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The Five Phases of Dating

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Auburn chapter.

Dating. Relationships. Don’t know how to live with them and can’t live without them. Doctor’s order is in—it’s my honor to present you what I like to call the “Five Phases of Dating.”

Phase One: The “Is This Even A Phase?” Phase.

It’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” minus the R rating.

We’ve all been there at one point or another. I like you; you like me, so let’s do the logical thing and ignore one another…

but not really because we really do kind of like each other.

(Optional) Phase Description: Pull out Legally Blonde’s tried and true “Bend and Snap!” move. Or don’t. This phase will have you questioning everything.This phase might even make you reconsider your major as you have found that weather is suddenly super interesting, and if this phase persists, you might as well get paid to talk about the weather as a meteorologist.

Common Symptoms May Include: flashback(s) to middle school day crushes, vividly increased awareness of eye color, attempt to stabilize “fight-or-flight” response, mild to extreme AwKwArDnEsS.

Commonly Used Language: “Seriously?”; “Well, there’s that.”; “I wish I could read minds.” ; “I can’t even.”; “I don’t even know what I don’t know.”; “It’s okay, I don’t care.” ; “Wait, what?” ; “Okay, today’s officially cheat day“Where’s the nearest Krispy Kreme?”


Phase Two: “The One Who Actually Matters” Phase

You know… there’s the guy who’s been your best friend since forever, then there’s the guy who might as well be your brother in all his peskiness/protectiveness, and oh, you can’t forget the guy who is the lucky recipient of all those ugly Snapchats (our sincerest apologies). Then, there at the top of your “recents” list, there’s the one guy who might possess all of these traits in some capacity or another—the one who, if we’re being honest, is the name that we want to see over all the other names.

Common Phase After-Effect: “Catching the Feels”

Phase Three: The “Blank Space” Phase

As the queen of relationships puts it, “Love’s a game… wanna play?”

*Notice that symptoms may vary from mild to excessive depending on the individual.

Technological Common Symptoms May Include: continued checking of personal cellular device, prolonging checking of phone 2.5 seconds when receiving a notification, smiling like an idiot in realizing he’s the notification, calculating precisely how much time before acceptable to respond; stifling an LOL moment if reading a humorous text while in public, and, on the rarity of occasion that the significant other enjoys verbally speaking on a cellular device, efficiently finding a private niche to chat, address overly active heart/restrain sporadic giggles, while maintaining the ever casual “Hey, yeah, ah, not much, I’m doing good, how about yourself?”; seeking adequate to flattering light for Snapchat purposes; double-checking before sending a text or Snapchat to ensure it reaches the intended receiver so as not to rekindle Phase 2.

Origin: “Playing Hard to Get”

Phase Description: This phase, though equally parts thrilling and agitating, often induces one’s feeling of confusion and infatuation with his/her significant other in its notorious reputation for guidelines that are subject to change with oftentimes no provided explanation. If not properly addressed, Phase Three can result as a terminal phase of dating.


Phase Four: The “Oh $#!+” Phase

Just when you think that you bypassed this phase, it makes its appearance in typical late reaction fashion as it leaves your S.O. looking something like this:

Phase Description: While there’s no specific diagnosis, having spoken with others of the male species, they say that this time period is brief, and they just need a moment to “process what is happening.”

Girl Code: This is that ultimate moment when guys realize they’ve caught the feels… and don’t know how to feel about it as they realize it’s not such a bad sickness after all. 

Note: Unfortunately, this phase often proceeds with little to no warning until you’re suffering from the aftereffects of this phase firsthand. If your S.O. has recently dropped off the face of the earth, then you might have just entered upon this fickle phase.  

Estimated Phase Duration: Depending on level of severity, can range anywhere from a couple of hours to weeks on end.

Origin: “Falling Off The Face Of The Earth”


Phase Five: “Aw, That Applies to Me” Phase

Valentine’s Day. All those zillions of love songs. Cold weather and cuddling. Best Friend/Partner in Crime. The “I need a hug” recipient. Your favorite-est person next to your cat…

There’s a reason that the saying goes, “Save the best for last” as this phase is, indeed, the best phase of all. What’s even better? That’s you! Congratulations, darling!

Phase Playlist Sample Dosage: Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”

Phase Symbol: A Ring (often referred to as “The Rock”)

Phase Duration: “…and they lived happily ever after.”

Let the “Five Phases of Dating” begin.

Karah is from Florence, Alabama, and is currently a freshman at the "Loveliest Village on the Plains" aka Auburn University studying Broadcast Journalism. Her dream career includes interning and later working for NBC network as a journalist. You might spot her at an Auburn football, baseball, or softball game cheering at the top of her lungs. A mediocre crossfitter, hard-core shopper, and chocolate chip cookie critic, she lives by the motto, "War Eagle to everything!"