Take me back to the days when you used to throw a balled up piece of paper at some poor sod’s head with the question,
“Will you go out with me? Yes or No?”
Only for it to be passed back 10 seconds later, (hopefully with a solid yes) and then you’d crack on with carving their initials into your hand with a grotty compass and foundation pen ink. Romance. You were either single or together. Hark back a few decades and your grandparents were either courting or married. There has always been a two solid stages of a relationship. You’re either in one or you’re not.
And then came millennial dating, and suddenly being in a relationship is so 2010, and suddenly we are dating, hooking up, getting with and seeing one another. And asking anyone in any of these stages if they’re in a relationship is a bit like asking them to solve string theory, no one fucking knows.
Maybe you think you’re dating when you’re actually seeing each other, or want to be exclusive when you’re actually hooking up. What we really need is a handy guide to help a person out, like this one.
The Textlationship. A relationship in every way except the fact that you’ve never met them. They are there when you wake, when you go to work, they know what you’re having for dinner or have strong opinions on what a cowbag Sadie was to Janelle. They might even have you going all the way with some buffin’ of your muffin to Snapchats of them telling you how fit you are (filters, babe). What they aren’t at anytime is physically present.
With the rise of the dating apps and slidin’ into the DM’s, a textlationship can be perfect for those who don’t want to spend £3.99 on a Beer and Burger at Spoons but do want to “find their happy place” to someone saying they’re pretty in Comic Sans. Occasionally a Textlationship can be a precursor to a date but more often than not, once you’ve downed tools and shown your body whilst wearing a dog filter, you’re probably never going to see them. Perfect for those with lots of time but little energy to get out of their PJ’s.
The One Dater
Maybe you’ve had a short-term Textlationship or met the man of your dreams whilst knocking back a Sauvignon on a Friday night. However it has come about, a first date (where you anxiously sweat for 2 hours before getting drunk because you were too nervous to eat your dinner) is always a winner.
Whether it’s drinks on the veranda or a pint in the pub, a first date can be a lot of fun. Do you wear your big pants to hold your gunt in? Or your lacy ones just in case the wine is good? And whether it’s the start of something fabulous or you’ve binned them quicker than they can ask for the bill, a first date can offer a magical feeling that apparently exists outside of Bumble, called “Hope”.
Maybe you “Got With” someone in Da Club, had a cracking first date, or a mediocre one but it’s been a few months since anyone dined at the oyster cafe. Hooking up is the perfect relationship stage to scratch a few itches and ensure the cobwebs are well and truly blown out.
Hooking up includes all the joys of having a partner without having to waste your Sunday’s entertaining their nieces in a vague attempt to seem maternal. Unless of course you do the silly thing of catching feelings, and then all is lost my friend, abort, abort, abort.
Dating is a bit like ‘hooking up’ except instead of just “doing it”, they buy you dinner and a drink before hand. You become somewhat of a posh escort, except sometimes modernity happens and you have to pretend you’re a strong independent woman and buy them dinner (and then spend 2 weeks cursing them out to a friend for ordering a starter).
Dating is the equivalent to Bambi stepping onto the ice for the first time. You step in with trepidation, a bit wobbly until you skate off too confidently and then you’re flat on your back with only a sore bum for the memories.
Seeing One Another
Be perfectly still. Do not move a muscle. We have the precursor to a relationship close in our grasps, and yet any sudden movement and that bugger has leapt like a startled sheep over two fences and right into the mouth of a rabid wolf. ‘Seeing’ someone is when you like them more than just their bits but you still don’t know each other well enough to be convinced you want to be stuck with them full-time. You’re keeping your options open and are probably textlationshipping with a few other beaus just in case this one ends up being a right Jeremy Hunt.
Spend enough time in the ‘Seeing’ phase and you’ll start catching feelings all over the place. Or you realise that cute way they snort laughed through dinner is the equivalent to chewing cotton wall and you’re blocking and deleting all over the place.
You’ve been into the community, had a strong look around and thought, yeah, I have managed to nab myself a good one. It’s been a couple of months, you’ve got more data on them than Facebook.com and you occasionally drop their name into conversation with your Mum. You’re not keen on them ploughing the cast of Geordie Shore on a weekend and you think, you might actually…like them.
You’ve begun talking about holidays, pets and life goals as if they are mutual endeavours and you refer to yourselves as ‘us’ and ‘we’ during Friday bants in the pub. You’re ready to take things to the next stage and hoping your chances of catching Chlymidia are diminishing. You mellow into the warm, glowy, fuzzy stage of falling in love, and it feels great.
The Home Run
Pass Go and collect 200 smug points and delete your Tinder account.
You’ve weathered the Fuck Boy storm and come out of it with some dignity and optimism still intact. At some point someone throws a note at your head and you ticked a big fat yes to commitment, and then promptly changed all your social bios to include their @ and the ‘couple’ emoji. The dream.
Your instagram is littered with photos of them all captioned with ‘Bae’ and 20 people stating #couplegoals in the comments. Maybe you’re exclusive now, maybe you aren’t, but what you are is committed to saying “Well, my partner and I…” whenever someone asks you how your weekend has been. Congrats, you’ve scored yourself the home run.
So what stages of a relationship do you know? Are there ones I have missed out? Come and let me know on my socials.