How Long Should You Date Someone Before Entering a Relationship?

I met Darren on Bumble and it was like love at first sight. We had an instant connection and while we didn’t have the same hobbies and interests, we were both eager to get to know each other. On our second week, he asked if we could be exclusive. I have been single for four years and this was the first time I felt a connection this deep so I said yes.

I was surprised because I felt like a giddy schoolgirl. I’ve only known this guy for two weeks and I agreed to be semi-committed to him, despite being afraid of commitment. I began to wonder, how long should you date a person before entering a relationship with them?

Traditional Filipino culture says the boy has to make ligaw. The courtship phase can take weeks, months, and even years, and this is the time when he has to prove himself worthy. While it’s no longer applicable to chop wood, sing harana (serenade), or give her family a cow as a gift, he is expected to wine and dine her.

Ligaw is cute and it can make anyone kilig but it does pose problems. How long does a guy have to prove himself worthy of her affections? And aren’t guys just putting their best foot forward during this period?

Because of this, a lot of people are choosing to forego the courtship process, entering the relationship just days or weeks after dating.

Now, it’s easy to think of examples where this led to disaster. There’s my friend Ulysses, who entered a relationship with the guy he was dating after a few weeks. They were together for quite some time, but it was a union marred with fights, jealousy, and clinginess. There’s also Rupert, who got committed to his guy after a month of seeing each other. They lasted for three years, but on their sixth month together Rupert suspected his boyfriend of cheating. He only confirmed it during their breakup.

Of course, not all short-term dating end up in heartbreak. There’s my friend, Star, who said yes to her suitor after knowing each other for 10 days. They’ve been together for a few years now and have become my definition of an adult relationship. Both are successful in their careers but still manage to find quality time. They don’t nag or text each other the whole day. They’re building their future but still find time to grow on their own.

My point is that it’s a hit or miss, and it’s hard to predict the outcome until you’ve gotten to know them better. And it’s true that you can know someone for 10 years and not find out who they really are, or know someone for a few weeks and uncover a deep connection. That’s what I felt with Darren, the guy I met on Bumble and who I agreed to be exclusive with after a short time.

However, just a week after we became exclusive, we had our first fight and that’s when I found out who he really was. It wasn’t exactly a fight but he was rude, unapologetic, and dismissive. He even called me names. We eventually patched things up but we had another disagreement after a few days and we decided to call the whole thing off.

You can never really tell but there are a few ways to figure out if you and the person you’re dating will be a match. Rupert said that it was enough that they’re on the same wavelength. For me, I wait until the first fight. I check how he handles it. Will he be condescending and aggressive? Or will he take the time to listen and help me fix the issue? The way a person handles conflict is one of the things I look out for before I get serious with someone. Looking back, I believe I dodged a bullet with Darren. I hope you will, too, in your Tinder or Bumble matches.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts below!

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