10 Most Significant Relationship Milestones for Couples

relationship milestones
Written by Colie Elizabeth

Have you ever wondered when you should be hitting important relationship milestones with your partner?

Admittedly, all relationships take work, and with the average relationship lasting roughly between 2-4 years according to a study done by Nationwide, a relationship milestone timeline is a good way to gauge your own relationship. You wonder where your relationship is heading and when the “average” milestones that we all know usually happen?

Well, this list will give you an idea of where you’re at in your relationship and where you are going.

#1 Meeting Important People in Your Partner’s Life (3-6 Months)

This milestone is a pretty significant one and can play a role in how you and your partner continue on in your relationship. Having your partner’s family and friends like you and liking your partner’s friends and family is important.

According to social psychologist Theresa DiDonato, “…when your parents gush about the new person you’re dating, that’s good for the health and stability of your relationship.” She goes on to express that meeting your partner’s family is a good sign in a relationship.

Your partner wants to gain a parent’s approval and show they are serious about you.

Additionally, going to an important function together happens within six months of your relationship. This is the point at which you publicly showcase your relationship to the world whether it be at a work function, party with friends, or holiday with family.

#2 The Honeymoon Phase of Your Relationship Ends (5-6 Months)

relationship milestones

While this relationship milestone may sound bleak, it actually means that you and your partner really like each other and are interested in going long term.

Biophilosopher and social science researcher Jeremy Sherman says that, “The honeymoon is generally a celebration of your compatibilities. The post-honeymoon hump is marked by a sobering recognition of, and reluctant response to the inevitable incompatibilities.”

The honeymoon phase is fresh, new and exciting.

You’re happy to be in new relationship and getting to know your new partner. But, couples often break up after the honeymoon phase due to the fact that they discover that they’re not very compatible or don’t really enjoy their partner as much as they thought they did. But by making it to this milestone is really the one that propels the relationship on to bigger and better experiences.

#3 The First Intimate Sex with Your Partner (5-8 Months)

relationship milestones

While having sex for the first time is fun for all parties involved, having intimate sex with your partner is a big milestone.

Intimate sex goes beyond just the act of sex with your partner.

Having intimate sex means that you fully trust your partner and there are no walls up between you and them. This milestone is shown to have a positive impact on relationships through a study done by Sandra Metts. She found that couples who have a strong emotional connection prior to having sex are better off. It has a positive impact on the path of the relationship and the couple is happier.

#4 Going Away Together (6-8 Months)

relationship milestones

This milestone can be a precursor to moving in together.

Going on a trip together not only lets you experience interdependence with your partner but gives you an unfiltered experience of who they are.

James F. Petrick and Angela M. Durko of Texas A&M University interviewed roughly 355 couples and found that the more satisfied you are with your vacations, the more satisfied you are with your relationship overall. So plan a trip with your partner if you haven’t and enjoy getting to know them outside of your normal day to day life!

#5 Helping Your Partner Through a Rough Time (Within a Year)

relationship milestones

At this point in the relationship, odds are that your partner has struggled with something like losing their job or a loved one, or is struggling with where they are in their life.

Psychotherapist Ashley Davis Bush suggests that healthy couples turn to each other for support and guidance. By being there for your partner, your relationship strengthens and you become someone that your partner can rely on.

#6 Moving in Together (1 Year Mark)

relationship milestones

Zoosk surveyed 3,300 Americans to create a relationship milestone timeline. Their interactive infographic shows that people believe moving in with their partner around a year is the best.

Being one of the biggest relationship milestones, moving in together can help you determine if your partner is someone you’d like to spend your life with.

You’ll get a better idea of who they really are beyond just dating them.

#7 Going Through & Getting over a Rough Patch (1 Year – 1.5 Years Mark)

relationship milestones

While you may have small fights or disagreements with your partner during any time in your relationship, it’s when you get in a serious, drawn-out fight that has a serious impact. Professor Susan

Krauss Whitbourne found that the more times you bounce back from an argument, the stronger your relationship can become.

Each fight you have together creates a stronger bond.

That is because you know you can overcome bad situations and stressful events together, and come out the other side.

#8 Co-Responsibility (2 Years)

relationship milestones

After moving in together, it makes sense that the two of you would make the move and get a pet if you don’t already have one.

The University of Buffalo did a study and found that “couples who own cats or dogs have closer relationships, are more satisfied in marriage and respond better to stress than couples who do not.”

#9 Getting Married (3.5 Years)

relationship milestones

According to a recent survey 4,000 couples, getting married 3.5 years into the relationship is the right time. At this point in your relationship, you’ve gotten to know your partner well, have experienced the highs and the lows with them, and know that they are the one.

While this milestone may not happen exactly in this time frame for every couple, those interested in getting married are in a good position to make to jump now that you’ve experienced many relationship milestones together!

#10 Having a Child with Your Partner (6 Months-4 Years)

relationship milestones

This milestone cannot necessarily be placed in a timeline order due to the fact that each couple is different. Some couples decide not to have children, some people help raise their partner’s child/children, and others have children before they are married.

But, having children is an important milestone that is worth being recognized.

Doctor Fredric Neuman also feels that raising a child together binds a couple together.

What If We’re Not Following Relationship Milestones?

Well, it’s OK!

While relationship milestones and their timelines can help you navigate your relationship, your relationship is not a failure if these milestones are not met.

Each couple’s relationship is unique and this list is meant to help you see if there is something missing or if you are checking in about something with your partner. Personally, reaching new relationship milestones with my boyfriend is fun and exciting. It’s something to celebrate and look forward to! If you dig this article, please share it!

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About the author

Colie Elizabeth

Colie is a writer from New Jersey who enjoys everything from furniture restoration to traveling the world.
She graduated from Kean University with a degree in English and enjoys writing pieces that encourage people to travel, try something new, and do some self-exploration.

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