Plus, when you'll first kiss them, hold their hand, and sleep with them, apparently...
If you're Googling, "When will I meet The One?," chances are, you've either just been through a break-up (read how to cope with being cheated on, here) or are bored of scrolling dating sites not knowing when you're going to meet your match. While everyone relationships will be different - every relationship is different, after all - Match.com have run a study to find out what the average age is that you might meet your S/O.
Interviewing over 2,000 people about their own relationships, they asked everything from when they became Facebook official, to how long it was until they first kissed your partner, to how long it took to sleep with them or say "I love you".
And, according to the findings, the average age you'll find your partner varies from gender to gender. That's right - the research found that the average woman finds their life partner at the age of 25, while for men, they’re more likely to find their soulmate at 28.
They didn't survey non-binary individuals, so sadly there are no stats on their relationship timelines.
They also found that most people waited five months to say "I love you" for the first time – and also to update their relationship status on Facebook. It took a whole extra month, on average, for them to be given their own drawer at their partner’s home.
Interestingly enough, it takes longer to hold hands with a new partner than it does to kiss them, the research says – with 34% of respondents saying they’d wait a week or two before holding hands, and 31% saying they’d kiss their date immediately if things were going well.
And when it comes to having sex for the first time, the answers were divided, with 27% saying they’d wait between one or two weeks to sleep with their partner for the first time, and 23% waiting a month.
But with all the romantic perks like holding hands and getting your own drawer also comes the less pleasant side of getting more comfortable with each other, with the first argument normally taking place around the six-month mark as well. This is also when people tend to introduce partners to their parents for the first time (which, we’re guessing, could be a source of tension for some people).
When it comes to the nerve-wracking conversation about the long-term future, the study revealed that 33% of people will have their first conversation about that within one year, with engagements typically happening after two years, weddings taking place after three, and kids after four.
If you haven't found your "One" by the age cited in the survey, don't panic. As above, everyone is different and you've got nothing to worry about, emphasises dating expert Kate Taylor.
"While each relationship moves at its own pace, daters are often reassured by comparing their experiences with others," she shares with Marie Claire UK.
"We all ask our friends, "When did you know your partner was The One?" or, "How long did you wait before you kissed?" If your relationship isn’t falling within these time frames, use them to adjust your expectations."
The important thing to remember is that everyone is different – so if you waited a week to tell your partner you loved them, or if you still haven’t said it after a year, that’s fine. Whatever works for you.
Does this relationship timeline match up to yours?
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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