Long-Term Relationship Milestones and Their Significance
While every relationship timeline is different, there are some milestones that most couples experience. Whether it’s a cliche or not, these milestones deserve a special recognition.
From talking about your exes to exchanging apartment keys, there are certain relationship milestones you should know about. Here are some of them:
1. You’ve bonded with each other’s parents
Last week a TikTok went viral that claimed that there are five stages of relationships, but is it actually possible to tick all of these milestones off? Associate Professor in Social Psychology / Relationship Science at Deakin University, Gery Karazntzas, says no.
After the giddy infatuation and dopamine rush of the honeymoon phase subsides, reality sets in. That dumb way he brushes his teeth, or the 100-decibel snores that echo in your ear at night, start to become less of an endearing quirk and more of a fully-fledged annoyance.
This is a key stage, because it’s when you start to learn the truth about your partner and understand what makes them who they are. It’s also a good time to set boundaries about what you’re comfortable with, and make a list of things that you can and can’t accept in your relationship.
According to Body+Soul, this is when you really start to work on your relationship and build a foundation of trust and commitment. This can be a tough and challenging stage, but it’s also where you start to learn the true meaning of love.
2. You’ve been stuck somewhere together
Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship knows that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. But the longer you’re together, the more likely it is that you’ll have a shared language and vocabulary for dealing with difficult conversations and situations, and your relationship will feel a lot more predictable in a comforting way.
Couples who make it to this stage aren’t afraid of bringing up their issues or facing challenges. They know that the things they’ve consistently shoved under the rug can’t just disappear and that they need to work on them. They’ve also learned that this process is a cyclical one and that they can’t always be happy.
3. You’ve been through a breakup scare
Long-term relationships can be hard, and it’s important to recognize that there are some milestones along the way. These are not rites of passage to be checked off, but real experiences that can help strengthen your relationship and teach you how to deal with the inevitable problems that come up.
This is one of the most important milestones in a long-term relationship (and it’s not just for couples who plan on getting married). During this stage, the giddy feelings from the honeymoon phase start to fade and you learn more about your partner – including their flaws.
During this time, it’s normal to doubt yourself and your feelings for him. The person who once seemed like the perfect match starts to seem self-centered and not worth it anymore. And the deep resentments you’ve been bottling up begin to sabotage your relationship. If he stops returning your calls, doesn’t show up to dates and his friends start to act icy towards you, it’s probably time to call it quits. Or at least talk it out.
4. You’ve exchanged phone passwords
When it comes to online privacy, couples are often split on whether it’s okay to share passwords with your significant other. While some might see this as a litmus test for relationships, it’s ultimately a personal decision and one that’s best decided upon when you and your partner are a little more established in your relationship.
Sharing your passwords gives someone access to a whole part of your life, including previous relationships and private interactions that can be hard to delete. It also opens the door to obsessive scouring of your social media accounts, something that can cause a lot of anxiety and even lead to emotional manipulation when things go south.
Having this kind of trust with your partner isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely a big milestone to reach when you feel comfortable enough. If you don’t, it’s important to work through your issues with trust before deciding whether to move forward with that kind of agreement.
5. You’ve bought a house together
Buying a house together is one of the most significant relationship milestones. It’s also one of the most difficult to get through. It’s a major financial commitment and signing your names on the deed changes the equation of your relationship forever.
You’ll need to work out how to split up the mortgage payments and other household expenses, as well as deal with any unexpected costs. Living together full-time will also be a big adjustment for some couples, so it’s a good idea to ramp up your time spent at each other’s homes before making this move.
This is the stage where you start to really get to know your partner. Their annoying habits become more fully realised, from the dumb way they brush their teeth to the 100-decibel snores that shake your apartment every night. You’ll need to learn how to communicate effectively and compromise to get through this. It’s also a great time to start thinking about the future and creating bucket lists together. But be careful, conflict over finances is the number one reason for divorce.