Ask Anna: Dating dilemmas

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Anna Lowenthal

Q: Dear Anna, how long should you “date” before getting into a relationship?

A: There’s a huge difference between dating someone and making them your beau, and there needs to be a test-out, getting-to-know-each-other time period before you commit to another person, warts and all. And it definitely takes a while to get to that point.

It’s difficult to say exactly how long you should spend getting to know someone before entering into a relationship with them, but I would personally wait at least one month after the first date.

While it can be easy to fall into enchantment within the first week or two, it’s always a good idea to get a decent look at them from every angle. A month is enough time to become acquainted with their personality, interests, lifestyle, friends, etc.

Make at least one trip to their home— are you cool with a pizza box covered coffee table or no space for your toothbrush at the bathroom sink?

Keep in mind that a month may not be enough time to get to know whoever you’re dating well enough. You may need more time—and that can never hurt. Maintaining a healthy distance from your potential partner gives you more of a chance to fall in love with who they are instead of who you’d like to think they are. And believe me, you’ll enjoy the relationship a lot more when you actually know what you’re getting yourself into.

Though it might seem obvious, make sure a relationship is actually what you want before you’re already in it. Don’t feel the pressure to take the next step just because you’ve been dating for a while. If you’re down for staying single and aren’t into the commitment, don’t force yourself into one because it’s “about time.” Do what’s best for you, but keep your intentions clear with the other person. Nothing’s worse than realizing you’ve led someone on when you were only DTF.

When in the dating phase, it’s never a bad idea to wait a while before taking it to the next level. And whether you wait a month, a year, or you never decide to commit to a relationship with the person you’re currently dating, do whatever it is that makes you happy as long as your decision is well-informed and rationally made.