6 Month Bump, 1 Year Hump, 2 Year Done

by Tobe Hitch on October 3, 2010

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Today we’re going to do a bit of discussion on the six month to two year relationship. When I evaluate my relationships, my friend’s relationships, and my sister’s relationships I notice a pretty common trend: 6 month bump, 1 year hump (and no I’m not making a sexual reference, perverts :p), 2 year done (roughly, not exact). Okay, before I hear the protest of people who say “that didn’t happen to me!”, I want to really emphasize that of course there are exceptions to the rule. And, I also want to state that I didn’t personally do an extensive study on this. So with that being said…

Here are the natural cycles of a two year relationship. The exact “dates” are not a science, so 6 months doesn’t literally mean 6 months, but rather the “general early stages of a relationship”. Likewise, a year is referring to the general “point in the relationship where you really have to decide if you’re going to be serious or not”, and the final 2 year stage is highly variable. Basically, you may not agree with the exact years, but the “concepts” are pretty (imo) universal to normal relationships. This post will be a general overview, and at some point in the future I’ll probably take a closer look at these issues:

0-5/6 Month: Honeymoon Stage

The infamous honeymoon stage. During this time, life is great. You question how anyone could ever fight in relationships! You wonder why there are so many relationships that fail! You keep thinking 24/7 nonstop everyday about how you’re so lucky, and how you ended up with the perfect guy/girl. Every time you get together is a magical moment. Every date is a new adventure. Did I mention life is great?

Oh man, and the hours you spend on the phone/gchat/text messaging…it’s like a second job, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it! You’re constantly talking and constantly doing all those super cheesy “no you hang up first” activities that make the rest of the world want to vomit. But who cares. Cause you’re so damn happy!

During this period, you just don’t know enough about the person, and the experience is sooo new that it’s hard for you to focus on anything besides the positives. I liken this to my relationship with my Palm Pre. When I first bought that cursed phone, I thought it was the most amazing piece of machinery. It was so pretty to look at, so awesome to hold, and so easy to admire. I was championing that phone like you would not believe, telling everyone that they should buy it. I was in love. Oh…how wrong I was. That phone is a piece of crap. Just like some girls that I’ve dated…(okay that’s a bit harsh and untrue, most of my relationships have been with amazing girls, but sometimes it just doesn’t work and that’s okay) But you get what I’m saying!

During this time, there are no real problems in the relationship, and if there are lots of problems that’s probably a very bad sign for the relationship.  Most of the times, this time is filled with chocolates, roses and happiness. And holding hands. And lots of PDA (Public Display of Affection). I hate you.

6 Month Bump

UH OH. The first sign of trouble. Most relationships begin to have their first “issue” at the 6 month period. Unless the relationship is superficial, the issue is normally not a deal breaker (a relationship ender). Usually, it’s a minor bump that you have to get over to continue on in this relationship. Maybe the girl said “I love you” to the guy, and the guy hesitated before he muttered out some “oh yea, me too” one liner that was obviously unenthusiastic. Maybe the guy has been wanting to go on less and less dates, and has been spending less and less time on the phone. Maybe the girl keeps going out clubbing with her friends, and the jealous and insecure guy has a problem with that (especially because as a guy he knows there are lots of dogs out there). For whatever reason, most relationships around the 5-6 month period encounter their first minor/half serious argument. The excitement is wearing off, the novelty of the relationship is mostly gone, and both of you are beginning to feel that absence of those initial emotions. You guys are now officially farting in front of each other, taking dumps at each others homes/apartments, and a lot of the initial “always must look nice, dress nice, smell nice” has started to wear off.

Most relationships that are superficial/flings, or are consisted of one member of the duo that is not as committed to the relationship as the other, end at this point. The 6 month bump is usually the litmus test to gauge whether a relationship has any real foundations. Usually, at this point, you don’t feel too much pain if you break up. Sure, it sucks. But you’re able to move on relatively easily from the relationship, and after the initial sting, you move on with your life and go clubbing with your friends. CHYEA.

Those, however, that make it past this small bump in the road, enter into the next phase of their relationship with each other.

6 Month – 1 Year: The Reality Stage

Congratulations on making it past the first six months! However, now comes the most precarious time of any relationship: The Reality Stage. Just as the name suggests, this stage is pretty self explanatory. Reality kicks in. You find out, to your horror, that the person you thought was perfect is actually, *gasp*, Not perfect! Certain things about them start to “concern” you about whether this relationship will really work for the long term haul. You don’t want to waste your time and emotions on a relationship that’s bound to fail, so you really start to ask yourself deep questions about whether you see this as viable or not. Here is one common question girls ask during this period, and one common question guys ask during this period.

