This Is When Most Couples First Say "I Love You"

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From when to leave your toothbrush at someone's apartment to when to first say "I love you", a lot of us wonder if our relationship is progressing at a normal pace. In 2016, Match did a survey of 2,000 users to find out exactly when relationship milestones happen. And some of them were a big surprise — it takes most people six months to leave a toothbrush at someone's house. Which I just don't understand. Do you, like, carry a toothbrush in your bag for six months? Have you seen the bottom of my bag? It's filled with brownie mush and water and regret. I need to get my toothbrush out of there ASAP. But some of it rang true with things my friends have said about their relationships, mostly about when they think is the right time to say those three big words.

Before you get too hung up on what everyone else is doing, I would stress that you shouldn't get too into comparing yourself to a "norm"." Every relationship is different and just because you haven't hit certain milestones by a certain time doesn't mean you should panic or see it as a red flag. But it is also good to know how some things progress, because it helps you figure out what you want in a relationship. And more than anything, it's just interesting to see how other relationships work, if only because everyone's "normal" is actually so different. So here's what the survey showed us about the biggest milestones, because I'm so uncool I didn't realize updating your Facebook status is still a thing:

1. Saying "I Love You"

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So what about those three little words? "I love you" normally comes about five months into a relationship, according to the survey, or if you want to be precise at 144 days. My friends have always thought around the six months in is standard, so it lines up. But as Toni Coleman, a relationship coach and divorce mediator, previously told Bustle, "There is no perfect time or place. The right time won’t happen because your partner is in a good mood or you are enjoying something special together. It will be the right time because you are both feeling something special for the other, and your connection is undeniable.” So don't sweat it if it isn't exactly on schedule.

2. Quickly Followed By The Facebook Update

I was sort of surprised to hear that social media updates are after you say "I love you" — really? Is Facebook a bigger deal? But at around 157 days it does seem to after the L word. Honestly most of my friends don't update relationship status at all— I don't think I even have mine on Facebook — but it looks like some people use it a source of being "official".

3. We Kiss Before We Hold Hands

Another surprising one. Apparently 31% said they would kiss someone new right off the bat, but 34% said they'd need a week or two before holding hands. Is that more intimate than kissing? I guess a kiss is more expected and has a bit more buildup, so maybe that's why it happens first. And holding hands may be more of an innately intimate gesture than you think — it has a lot of psychological effects, including the ability to help ease pain.

4. But There's A Big Range On The Sex Front

So 27% wait between a week or two for sex, but around the same amount— 23% — wait a month, so it's pretty spread out. Presumably the other 50% wait even less or way longer, further proof that there's no "right" way to do things. Have sex when you feel comfortable having it.

6. Six Months Is A Big Deal

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According to the Daily Mail, a whole lot of milestones appear around the six month mark. Revealing your imperfections comes across at around 173 days and the first fight tends to happen round 170 days, and also meeting the parents. Basically it's when sh*t gets real. Kudos to all those people who can hide their imperfection for six months, but why would you want to?

7. And Then The Big Stuff

Once the six months is over then some of the big stuff starts to happen, like going on vacation . And everything else kicks off around the two-year mark. The average length before people get engaged is 743 days (so just over two years), then a year later it's marriage (at 1,190 days), and then a year later a baby (1,422 days).

So you can go from 0 to complete family in four years, which I find sort of encouraging and terrifying at the same time. But like I said, everyone's different, and just because you aren't following this timeline at all there's no reason to panic. You do you.

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