The first step in finding love is meeting someone new. The infamous second step is dating. This phase is tricky because you’re always wondering where you stand no matter how many times you’ve played the game. When you’re an adult, it’s wise to stop relying on the patterns of a high school romance because the rules of the game, to put it simply, have changed drastically.
What does each date mean? The first date is defined by soaring attraction, the everlasting hunger to find out each other’s history, butterflies fluttering in your stomach, and the sparks that these emotions ignite. Depending on the type of relationship you have with the other person prior to the date, the first date can be at a coffee shop, for a casual and chill vibe, or dressing up and dining at a fancy restaurant, for a more serious tone.
The emotions of the first time often get carried onto the second date. While the butterflies have rested their wings and the fluttering motions have freed you from anxiety and nervousness, the attraction and attachment to each other continue their crescendo. The sparks, too, are burning even brighter.
Date Three means various things for different people. Familiarity and chemistry are evident. Some choose a more casual activity like hanging out at the beach or bookstore trips. Others decide that the third date is the time to get physical. If people aren’t on the same page, this can prove to be a challenging time. But if they’re understanding and patient, they accept the other’s decision.
The third date can also be a trying time because after it is when people make up their minds whether they still want to continue their pursuit of love with the other person. This is also often the reason that some people may want to wait longer before allowing physical intimacy.
So, you’ve survived the third date. In comes the fourth date. Date Four can be defined by awkwardness depending on how the third date played out.
Then comes the fifth date.
Date Five is what people sometimes refer to as the crossroads. While a fifth date is far from guaranteeing you that you’re bound to have a long term relationship with the other person or that the emotions you feel can be called love, it’s often a good reference point when deciding whether it’s worth pursuing a relationship with the other person.
Or as others put it, this is the moment when The Question is asked and things become official. Or not.
The fifth date understandably comes with a lot of expectations. Here are seven things you should be looking for by the fifth date.
1) You have fun with them.
By the fifth date, the circus to impress the other person has been packed away. It is thus important to figure out whether you are having fun with them even when you have gotten past the initial phase of presenting to each other the best parts of yourselves.
Fun doesn’t have to mean crazy. They can be introverted people, but you still enjoy their company. It is safe to say that the fifth date is no longer part of the “honeymoon phase,” but if there’s still something there that makes you want to come back again, then you have nothing to worry about.
2) You can be yourself around them.
Ah, yes. We’re all encouraged to carefully and consciously decide how we are going to present ourselves when going out on a date. This is not, however, an excuse to make up stories that will make you more desirable to the other person.
Often, you can tell after the first couple of dates whether you can freely express who you are as a person around them. By the fifth date, you should be comfortable being yourself and stop apologizing for your quirks. If they create an atmosphere where you won’t be judged for your everyday actions, so long as they aren’t harmful to anyone, then the person is positively worth the effort.
3) Your conversations have become more meaningful.
Meaningful conversations don’t mean undressing your soul for them to see your emotional scars. Unlike conversations during the first two or three dates, this kind of conversation is often unguided by questions drawn from plots in romantic films.
Your voices may be hushed, but two of you can verbalize your thoughts. And even though your opinions are polar opposites, you still decide to pursue the conversation without resorting to arguing. Instead, you both decide to agree to disagree.
4) Neither of you are coming on too strong.
So, you have moved past small talk and have expanded and lengthened your conversations to include a variety of serious topics. It is also likely that you have briefly discussed your aspirations and desires. Since the fifth date is when people usually decide whether they’ll keep seeing each other, it is important to find out if the excitement can plateau at a level where there’s still just enough excitement and things aren’t too serious, but not too casual either.
5) You have common interests.
After the fourth time, your date is definitely more than just a stranger now. You have a clearer picture of their personality and idea about the things that interest them and those that don’t. Why is it important to know these things? Because other than shared feelings, having things to bond over is necessary to maintain a relationship, if ever that’s where things will lead after the fifth date.
Don’t be scared if you don’t share an interest when it comes to certain things. You still need to have a sense of self after all. It also isn’t a sign of incompatibility.
6) You have shared values.
In an ideal setting, you and your date have a clear idea of each other’s values before you started dating. This is possible in situations where the other person is someone you’ve known for quite some time. As is often the case, dating as an adult means you’ll practically be dating strangers no matter where or how you met them.
Shared values are very important in all relationships. Two people might not have as many common interests, but if their values mirror each other’s, they can live harmoniously. On the contrary, two people whose values are conflicting are bound to have major arguments if they decide to continue seeing each other.
7) Instead of pride and vanity, your date has humility.
Humility can be defined as having a modest view of one’s importance. This quality is what eventually assures that relationships can progress beyond the initial attraction. You might be deeply attracted to them, but if they are the type who can’t be bothered to admit when they are wrong and puts the blame on others, it’s time to move on or you’ll only end up hurting yourself.
There you have it. Even if one of these seven things you should be looking for by the fifth date is missing, think hard about which path you’ll take after your fifth date.