Things have gotten complicated since the time of our parents. Most millennials and Gen-Z will agree with me that dating has become sort of a “labyrinthine” experience. The rules of the game are different. If you don’t keep up, it can lead to being served unnecessary “breakfast” (heartbreak). In our parents time, it was pretty straightforward; you meet someone, you court them for a while, and you get married, the end. But now, a few more stages have been added, and things are no longer defined the way they used to.

Here are the four current dating concepts that you should know about:

  • The Talking Stage: After meeting someone either physically or online and you fancy each other, you immediately move into the “Talking Stage”. This is where you chat all the time, talking into the late hours of the night. You go to bed and wake up with calls or messages from each other. All this time; is spent learning more about each other and feeling out the vibe. The outcome of this will determine if you will be moving onto the next stage.
  • The Dating Stage: The talking stage went well, and now you’re going on dates. A lot of people consider this to be a relationship simply because you’re hanging out more often now and doing things together. Let me burst your bubble, this stage is not a relationship! Unless expressly communicated to you. A lot of people get super committed at this stage and start envisioning a future with whoever they’re dating. This ultimately leads to heartbreaks and disappointments because you assume the other person is committed to you until you find out otherwise. Some people at this stage are still weighing their options, and seeing other people, so you should not get too attached.
  • The Exclusive Stage: Most people are not aware of this stage. And thus assume that whoever they’re dating, is dating only them. Thanks to Love Island Season 7, I was able to discover this stage. This stage is a step up in the dating stage, just before the relationship stage. Here you and your partner express your intention to date each other exclusively! And you’re both on the same page. This provides some form of assurance that the person is only interested in you and they’re not sleeping with other people (fingers crossed). This stage is still not a relationship, and all relationship-type expectations should be kept at bay.
  • The Relationship Stage: If you are unsure if you’re in a relationship with someone, 9 out of 10 times, you’re not! This stage is and should be expressly defined! This means that the guy has asks the lady to be his girlfriend, and if we’re being progressive, the lady asks the guy to be her boyfriend. There’s no guess work or assumption about this; it’s either clear or you are not in a relationship. At this stage, you have jumped all the hurdles above, and you are ready to commit to each other. If you are currently at this stage, congratulations! Most barely make it here, and it is not an easy feat.

I used to be one of those people that fought tooth and nail that dating equalled a relationship like I know some of you currently are. But after several breakfasts forcing me to face reality, I’ve put down my battle axe and accepted the new order of things. Even if you hate this concept, the reality is that it is here to stay. If you take nothing away from this blog post, take this: dating is different from a relationship. Know this and know peace.

Next time, I will be spilling tea on the rules of dating. Subscribe to our mailing list; so you don’t miss it! Love and Nepa 😉

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