When I reach the one-year dating mark with someone, I almost always wonder what it means, what’s supposed to happen, and what to do next.
One of the biggest questions I ask comes down to, “Is dating for a year a long time?“
Dating for a year is not considered a long time. A year marks the first major milestone in a relationship. You have experienced the other person through all four seasons, ups and downs, and survived the ending of the honeymoon stage.
However, a year can seem like a long time if you have never dated someone for an extended period.
Read the rest of this article to find out why dating for a year is not a long time, why it might be a long time in some special circumstances, and how to know if you are in a long-term relationship.
Why Is Dating For a Year Not a Long Time? (5 Reasons)
Why is it that some people consider a year to be a long time while others do not?
While the precise definition of “long” is subjective, there are five good reasons a year is not a long time at all.
Here are those five reasons:
- A year is only a small percentage of your life.
- A year is only the first significant milestone of a relationship.
- Dating for a year is the bare minimum amount of time you should date someone before even considering a deeper commitment such as marriage. I strongly recommend dating someone for at least two to three years before marriage.
- You can not fully know someone in a year. It takes at least six months for the honeymoon phase to end and sometimes up to a year.
- A fifth reason dating for a year is not a long time is because the actual time you spent together in a year might be shorter than you think.
For example, I’ve been dating my girlfriend for just over a year. We see each other 2-4 times per week since we have full-time jobs, kids, and other life responsibilities.
We don’t live together, so we see each other as often as we can, but we do not yet see each other every single day.
Therefore, the actual time we’ve spent together in person is probably closer to 6-8 months of time. This is true of most couples who do not live together. Any period of time under a year is typically not viewed as a long time in a relationship.
Besides, it takes at least a couple of years to really know someone—including yourself.
Why else do many of us go through a quarter-life crisis during our mid to late twenties? Why is it that we have so much maturing and learning about ourselves to do? Why are the 20s usually referred to as a time of self-discovery?
This is an important personal development period for most people in their lives. We experiment, learn, and grow into who we are and who we want to be in our lives. We can’t fully connect with others until we have first connected with ourselves.
You can not really know someone until you’ve known each other for at least a year. What are their goals? Their level of commitment? All of this information is vital to the future of your relationship.
Many relationships fall apart after one year because, by then, the masks are off, the honeymoon stage is over, and people begin to seriously consider whether or not the other person is worth investing more of their time and energy in as a long-term partner.
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Why Is Dating For a Year a Long Time? (5 Reasons)
As someone who dated other people for very short periods of time early in my life, I can understand why a year might seem like a very long time. So many of my early “relationships” lasted for a few weeks or months. I had no idea what I was doing back then.
These are just a few factors that impact our perspective on dating. That brings us to the next question: Is dating for a year ever a long time?
Under certain special circumstances, I completely agree that a year of dating can fall into the “long time” category.
Here are five great reasons dating for a year might be a long time for you:
- If you are in your teens, dating for a year can seem like an eternity. A year is 1/4 of your high school experience, and a larger percentage of your life to date.
- You are older, such as in your 60s. Older people often date for shorter periods of time before marriage.
- You live together, and both of you express and demonstrate strong lifetime commtiment to each other.
- The two of you experience big events or trauma together (suffer together), then your relationship can grow faster in a year.
- One of you suffers from a chronic disease that shortens your life.
I know some of these situations are not comfortable to consider. However, they happen to couples every day.
Dating for a year can seem like a long time in your teens or in your 60s. In these periods of life, our life perspective distorts time. For better or worse, there is no “magic” number of months that will determine how long dating should last to be considered normal.
Everyone’s situation and circumstances are different. Only you and your partner can determine when it is time to become more serious.
A year can feel like forever, and there is no reason not to make reaching this milestone a big deal. My girlfriend and I celebrate when we reach any milestone, big or small.
Is One Year a Long-Term Relationship?
Yes, one year is considered a long-term relationship.
Any period of time under a year is usually not called “long-term.” At the one-year mark, it’s clear that you have now entered “long-term” dating in a committed relationship.
It’s important to emphasize the variable of “commitment” here. Unless you have officially labeled your relationship as exclusive, you are not in a committed relationship. There are many forms of exclusive, such as polyamorous or open relationships, but merely dating someone (going out on dates) does not automatically equal a committed relationship.
To really be clear, dating is not a relationship.
Also, just because you have dipped your emotional toes into long-term waters does not mean that one year is a “long time.” A long time signifies more than a calendar year. It also signifies emotional depth, actual time spent together, goal alignment, and mutual commitment to each other.
One year is the first major milestone in a committed relationship.
There are a number of reasons why one year has been considered the first major milestone in a committed relationship. One reason is that it takes a lot of time to get to know someone before you decide to commit to them, and it takes at least one year to really get to know someone.
Many people think that if a couple has dated for two (or more) years with no marriage proposal, they will be single again. Most proposals happen after 2-5 years of dating.
Dating for more than one year means the couple has moved past the honeymoon stage where everything about the other person seems perfect. We all have flaws. Acknowledging and accepting each other’s flaws is an essential process for a healthy, long-term relationship.
Also, many relationships end after one year. It’s a common time frame for the couple to take stock of their relationship and decide whether or not they want to stay together.
Therefore, the one-year mark is significant. You move into long-term dating, contemplate the current status and future potential of your relationship, and make big decisions that can affect the rest of your life.
Check out this very candid video about long-term relationships from a woman’s perspective:
Final Thoughts: Is Dating For a Year a Long Time?
To summarize, dating for a year is not a long time for most healthy and mature couples. However, dating for a year is an important milestone in your relationship.
Cherish each other, grow together, and create the kind of relationship you both deserve.
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