When it comes to relationship milestones, society places more emphasis on some than others. There are the obvious big ones—the first date, the proposal, the wedding, and the baby—and then there are others that never get a mention. Especially when you’re in a relationship for the first time, it can be hard to know what’s actually worth noting, and what’s not.
Sometimes in relationships, not only do we forget to celebrate the little things that actually mean a lot, but we also freak out over things that don’t really matter at all. Movies and TV shows can make certain milestones and firsts seem like they’re a really big deal, but in reality, they’re no cause for alarm, no reason to panic. It’s good to know which relationship firsts are worth noting and celebrating, so you can really appreciate how well your relationship is moving along. But it’s just as important to avoid getting swept up by the milestones that actually don’t make that much difference in the long run.
Read on to find out which relationship firsts are actually something to pencil in on the calendar, and which ones you shouldn’t even give a second thought.
Hollywood often portrays the first kiss in a relationship as super important, and this is one of the few things that it actually gets right. First kisses might not be as romantic as they are on the big screen, but they are a big deal! They carry a lot of weight—it’s either the first time two people move from friends to lovers, the first time the games stop and they both know they’re interested, or the first of many years of kisses between two people. It can also be the moment you realize the person you like is a terrible kisser. Good or bad, it’s a big moment.
The first fight always seems like the end of the world. If you’re particularly sensitive or prone to jumping to conclusions, you might even think that the first fight means your relationship has come crashing down and you’re about to break up. Most of the time, that’s not the case.
All couples fight, so the first one has to happen sooner or later.
It might not be an enjoyable experience, but it isn’t something to dwell on either. The fights are just going to keep coming. The important thing to remember is that people who don’t care about each other, don’t bother fighting.
Let’s state the obvious. The first declaration of your love for somebody, and that somebody loves you back, is huge. This moment might confirm what you both already know, but it always feels good to say out loud. It tends to transform the relationship from something fun to something more serious—who would have thought three words could be such a game-changer? If we’re being honest, it doesn’t always end well. Sometimes you might not receive the answer you want back, but however it goes, it’s always a memorable moment. It’s a milestone that people tend to remember forever, and with good reason.
The honeymoon stage in a relationship is called a stage for a reason. No matter how much you love your partner and how attracted you are to them, that infatuation will fade at least a little bit over time. In the beginning, you might think everything they do is a turn-on but sooner or later, they’ll do something that turns you off.
This doesn’t mean disaster and is no reason to panic.
It doesn’t mean you’ve fallen out of love, or that you’re not attracted to them at all anymore. As they get to know each other, all couples gross each other out in some way.
Going public with your relationship is kind of a big deal! Once you take this step, other people see you as a couple, and that changes things a bit. We’re not saying that being in a relationship (or not) fundamentally changes who you are, but people will no longer think of you as single. You’ll be known as someone’s girlfriend, so you’ll be expected to act like a girlfriend. Couples tend to refrain from going public until they know they’re serious, so it can be a big deal for the people in the relationship too, and not just their family and friends.
Some people think a lot of the first time they post a photo with their significant other. Once upon a time, posting a photo together probably would have been a big deal. Since photos weren’t as common, people only took the trouble to shoot things that were important. A photo of a couple was usually a sign that they were together. But today, people post photos of their breakfast.
In a world where we post just about everything in our lives, including the most mundane details, a photo together could easily be interpreted as a photo of two friends, even if you are more.
Words make all the difference in a relationship. They kick things off by organizing the first date, and by declaring love for the first time. Just two of them can tie two people together under the eyes of the law forever (in theory). Some of the most important words shared between a couple happen during the talk, where you discuss what you are and where you’re going. The talk looks and feels different for everyone, but most relationships have some version of it. For some, it happens earlier. For others, it happens later, but either way, it’s a milestone.
Some people freak out at the first mention of the ex. Nobody likes to hear about whom their partner was in love with before them, but it shouldn’t be a huge deal. Most people have an ex, so their mere existence shouldn’t bother you. And the fact that they’re being brought up isn’t a bad sign.
It could actually mean that your partner feels comfortable enough to talk about this awkward subject with you.
Or, they’re simply opening up to you more to strengthen your bond. Some people feel like the mention of the ex means their partner is holding on to the past, but that’s total overthinking.
One of the biggest relationship milestones, but one that hardly ever gets the credit it deserves, is the merging of accounts. This is a sign that you two are going strong and headed in the same direction. It’s a sign that you’re in this for the long run since you’re taking action to blur your separate lives into one. The obvious one is the merging of the bank accounts, which can be a scary moment, despite being totally exciting if you’re with the right person. But there are smaller accounts you can share with someone that are also a big deal. Netflix, for example.
