A Guide To The First 8 Dates That Kick Off Every New Relationship

The 8 Phases Of Dating In Every New Relationship


  • A lot of new relationships follow a very similar pattern
  • Here are the phases you can usually expect to experience when you start seeing someone
  • Check out more dating stories here

Dating can frequently be a simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking experience, as there’s really no easy way to get to know a total stranger as you explore whether or not there’s a chance they’re someone you might be able to spend the rest of your life with.

No pressure there. Nope, no pressure at all.

When it comes to dating, you need to have a plan of attack. Think of it as war, but instead of killing people, you’re fighting your crippling anxiety. Would you go into a war just wandering around aimlessly with a map held out wide, wearing your backpack in the front like some kinda frightened European tourist? HELL NO!

If all goes well, here is how I recommend your dates progress.

Phase 1: Drinks

bartender straining drink


This is low pressure and low cost. Assuming that you don’t know each other, this is an opportunity to feel each other out before you eventually feel each other up.

You don’t want to go blow a hundred bucks right off the bat at some nice dinner just to realize the second you get there that there’s no chemistry. Track down a happy hour and go from there.

Phase 2: A Moderately Priced Dinner

romantic dinner wine


Regardless of your financial situation, the last thing you want to do is stage your first dinner date at a Michelin-starred restaurant with white tablecloths, old French waiters, and men who expect to be tipped after watching you relieve yourself in the bathroom.

Once you establish that is the level of restaurant she can expect going forward, you can’t go back.

Pick a trendy spot; a restaurant with a one-word name that has a chalkboard menu somewhere on the premises. It’ll show her that you’re “in the know.” Picking a cool place is definitely more important than picking a fancy place. You’ll have time for that later.

Phase 3: The “Kooky” Date

basket of apples


Dinner and drinks are standard, but now you gotta show her that you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve.

Don’t actually do any tricks for her (most girls HATE magicians); I’d suggest something like a picnic date in the park, an ice cream stroll, apple picking, a concert, or a comedy show.

Phase 4: Brunch Date

pancakes brunch


If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then brunch is easily the most universally beloved; it’s honestly virtually impossible to screw this one up unless you go out of your way to butcher it.

Brunch dates are a nice change of pace because you don’t want to slip into a pattern where you only see each other at night. This makes it feel more like a real relationship (and it also ensures that she’s not a vampire).

If she refuses the brunch date, she is either a blood-sucking creature of the dark or someone who hates an objectively delightful experience, so you should definitely jump ship either way.

Phase 5: Movie Date

movie date popcorn


I am NOT a fan of actually going to the movies as an early stage date; you just sit there in the dark and you don’t talk. You’ll have plenty of time to ignore and resent each other later on in the relationship.

For now, you’re still looking to get to know one another. Invite her over to watch a movie at your place. Wine is a nice touch, and since it’s just the two of you, you can still chat and crack jokes during the movie—and maybe even CUDDLE!

Picking the right movie is key; something light that doesn’t require a hundred percent of your attention is recommended. Lean more towards Crazy, Stupid, Love as opposed to, say, Requiem For a Dream.

Phase 6: Non-Bar Drinks Date

champagne scenic view


Now you’re more comfortable with each other and have officially gone from “dates” to “dating.”

At this point, just going to a bar to get drinks feels weird, but drinking in a fun location is cool and different. I suggest something like wine on a rooftop or beers as you watch the sunset on the water.

A much more DIY drinks date makes it feel fresh and different. Not to mention, it’s CHEAPER!

Phase 7: The “Take Her Out of Her Comfort Zone” Date

go kart track


This is a twist on the kooky date. She feels more comfortable and trusting with you now, so let’s make her immediately regret that.

Do something that she hasn’t necessarily done before, and maybe even scares her. She’ll ham up her fear as an excuse to act cuddly with you, which will lead you to feel more like a man. Everybody wins!

Tough to give suggestions here because I’ll need a detailed list of all of your significant other’s greatest fears, but off the top of my head, I’d suggest something like a demolition derby, haunted house, trapeze class, or go-karts.

Phase 8: The “Reveal Your True Self” Date

couple on couch

Well, you’ve done it. You’ve successfully presented yourself as an interesting, thoughtful, and entertaining person to date. There’s only so long you can keep up this charade.

It’s Time to let her know that the rest of your time together isn’t gonna be all rooftop wine drinking and apple picking. This is the date where you binge-watch a stupid show with her on the couch all day while periodically rising from the couch to answer the door to receive your food delivery.

After all, if she can’t appreciate you at your “haven’t showered, lying on the couch, watching TV all day,” then she doesn’t deserve you at your, “spruced up fancy dinner date.”