Girl’s Question: What is he doing with his life?

Here is the bottom line. Girls want security. They want to feel like they are taken care of. (And some of the super independent, I don’t need any guy to take care of me types here are going to be absolutely outraged that I’m saying this). But I’m talking about the norm here. Therefore, it’s only natural for a girl to really question whether or not she feels secure with the guy she’s dating. The guy may be spending enormous amounts of time playing video games (not me of course), and she notices it a lot more now. She calls him 2 times a day, and each time her boyfriend’s response is “baby, I’m killing a dragon right now. You know this is my World of Warcraft time. How am I supposed to concentrate on leveling up my character if you keep calling me at this hour? I’ll call you later, after I hit level 59…I promise”. Meanwhile, he’s unemployed, apparently unambitious, and obviously doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. (Okay not all the unambitious types play video games).

Girls try to convince themselves that this is “just a phase” and it’ll wear off soon. Girls talk to all their other girlfriends who convince them, “oh boys will just be boys…they ALL play video games!” Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Some girls are willing to just trust the process and believe that eventually the guy will get his crap together. Others, however, feel like this is a deal-breaker, and they call it quits.  To this, the guy usually ends up dating one of the female elves that he met on his video game. Nothing like Video Game romance…

Guy’s Question: Do I REALLY love her?

Guys, generally speaking, have a wandering eye. It’s just so damn hard not to have a wandering eye to a certain extent. What is the wandering eye? It’s not necessarily that the guy isn’t committed to the relationship. It’s more that one of the biggest questions that plague the guy all the time is, “could I get someone better?” I know that’s so jacked up to say, but I want to say right here that girls do it too!! But I think guys do it more.

And so the 6 month – 1 Year question for most guys is, am I really into this girl? Is there someone that I think is better than her, that I could probably date? Will I be happy to settle down with this one girl for the rest of my life? The question plagues them, and they begin to notice little nuances of the relationship that they never noticed before. “Damn, she’s not as nice as I remember her being…”, or “damn, she’s not as pretty without make up as I thought she would be”, or “damn she’s so spoiled”. It’s a jacked up world we live in my friends. But this is reality.

1 Year Hump

This is the culmination of all the questions, doubts, and insecurities you’ve been stockpiling during the 6 month – 1 year period of the relationship. This is when you have your first major fight. A lot of couples at this point decide to take some sort of “break” to think about things again. You guys have been arguing about things for a while now, and you’re really starting to feel the strain and irritation that all this arguing has caused. This is really the point in the relationship where you have to ask yourself this question: Can I marry this person? And that “life defining” decision is a lot more difficult to reconcile than you imagine. Sure, some times when you’re with your lover are absolutely great. But having the same argument over and over again can become quite tasking.

This is the first “make or break” point in your relationship (if it’s really a serious relationship). This is the point where, if you break up, it starts to hurt an awful lot.

1 Year to 2 Year: The Serious Stage

After you get past the 1 year hump, the relationship takes on a much more serious tone. Generally, during this time, you begin talking about marriage a lot more, you start to talk about your future and how it’s going to work out together, and if you’re going to grad school, you talk about how you guys should both move to the same city together. You plan out your lives with the intent and knowledge that you are going to factor the other person into your decision making process. This is the point in the relationship where you feel that, at the very least, you’re going to give the prospect of marriage a legitimate shot. Some people go through a second honeymoon stage here where they feel a new sense of excitement for the relationship. Others decide that even though everything isn’t perfect, they’re going to commit to this relationship and take it as far as it will go.

However, if you didn’t take care of it properly, the 1 year hump can also enter into this period as well. Even after getting over the hump, if you are still uncertain and tentative, then the lingering affects from that stage can haunt you during this time as well, and ultimately end up with the relationship being dragged on needlessly, or being ended abruptly and painfully. Breaking up at this stage is very painful, and can cause a lot of bitterness, anger, disillusionment…etc. It can hurt a damn lot.

