Do You Abide by the 3-Month Rule of Dating?

A couple months ago, CNN Living published an article about the 3-month rule of dating, which, in the writer’s opinion, is the bare minimum a person should wait to get comfortable with where a relationship is going. The logic behind this waiting period is that everyone puts their best foot forward in those first few months of a relationship, so you shouldn’t put your guard down after your first (and, of course, fairy tale perfect) date. Sounds like common sense, right? Wrong.

The reality is that we live in a world of instant gratification. We can barely wait a literal 5 seconds for a webpage to load, let alone several months to decide if a relationship is going somewhere. Relationships, especially in those early stages, give you an emotional high, making it really easy to ignore red flags and even potential deal breakers. And who can blame us? Connecting with someone and enjoying a time of infinite possibilities for what the future could bring is so hard to resist. Right now, right in this moment, that person makes you feel like nothing in this world could ever get you down again. They get you. They make you laugh. You can talk to them for hours, spend days with them, and never seem to tire of their company.

I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but you can’t stay up on that cloud forever. Sooner or later, reality will strike, and you’ll have to face life — including your family, friends, work, bills, and so on and so forth. That great little microcosm you’ve got going on there may seem like a perfect little world just for the two of you, but if you don’t share a set of core values with which to build a strong foundation for your relationship, that microcosm is nothing but a fragile bubble ready to pop at the slightest pressure from the outside world.

So am I saying your relationship is doomed to fail? Absolutely not. My point is that, while it’s wonderful you’ve found someone who finally seems to fit into your life, remember to keep your wits about you during those crucial first few months of the relationship so you don’t miss any warning signs. Pay attention to how they treat your family and friends, whether or not they are consistent and follow-through, and watch out for if they exhibit any of your relationship deal breakers that could become a major problem if the relationship ever turns serious.

The bottom line is that love is about taking risks, but protecting your heart until you’ve taken enough time to be sure it’s safe to give it away is never a bad idea.

Love and a little patience,



~ by Mika Doyle on January 14, 2011.

5 Responses to “Do You Abide by the 3-Month Rule of Dating?”

  1. Great post, Mika! I so struggle with the first months of dating. It’s really hard because you want to protect your emotions and make sure that at some point (usually a month and a half or so?) you both are just dating each other but then you also need to keep checking in with yourself to make sure you’re not just buying into a fairy tale or the idea of being with someone and that you actually like that person! Dating is an interesting journey… Not always fun, but at least always interesting.


    • Thanks, Caitlin! I probably should’ve mentioned this in my blog post, but I would even argue 3 months is too short a period of time. It took about 8 months for two of my ex-boyfriends to show their true colors. That was enough time for me to be fully invested in the relationship, so it made it doubly harder to get out of them.

  2. When you don’t have to question it anymore 🙂 It took me a long time to learn that, but there came a point with my current boyfriend where I had no doubt in my mind. First time I’ve ever had that feeling 🙂 It’s worth waiting for!

    • That’s such a great point, Sabrina. I’ve never been in a place where I just knew, so it comes as no surprise that those relationships didn’t last. It kind of reminds me of the moving “Waiting to Exhale” in which the women say they know they’ve found the right person when they’re finally able to exhale. Glad you’ve found the person who let you exhale :).

  3. I think that 3 months is not enough time at all. I have always thought that the first six months is the “honeymoon” period. It’s really easy to hide who you are or imagine someone is different until this point. After that people start letting their guard down and the chemical reaction that you have to their pheromones starts to diminish. I don’t think a real adult relationship starts until this time. Chemical romance is great while it lasts so enjoy it every time you can until you find the reason to move on. Don’t be afraid of being hurt it’s the only way you find out the difference between what you think you want and what you really need!

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