couple experiencing relationship milestones

You know the drill. You meet the one, fall in love, and live happily ever after. It’s an age-old fairy tale. But do men really see things differently to women? Are they really from Mars while we’re from Venus? Here’s how couples – both men and women – see some of the major relationship milestones.

5 Relationship Milestones (and How We View Them)

The First Kiss

The date’s gone well, he’s walked you to your door (or your Uber!), and the time has come to say your goodbyes. You’re ready. The time is now. You want to seal the deal with a kiss. You take a breath, lean in, and let the magic happen.

It’s terrifying and exhilarating all at once. Your heart beats faster than you thought possible. You wonder what’s going through his head. Women tend to put more significance on the act of kissing, according to research from the University at Albany.

The study found major differences between the ways in which men and women view locking lips. While women tend to insist on kissing before having sex, many men are happy to do the deed without ever puckering up.

The First Real Fight

Spoiler: couples fight. It happens.

man and woman arguing

But when you’re new to a relationship, that first big heartbreaking argument can feel like the end of everything you’ve built together. What’s more, some people (I’m looking at you, men!) think that it just might be.

Women recover better than men do in the wake of an argument, according to research from Penn State. The study looked at how couples who were expecting a child cope with relationship conflict. Overall, the findings suggested men find it harder to get over fights, arguments, and disagreements with their partner.

It’s only natural men would see the first fight as more consequential than it is. They might view it as an omen of the troubled waters ahead or a sign that, on some fundamental level, the relationship is doomed to failure. On the other hand, women have a much easier time forgiving and forgetting… oh, and moving on!

Saying “I Love You”

From the moment these three fateful words are said, the entire relationship changes. You’re no longer simply seeing one another. This is real. You’re in love. Things just got serious. Timing is everything when it comes to this one. This one is a biggie, in terms of relationship milestones.

Unsurprisingly, men and women have quite different ideas on when they should declare their undying love for a new partner.

couple in love in garden

Men are more than twice as likely to say “I love you” within the first week of dating a new partner, according to a study by Mattress Online.

The results showed 2% of women would consider saying it within the first week, while 5% of men would do the same. After the three-month mark, more than half of the people surveyed – both male and female – said they would expect to use the L-word.

Moving In Together

Dating is one thing, but are you ready to pack up all your belongings and move for your partner? Taking the leap and moving in together is perhaps one of the biggest relationship milestones.

It’s not just about saving money and splitting the bills. It’s a sign your partnership is no temporary arrangement. No matter how hard you try to kid yourself otherwise, it’s a massive deal – and you both know it.

If you’re wondering why your special guy isn’t psyched about handing over the keys, there’s something you should know. Women benefit more from moving in with their partners than men do.

Research from Ohio State University found women experience a general decrease in emotional distress when they move in with their significant other.

relationship milestones

However, men did not experience this unexpected benefit of cohabiting. So, perhaps it’s no wonder that he sees it as “no big deal.”

The Proposal

When will he drop down to one knee and pop that all-important question? This is one of those relationship milestones many women lose sleep over, and it’s no great secret the way in which men and women view marriage is strikingly different. The varying opinions on when the time is right could be the reason few couples see eye to eye on this subject.

The stats speak for themselves. A massive 91% of men wouldn’t consider proposing to their partner until they were two years into the relationship, according to one survey. That’s startling, given that 63% of women want a proposal during the first year of dating.

With that in mind, when your significant other does decide to make things official and ask for your hand, there’s one thing you can be certain of: they mean it. Typically, men take longer to mull over the idea of marriage before they dive into it. While women contemplate it as well, we are, on average, faster in looking for that level of commitment.