2 – 3 Year Done

This last particular stage is very variable. I’ve seen it happen a lot of different ways. At the 2 year point, you have a pretty good grasp if you can marry the person or not. Most girls don’t want to waste any more time with a guy than this alotted 2 years for him to decide whether he’s going to propose or not. This is because girls feel that ever ticking “biological clock” pressuring them to hurry up and get married. Relationships take a lot of work, and no girl wants to waste time with a guy if he’s still undecided. As a result, if the guy hasn’t proposed (or at the very least has been very seriously considering it) at the 2 year point, the girl will usually decide “it’s done”. Sometimes, couples can drag on the inevitable forever (they both know the relationship is doomed but both of them are too afraid of change to admit it so they hold on desperately to the sand that is slipping through their fingers)…but that’s really a dangerous game to play. Cause you could really screw yourself here, and waste your youth on some loafer who’s never planning on taking it to the next stage. I know some people who dated someone for 6 years and dragged it on (even though both of them knew it was probably over at the 2 year point), because they were too afraid of change. That’s a long time to waste, man.

At the 2-3 year point in the relationship, most relationships will either #1. End in painful misery or #2. End in engagement and ultimately marriage.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

qtaznbebe February 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

This sounds eerily similar to my. Only my ex decided I wasn’t the one after he left for the army because he met a girl in the army. Said he found the female version of him. He broke up with me on facebook; i found out by his status change. Then he got married to the other grl. I say he was a psycho to begin with and I was love blind.

Zobia August 12, 2011 at 5:10 am

Great post, really imformative and helpful. You give some pretty kick-ass advice! :]

Tova September 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

This is a well written post!

Amelia March 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

Great advice, my boyfriend and I are at the one year hump and having trouble getting through the arguments and trust issues… Your article helps me to see our relationship through different eyes. Thank you!

Nicki011 April 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I am very happy someone else has noticed this trend. I have had a very similar theory since college and have seen many relationships go through these exact phases! Well-written and insightful! Thank you for sharing.

Melissa May 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

I recently just got out of a 2 year relationship and honest to god this is like EXACTLY what it was, we though never talked about marriage since we are still super young.

Mel May 27, 2012 at 3:24 am

I could not stop reading every bit of this is exactly what I’ve gone through in the past two years. I’ve had enough and I’m ready to end it, he has told me he doesn’t want to get married and I do so there’s my answer. We are dragging the relationship along. I’m not going to wait for another 3 years to realize its done. I know it will hurt but it’s what I’ve got to do.

In between two hard surfaces June 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Me and my ex(?)boyfriend of 2 and a half years broke up suddenly… We were talking of marriage only 2 months before! But we do long distance and it takes it’s toll and he wouldn’t talk to me about it and so it made it worse. He broke up with me but I could tell he was hiding the true reason so a week later we met up and I got him to talk, he’s actually not happy with the break up but isn’t sure if the relationship will work again so now we’re on a month break for him to decide and for me to rely more on myself and my friends again. But he seemed so much happier after our talk and even began planning visiting routes and ideas. And he also kept leaning close to me and when he hugged me goodbye he kept holding tighter and even looked like he was going to kiss me whereas when we broke up he kept like a foot between us at all times… Should I be feeling hopeful that this will work out or is this just a reflection of his confusion?

Summer July 3, 2012 at 12:39 am

Wow right on. Except after over 2 half years, moved in, bought a house, he decided the stage at 6 months. Saw a whole new side. All the sudden I wasn’t pretty enough and he thought he could do better, end the end after a month of verbal abuse it escalated to physical. I have to say I can do better and have been so happy since leaving the big house in the suburbs. Everything did play out like the blog though. Let me say:
We are with certain people to help us figure out what we want and don’t want. Eventually you.ll figure it out:)

Sandra July 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This is good – I agree this is the process.

I’ve been in a relationship with a man for 6-months who is not working. I didnt know he didnt have a “real job” for the first two months, and he is still unemployed. We dont do much, and on bigger “trips” (which are not really big) we split the cost; however on most times out I am paying and if he comes to my office for “coffee” I am paying. Im getting a bit frustrated and it is causing stress between us. We have had mini-spats each month since month 3.5-4 about small issues, but this last argument was seemingly more, because of the jobless phase. I feel like I wear the pants – I seriously hate this – and wish he really would step his game up. I really like him, he is really fun – loves to get outdoors and hike, we have similar interests…I feel like I initiate most outings (and pay because of it) and its wearing me down. *Sigh*

Jadine July 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Me and my boyfriend have been dating for 7 months now (we are 18). Our honeymoon phase has never ended. I fell in love with him at around 3-4 months, and we’ve been talking about marriage since then. Our love is so strong, i’ve seen all his flaws and love him even more. He’s seen every side of me and still tells me i’m the only one he’ll ever want.

