When you’re single and looking for love, you’re likely seeking out more long-term possibilities than short-term connections. However, finding someone you click with isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be together forever. In fact, most relationships have a shelf life, particularly those that were never headed for marriage or a forever kind of commitment in the first place. So, how long does the average dating relationship last?
What does it mean to be in a “dating relationship”?
Dating someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a relationship with them, right? That’s correct. You can date someone for months without ever being in an official relationship in which you call each other boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, etc. However, given that you’re investing your time and energy with them, potentially exclusive, it is still a relationship of a kind.
Dating relationships can also be between a couple that is exclusive and official but isn’t yet serious. For instance, maybe you’ve decided to only date each other, but you’re not serious enough that you’re thinking about a future together or making big relationship moves like moving in together or talking about marriage.
In other words, this term can describe many different phases of a connection between two people.
How long does the average dating relationship last?
This is a hard question to answer since every situation and couple is different. Not only that, but relationships end for different reasons. Sometimes something major like cheating or another betrayal is behind the decision to end things. Other times, the partnership naturally runs its course and peters out on its own in time.
How long your dating relationship lasts also depends on what you’re doing together. If you’re seeing one another casually and aren’t exclusive, it’s likely to end sooner rather than later. If you’re in an official relationship, however, you could be together for many months or even years before things end.
According to The Daily Mail, the average dating relationship lasts two years and nine months. So, just under three years. However, that research was conducted back in 2014 and did not account for the age or gender of participants. For instance, Vice cites research that claims that relationships between those in their 20s last around four years. Meanwhile, those in their 30s and above tend to stay together for longer periods of time, per The Washington Post.
When should you stop dating someone if things aren’t progressing?
- The person you’re dating doesn’t see a future. It doesn’t matter how well you get along in the here and now. If you’re with someone who can’t imagine you in their future (or simply couldn’t care either way if you’re there or not), that’s not a good sign. You deserve someone who’s excited to build a life with you. Even if you do keep dating and your relationship manages to last, it probably won’t be a good one. You won’t be fulfilled and inevitably, things will crash and burn.
- You realize you want different things. Maybe you thought you were headed in the same direction but then something happens and you realize you’re not. You want to travel the world and they’re keen to settle down. They really don’t want kids even though they told you they did when you first met. These big issues can’t be compromised on, nor should they be. In this case, it’s better to call it quits.
- You’re not on the same page with how you feel about each other. When one person has much stronger feelings than the other, trouble is imminent. You want someone who feels as passionately about you as you do about them. The same goes in return. If you’re head over heels for them and they’re lukewarm at best, that won’t work. Same goes for if they consider you the love of their life and you’re not so sure.
- They’re still “not ready” to put a label on things and don’t know when they will be. So, you’ve been seeing each other for months and they’re still not your partner. That’s a problem. While everyone moves at their own pace in relationships, if you’re not moving at all, it won’t work. Not being ready is only a viable excuse for a little while. Beyond that, you have to cut the cord.
- You feel unhappy and uncertain about where you stand with them. Things should be going well, but there’s something in your gut telling you they’re not. You’re unsure how they feel about you. You’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s no way to live. There are people out there who will be certain about their desire to be with you. Until you find them, don’t settle.