A lot of people subscribe to the 10-date rule, also known as, if you've been on ten dates, then you're probably in a relationship. If we apply the 10-date rule, a calendar of appointments once a week puts the relationship marker at three months, while a twice-a-week situation causes you to boo in about a month and a half. For help answering these questions, we turned to Sarah Kahan, a licensed clinical social worker in Brooklyn who helps individuals and couples manage their relationships. While there's no set rule about when a relationship should become official, she suggests signs you should pay attention to that could show that you're ready.
By the second or third date, you should have a pretty good idea of whether you like this person enough and if they're a good match on paper. In the early to mid-20th century, young daters were likely to keep their options open and “play on the field.” In fact, it's important to note, as Healthline points out, that much of the data on the number of dates people have before having sex (or even before having the talk about exclusivity) are cis-heterocentric and are collected using a limited view of what constitutes sex and dating. According to 1960 University of California Press surveys, 51.6% of children in their last year of high school had two appointments a week, while less than half “maintained stable relationships with someone.” According to the Time Out survey, the average time it takes for people to get to the sexual part is 3.53 dates; while Groupon respondents reported waiting an average of 8 dates before having sex. People usually spend at least three or four hours on a good date (and that's a conservative estimate), meaning that after five or six dates (assuming there aren't any pajama parties), you'll have spent almost 20 to 24 hours together.
First, the actual number of dates they attend is perhaps less relevant than the total amount of time you've spent together. You might want to be exclusive after four dates, or you might feel comfortable waiting until appointment ten before making that change. If, after four or five dates, you feel annoyed or hurt because they have an appointment with someone else, it's time to talk. If you've passed the fourth date and are now on date five or six, and dates have turned into longer adventures, possibly at each other's homes, then you're probably watching them. Adults, meanwhile, found that the answer to how many dates before a relationship is discussed is five. So how many dates does it take before it counts as dating? The answer is different for everyone.
It depends on how comfortable you are with your partner and how well you know each other. Some people may be ready for exclusivity after just one date while others may need more time. Ultimately, it's up to you and your partner to decide when it's time to make things official.