Brianna July 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

How do you guys keep the relationship alive? I’ve been with my bf for a year now and it just seems like things are falling apart effortlessly. I just want to love him and be with him.. seems like the hardest thing to do </3 its not even about the love anymore.. all about stupid problems

Rob August 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

This is a fantastic post, and something that happens in so many different relationships. After the two year phase (and before this, too), we also need to be aware of the factor that emotional cheating could take- even after two years, when both parties find themselves settling into careers, or even having children, there’s always that niggling tendency for people to still want validation from others- they may want to still feel sexy, to feel like they can make people smile, to feel like they are still desirable. If, after those first couple of years a partner starts to let this aspect of the relationship drop a little, it’s somewhat natural for us to look elsewhere, where former platonic friends may become that bit more- flirting buddies, ‘emotional cheaters’, or even a full blown affair- so just be careful to ensure you’re always looking after those needs of the other person in our relationship all the way through!

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

This is super accurate and reassuring. My boyfriend and I just hit our 2 year anniversary and we have been living together for six months. We’ve had some fights but we still manage to talk things out, and we talk about kids and marriage all the time. Hope it stays this way, Fingers crossed!

Fred October 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

A wise man told me once: there is only 2 ways in a relationship, or you grow towards each other or you grow apart. Working on a relationship is a key factor to make it work in the long run. Not that it should be a chore, but simply being conscious that you should spend some quality time together. If you experience (good) things together you grow towards each other.

Ivan November 24, 2012 at 9:04 am

Story of my life..First seriouse relationship and breaking up after two years..Sounds hard but I’m sure I’ll be fine at the end!

Ellie December 12, 2012 at 4:39 am

Tkns for the article….I think it’s very useful when applied to intense relationships (like mine). I’m experiencing the 1 year hump, as he wants a break…sad but true and the reason seems to be a major fight and the marriage talk (that I introduced as <one day, meaning before 5 years), which seems normal to me as we are both in our 30s…..

Leyla January 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm

This is an excellent post!! I’ve read it about 5 times and every few months i come back to it :) its really entertaining and accurate, thanku.. I wanted to gain your personal opinion on my relationship, if that’s fine with you.. My bf and i have been dating for just over a year now.. we experienced the 6month bump, and the 1year hump. But we worked through it really well and we got to know eachother even better in the process.. my boyfriends mother brought up the topic of engagement recently.. im 21 and my bfs 24, im graduating this yr and he’s finishing med skl next yr.. im going to start med skl this yr so i will have 5 more yrs in education.. i love him to bits, he makes me laugh so much and noone has ever made me this happy. One year on i still find him as funny and charming as day 1… his mother has brought up the topic of engagement a few tines… i stayed with her for two weeks and we really clicked and i love his mum to bits… she suggested we get engaged this summer after my BSc… my bf is really happy with the idea bcoz he has always wanted to get engaged around the age of 24-25 , married at 26-27.. as for me… i love him and i cant imagine myself being with,anyone else.. my previous relationship lasted 1.5 yrs with a guy i didnt love, wgo was insecure and put me down and which eventually got verbally and physically abusive. And my current bf treats me the opposite, so i feel like ive hit the jackpot.. but heres my question- am i too early at 21 to know what i want/to get engaged? At this point of my life he is everything ive ever wanted in a man. But im so very scared that im inexperienced to be confident in this decision… ill be in education for a while, will i learn anything new or want something different in life to that i want now? I considee myself to be mature and i have a warm gut feeling about my bf, his family and the whole idea… i just dont want to be too hasty in my decision, but the prospect of getting engaged to him is so exciting and romanrtic… hw do i know ill love him for the rest of my life :’( thankyou so much for any form of advice in advance..

Tobe Hitch January 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Hey Leyla,

To start off, I just want to thank you for your comments on the blog. Although I definitely do not keep it up to date anymore, it’s always nice to hear positive feedback on the stuff I worked on in the past.

