important. So important. I once had a friend proudly tell me that her boyfriend had never upset her and that they’d never had a fight. On two counts, this made me suspicious. Either he made her feel like she couldn’t get angry or find fault in him or she thinks that herself. Or, she has been angry with him but just not wanted to speak her mind. There’s no value in that. You need to be able to have arguments in order to assert your boundaries. It’s a way of drawing a line in the sand and outlining your breaking points. It’s very easy to learn from them, it’s only when you have recurring arguments that you need to start looking inwards.
  3. You’ve told your family about them. This might feel like a big step for some people. Others who tell their families when they go on first dates won’t understand, but if you’re an introvert, announcing that you care about a new person is very hard. That’s why it’s a big step when you do reveal that information. If around the 9-month stage your partner’s parents haven’t been told about you, that’s a red flag. Either they don’t want to show you around the relatives or they’re so repressed that they’re not really ready for a relationship. Simply put, you aren’t responsible for their emotions all the time.
  4. You’ve met the parents. If you haven’t told your parents about your partner, then you certainly aren’t encouraging them to meet. That’s an issue. After 9 months of dating, you should have met the parents a few times, casually and more formally. It shows that you care about them and want to be part of your partner’s life. It might be that your partner doesn’t want you to know them, but again, that’s not the conversation you should be having.
  5. You’re ready to go on a trip together. Plan this one more, save together, and align your future goals. It shows that you’re committed to each other and see ways of gaining new experiences and memories together. When you plan in advance, it shows that you both have faith in the relationship and trust each other. Or, it can be spontaneous and easy. That’s when you know you’re in the right place. The right person will encourage you to try new things, not just refuse to compromise.
  6. You’ve appeared on their friend’s close friends’ Instagram accounts. This is a very satisfying way of knowing that your partner’s friends approve of you and your relationship. Also, it’s a wonderful way of making new friends and contacts. You share a common friend in your partner anyway, so who’s surprised when you do hit it off? There’s never a dull moment when you have the common ground to keep the conversation flowing. It’s a nice way of seeing who influenced your partner and made them who you are. At the 9-month stage, you should be interested in getting to these stages of intimacy and connection.
  7. You know how you feel about them. Or know more, anyway. The 9-month dating stage is all about knowing that you need to know more, but knowing that realistically you know as much as you need to know now. You have covered most of the ground that will be covered, and now you can think about ways to pioneer new spaces in the future together.
  8. You have space to build. You might be feeling claustrophobic if you’ve been in the same spaces for nine months. That’s why it is so important to keep moving, evolving, and challenging each other. Consider having even bigger conversations, like long-term trips, moving in, and finding new ways to commit to each other. That’s a hallmark of all successful relationships.
  9. Dating other people isn’t even a thought. You’ve left the whole “should I play the field?” question well in the past months ago. You both know that you’re only interested in being with each other and that no one else compares. It’s a whole new level of security that feels amazing.
  10. You can clearly see a future with them. After dating for 9 months, you can actually see a future with your partner. Not only that, but you can’t imagine your future without them. Whether it’s a few months down the line or a few years, they’re right there by your side in your head (and hopefully they feel the same).

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.