It’s okay to be nervous the first time you meet your partner’s friends. And similarly, you’re probably going to be a little apprehensive the first time you introduce your partner to your group of friends. Naturally, it’s easier for everyone if friends and partners get along. But if things don’t get off to a great start, you don’t have to fret.
First impressions seem cemented in stone, but usually, they can be changed.
Sometimes it takes people a while to warm up to someone new, so you don’t have to stress yourself out by placing a lot of importance on the first meeting.
What should hold a lot of importance in a relationship is the first time you’re blunt and honest with each other about a subject that’s tough to discuss. This is important, even though it’s not always fun to be involved in. When two people are close enough, they get to a point where they are that honest with each other, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. You might think that this is the end of romance, but it’s actually the beginning of a new phase of the relationship, where you’re strong enough to know that you can be honest and not shatter everything between you.
Meeting family for the first time is a bit like meeting friends. It’s super nerve-inducing, whether you’re the one doing the introducing, or the one being introduced. Either way, it can feel like you’re stepping into the lion’s den. But like the case with meeting friends for the first time, you don’t have to freak out if things don’t go the way you wanted them to.
It can take some people a long time to really get to know, like and accept someone, so you don’t have to feel bad if it doesn’t happen within the first hour.
No matter how many sleepovers you’ve had in your life, the first sleepover with someone new is always exciting and can end up being a big milestone. There’s an element of nervousness involved, and the overall experience can either be positive or negative – but it’s usually memorable. If the relationship goes on to work out, people even commemorate the date for years to come. Actually sleeping in front of someone new for the first time is sort of a big deal as well, because it shows that you trust that person to an extent and can let your guard down around them.
Once a new couple gets their sleepover routine down pat, it can throw a wrench in the works when the first dry patch comes along. But this is something else that seems like a big deal, even though it’s probably not.
Life happens, and all couples go through dry spells from time to time.
Though a continuous dry patch could be a sign that something is wrong, most of the time it’s not a big deal at all. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost interest in each other or the attraction had disappeared. It’s just life, and it’s just temporary.
A couple revealing their secrets to each other for the first time is usually an exciting milestone. Even if the secrets aren’t earth-shattering, or the scandals worthy of a teen drama series, it’s still a big moment. It signifies that you’re moving closer together, and moving forward with your relationship. This is especially true if the secrets are a little embarrassing. It shows that you’re ready for your partner to see the real you, and move out of the honeymoon phase and into the true love and acceptance era. Telling secrets is definitely something to get excited about in our book!
There is one episode of SATC where Carrie leaves a few belongings at Big’s place, and it drums into women that leaving stuff at your partner’s house for the first time is a big deal. It’s almost like marking territory. But in truth, it doesn’t have to be as huge as Carrie and the girls made it seem.
If you see each other all the time, leaving things here and there is more a matter of convenience than a sign of commitment or a marking of territory.
And in the age of Uber, we are definitely a generation who likes to act out of convenience more than anything else.
This is something that everybody overlooks, but it can actually be a prominent marking point in a relationship. The first time you hang out together and do nothing, matters. Rather than setting up a formal date or getting together to do something in particular, hanging out just for the sake of hanging out is promising. It shows that you value each other’s presence, and secretly can’t get enough of each other. This is another sign that the relationship is moving out of the scary first stages where you’re both under a lot of pressure, and is becoming something much more relaxed.
For a lot of people who work or study during the week, the weekends are like designated couple time. Saturday night is probably the universal date night. So understandably, it can seem like a big deal when there comes a weekend where you go without seeing each other. Though it seems like something to worry about, it actually isn’t.
Like the first dry patch, this is another inevitable part of a relationship that doesn’t have to mean a thing.
What can we say? Sometimes people are busy on the weekends. It doesn’t have to say anything about the state of the relationship.
The first vacation together usually matters. Depending on how long the vacation is, this can be the first time two people really get to see the essence of who they are. A vacation is where you find out if you have compatible interests, can handle being around each other all hours of the day, and just how patient the other person is when it comes to long lines and plane delays. It’s not uncommon for people to realize that they shouldn’t be together after the first vacation. It’s also not uncommon after the first vacation for people to realize that they are finally in the right relationship.
It can feel like a huge catastrophe when your partner sees you without makeup for the first time. Especially if you go all out and rock the perfect contour every time you see them, it’s easy to feel exposed the first time they catch you with a bare face. But the more time you spend together and the closer you get, the more likely it’s going to happen. Even if you feel like you look majorly different without makeup, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Unless the relationship is based purely on looks, it won’t be enough to change your partner’s opinion of you.