There’s nothing like the feeling of falling in love. When someone new in your life is whispering all of the right sweet nothings, it’s hard not to want to scream it from the rooftops and let the world know you’re taken.
However, if you’ve ever ended up on the relationship side of TikTok, chances are you’ve scrolled past the hashtag #threemonthrule, falling down a rabbit hole of people talking about putting their partners on “probation.” So, what are the benefits of this trial period, and should you consider partaking?
What Is the 3-Month Rule?
There are a ton of trends when it comes to dating, and it’s essential to navigate love as healthily as possible while avoiding things like breadcrumbing and lovebombing. While the honeymoon phase can trick us into thinking we’ve found our life partner, slowing things down can help you see more clearly.
Simply put, the 3-month rule in dating is a 90-day trial period where a couple “tests out” a relationship to see if they’re compatible. During those 90 days, the couple will dive deep into their likes, dislikes, and potential red flags. Once the three months are up, they can discuss whether or not they want to pursue a long-term relationship together.
For those of us who lean more towards picturing an entire future together from the first date, it can be difficult to move so slowly and intentionally. Still, there are long-term benefits that come from building a healthy foundation, first and foremost. You become less performative and guarded and are more willing to speak to your needs.
How To Follow the 3-Month Rule
To properly execute the 3-month rule in dating, you’ll first have to both explicitly agree to it and define the specificity of your boundaries. Will you be open to seeing other people in the meantime? Will you tag each other publicly on social media? It’s up to you how strict you want to keep the boundaries within these 90 days. Many couples opt to keep things hands-free, saving sex for after the probation period and focusing on their emotional chemistry rather than their physical connection.
The most important part of this trial period is asking the questions necessary to get to know one another and identify any potential red flags. You can play a couple questions games that will lend to some emotional excavating, or simply make sure to cover these major topics:
- Emotional Needs
- Icks and Kinks
- Future Goals
- Dating History
- Love Language
This can be an intentional conversation that happens in one sitting or organically over time as you go on dates and spend weekends together. Make sure to invest in quality time, as it’s the best way to measure your chemistry with someone. As you get to know your partner, you can plan dates around your individual interests and prove how much you are actively listening to each other’s desires.
At the end of the three months, come back together and discuss any takeaways. Do you both agree that you’re compatible? Are there red flags that need to be addressed? From that point on, you can come to a decision about whether or not you want to continue dating, invest in something long-term, or ultimately part ways.
Love at Your Own Discretion
Don’t get discouraged if you and your partner want to move faster or slower than the 3-month rule allows. At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong way to do love. While the 3-month rule is undoubtedly helpful, there are some people who know they found the one within a week and others who need at least six months of probation. Follow whatever feels right for you.