What do you count as the beginning of a relationship?

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macaroonad asks:

An acquaintance asked my BF and me how long we had been together and two different answers came out of our mouths at the same time. He counts the date we became exclusive as the beginning of the relationship and I was thinking of our first date.

Now I’m just curious, when friends ask how long we’ve been dating, do I count the month of casual non-exclusive dating or not?


Demetrius says:

No real right answer here, so let me share some insights and that might help you to decide what works best for you.

When someone asks me how long I’ve been seeing someone I usually use two points in time. The first is when we met, whether that’s meeting through the Tumblecupid’s of the world, through friends, at a networking event, or what have you. The second is, assuming we’re an official item, when we made “Us” an item. “We met in May of 2016, but we’ve been together since August 2016” for example. Bear in mind, I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted longer than 2 years, so that might influence how I approach answering this question.  I think that after a few years of dating, you can probably just tell people the general date you met, or even the year as the official start of your relationship and you’d be fine. I like using when we met and when we became official because in my experience, if you don’t give people both of those dates, they’ll ask about the one you don’t mention. “We’ve been together for 2 years” is usually followed up with the questions related to how long you’ve known your partner. Maybe in the future we’ll all use different benchmarks for measuring how long we’ve been dating people, like when you first started sending each other gifs on Bumble, but for the most part people ask when you met and how long you’ve been together. Sometimes those dates are far apart, like if a friendship turns into a relationship, and people really are only asking because they’re interested in the story of the beginning your relationship.

Now what you decide on using as the official date is entirely up to you, but you can always just ask your boyfriend what your mutual answer should be, if you think you might need one. I did that in my last relationship after experiencing a few situations where my girlfriend at the time had one answer, and I had another. It wasn’t a big deal, but it also came off weird to me to say “We’ve been together for 6 months” when your current girlfriend says “We’ve been together for a year”. I’m the sort of person who likes to show a unified front in a relationship, and if you are too, you can start the conversation by asking “What do you count as the beginning of our relationship?”. It’s that easy, and yeah you sort of answered your own question. I didn’t want to be part of the couple who didn’t know how long they had been together, but also because anniversaries in a relationship are a thing, so we needed to settle a specific date. There’s no way I wanted to be on the hook for two anniversary dinner’s a year! In the end, we went by the month we made things official, for both measuring time together, but also anniversary date planning. I still gave people the “when we met” date, but mostly just for story-telling purposes.

Now, for the rest of you, here are some basics. If you’re “dating” and not currently in a long-term committed relationship, the answer is generally “Oh we met on this day/month” or “We’ve been dating since this day/month”. Once you’re official, whatever official means to you, you can use either when you met or when you became an official item. It seems like once you’re married, you go by how long you’ve known each other, and how long you’ve been married. Just some basics, there’s obviously going to be a bit of wiggle room here. If you’re going to use a date for your dating anniversary, I’d suggest using the day(or month if you want to give yourselves room to be forgetful) that you became official. You can always go by when you first met, or be unique and pick a day that works better for both of you. Seriously, no one will be able to tell you otherwise.

Good Luck Out There.

p.s. I’d love to hear what you think is the point where you start counting how long you’ve been in a relationship

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