Your relationship is full of moments, both good and bad. You have fights. You cuddle. You kiss. But, which of those are key moments in a relationship?
Which of those moments changed things for you? Which jump-started your feelings? Which moment solidified your relationship. What made you feel more secure?
These are the key moments in a relationship. They will happen at different times and in different ways for everyone, but knowing if they’ve happened or not can help you know where your relationship is.
[Read: The 9 stages in a relationship every single couple MUST go though together]
Are there always key moments in a relationship?
Almost always, yes. For some, they will be more obvious or romantic but for others, they may be more subtle.
On The Bachelor, you’ll have hometown dates, overnights & then meeting the parents. But most real-life relationships aren’t that clear cut.
The key moments in a relationship for you might be in a different order or just completely different. It depends on a lot.
Were you friends before you got together? Maybe you met each other’s parents years ago. Did you work together? Maybe you traveled together for work or went on a spontaneous trip before becoming “official”.
There is no right or wrong way to have a relationship. As long as you are communicating and on the same page, your key moments are whatever works for you.
[Read: 10 relationship milestones and when they should happen]
What are the key moments in a relationship?
Even though every relationship differs dramatically, there are some key moments in a relationship that change things.
This list is not a checklist and none of these moments are required. But these are some of the most common key moments in a relationship that can help define where you are and where you’re going together.
Experiencing these things together can push your relationship in the right direction and give you a lot of insight into the future you may have together. So, being able to spot the key moments in a relationship is certainly beneficial. [Read: 13 relationship mistakes new couples make all the time]
#1 First stay-at-home date. Sure, your first date is quite a step, same with your first kiss, but the first comfy date means a lot more. This is the first time you’re truly alone together in private. Whether you made him dinner or she picked the perfect movie, this is an intimate date.
This is when things either go south or move closer. Are you comfortable? Do you want to cuddle or get out of there ASAP? This date is when you start to really see something with this person or not because you’ll probably be doing this a whole lot more than going out.
#2 Meeting the pet or best friend. If your best friend or pet doesn’t care for your significant other, it can really cause a rift between you. If this meeting goes well, the confidence you have in the relationship will likely soar.
After this, the nerves tend to lessen when you invite each other to group events and hangouts. It says that everyone will be cool hanging out together.
#3 Realizing they listened to you. This is something a lot of people don’t pinpoint as a key moment in a relationship, but it really is. You can talk all day with your partner but it often goes in one ear and out the other. When they repeat something back to you, especially when you thought they were zoned out or that it wasn’t important, it means something. [Read: 15 signs of a lack of respect in a relationship that’s never good for you]
This could be that you mentioned your favorite indie movie that you can’t find on a streaming platform and they found an old DVD of it.
For me, it was mentioning that I prefer watching TV & movies with subtitles and then every time my boyfriend started a movie he would put them on for me. It meant a lot that he remembered something so minor.
#4 Running errands together. This is such a major milestone for any relationship. If you can enjoy doing the boring, mundane, and frankly, annoying stuff together, that is what you want. You want a relationship with someone who isn’t just good at romantic gestures and date nights but also the everyday stuff that you are usually consumed with.
Knowing that even your most dull day is made better by being with this person pushes your relationship forward. It lets you know you don’t always have to be on or excited but that you can just be together doing anything and enjoy yourself with them. [Read: Relationship timelines and the 15 phases of a healthy relationship]
#5 Meeting the parents. This means something different for everyone. It could mean meeting grandparents, siblings, kids, your mentor, their neighbor. Depending on how close you are to the folks, meeting the parents clues you into how future family functions will go.
Do your parents approve of your partner. Do you trust your parents’ judgment? Does your partner care what your parents think? Having a successful partner and parent introduction is reassuring and comforting.
#6 Taking a mini-vacation. Sure, you’ve spent the night at each other’s place but going away together even just for the weekend is different. You are on neutral turf. You aren’t tidying up in his space and he isn’t holding tongue about your sloppiness.
You get to see how you two manage more than 24 hours together, sharing a space, and even the process of traveling by plane or car can be stressful. Handling that together reminds you of what you can handle. [Read: All the reasons why traveling is one of the best tests of compatibility]
#7 A big disagreement. I am not talking about which Star Wars movie is the best *it’s the third one*. A real argument about something teaches you a lot. Do you get mad? Do you scream or say things you’ll regret?
Did you work through the fight & meet in the middle? Did you listen to each other or were you stubborn? Surviving your first fight is for sure a key moment in a relationship. It shows you that you can maturely handle imperfect moments.
#8 Little annoyances. For the first few months of dating, we usually wear rose-colored glasses. We see the best of our partners and overlook the little things that would normally drive us nuts. But there comes a time that those things are on display.
You notice your partner’s gross habits, weird quirks, and maybe even their faults, but what makes this a key moment in a relationship is that they aren’t enough for you to leave. You see the things about them that are imperfect or that drive you crazy but you still like them, maybe even because of those things rather than in spite of them. [Read: Starting a new relationship? The complete checklist to a new romance]
#9 Saying “I love you.” The first “I love you”s are always a big deal. I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to you. Having said I love you and hearing it back pushes you from dating into a relationship and a serious relationship.
“I love you” means something especially when shared for the first time. It is a sign of vulnerability and trust. [Read: When and how should you say “I love you” for the first time – A full guide]
#11 Talking about the future. You may have shared your 5-year plan for your career on the second date, but if you are starting to talk about the future together, that says something. I don’t mean buying concert tickets for next month but seriously discussing what your future might look like.
Will you move in together? Would you move for the other person’s job? Are you both hoping for a big wedding or a simple ceremony at city hall or no wedding at all?
#12 Kids? Discussing kids is a huge dealbreaker for most relationships and that clearly makes it a key moment. Not being on the same page when it comes to wanting kids, having kids, or how you would potentially want to raise your kids can end even the best relationship.
So, having this discussion and honestly being on the same page can intensify your already strong connection or shatter it. Do you want kids? Do you want to stay home with the kids? Do you want one or four? [Read: How not to rush into a relationship and avoid an early crash & burn]
What if you can’t have kids biologically? Do you want to adopt? Will you raise them in the church or to choose their own religion or none when they are old enough? There are a lot of questions to be answered no matter what those answers are. And once this conversation has been had your relationship has hit a solid point to move forward.
[Read: 50 relationship questions that can test your relationship compatibility instantly]
Have you had these key moments in your relationship yet? Did these moments happen the way you thought they would? Did you work through unfortunate times and become closer? The key moments in a relationship define a lot, so being able to spot them is important.
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