I feel like your comment answered itself. If you can’t see yourself with anyone else, then I think the next logical step is to take it to the next level. I know that we often throw around that whole “you’re too young to know what you want” very often, and I say that’s bull. You’ve been in a relationship for 1.5 years with someone you KNEW you couldn’t marry, and now you’re in an entirely different situation, and if all the things you say about him are true, then he definitely seems like the kind of guy you should marry! One thing though – don’t EVER use this line of thinking as an excuse to abandon things later. Oftentimes, people hold onto these ideas – “oh I was too young” and they kind of use that as arsenal in the future when things get rough. ANY/EVERY/ALL relationships are hard. There will be times when it gets rough, and during those times you’ll search for any excuse to try and justify an exit. If you commit to this man promise yourself before anything else that you will never use this “I was too young and didn’t know what I want” as an excuse. Forever is forever.

I know that sounds daunting – but really, you’ll never live with yourself or forgive yourself if you let this relationship end. It may be a bit early, but then again you have an ENTIRE engagement period to test things out. It should be a long engagement–and relationships change just as much in the engagement period as they do in every other stage. This will be a good chance to see how you feel. You always have the opportunity to say no before you walk down that aisle. Of course it’s not ideal – but no matter when it happens, saying no will always suck.

With that being said, and I know this almost seems like a contradiction to what I’ve already been saying, but here’s a warning: my biggest concern for your relationship is that both of you guys are going to med school. That’s a huge time commitment, and will strain your relationship. What happens if you get into a med school in another city? What happens to your relationship then? Those are some difficult questions you’d have to answer and grapple with. I have a strong sense that, unless things work out PERFECTLY (which, sorry to say, they rarely do), then someone is going to have to sacrifice. Since he’s further along his career, that person may have to be you. So be careful with that. Are you ambitious to the extent that your career comes first? Or does he come first? Maybe this question is the most important one to answer, and maybe this answer will guide you in your decision of whether to get engaged or not.

Hope this helps. Good luck to you, and I end with this: this guy sounds like he may be too good to let go.

Leyla January 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Thankyou very much for taking the time to read and reply to my comment.. i really appreciate it and the advice you’ve given has really me :) i probably will go along with it this summer after my studies, as u said enagement doesn’t mean marriage. So after reading your comment, i saw him and i was on a little bit of a buzz and feeling optimistic.. after spending time together, i asked him in a jokey giggly way “so are we getting engaged this summer?” And he made a joke out of it and said “well im still waiting for the proposal! One day when i come out of work u can surprise me by setting up a circus and proposing to me with aeroplanes and everything” .. he was joking, but i obviously didn’t find it funny.. and he didn’t mention it again. even though last week he was at his mums and he said how he would love too and we could get the process started slowly. So i’m really not sure.. im never going to bring the topic up again as that just crushed me pride. it could be his mums pressure thats making him say those things when hes with her.. As with med skl, i’ll be in a different city, but when he graduates he said he’ll apply for training in a hospital near me.. the sacrafice in career is a bit of a problem for me, as i’ve always been an ambitious girl and i would naturally want to work for atleast a few yrs bfore i settle down with kids and all that.. and i think he’s more traditional in his thinking and would prefer me to have a less demanding job and be more available at home. We already clash in this subject already, but im hoping he’ll realise that ill be happier working and that his wages alone might not be enough for the household… i appologise if my issues seem petty! But keep up the excellent work and ill be commenting on more of ur posts after my exams are over next week! Thankyou again!

Ken January 5, 2013 at 1:01 am

Im in a 6th month bump, i still want him back but its really sad cause he dosent want me to be his girlfriend anymore!

James April 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Would someone mind helping me in my situation? I’ve been dating this girl for 9 months now and I fell head over heels for her and still am. I don’t wana hear its only been 9 moths it can’t be that serious. I just want some advice. Everything has been great. We hit a bump a cople months back because she had a best friend who was a guy. I ovbisouly didn’t like it and had heard “hes only a best friend” before and I didn’t want to take a chance. I told her I didn’t want her talking to him and she said shed drop him from her life. At first I didn’t want her to because maybe he only was a best friend. She said she would and that was fine with me. I found out she still texted the kid sometimes and asked her about it and she lied about talking to him. I flipped out and told her I was done then she poured her heart out to me got all her phone bills and showed me everything. To make a long story short he was just a best friend and they didn’t talk a lot at all. I was still very hurt and didn’t talk to her for a cople of weeks but then I thought about her and I and realized she was in love with me like crazy and would do anything for me. After seeing how upset and sorry she was I gave her another chance and even before and after she’s done nothing for me to question out relationship. However I still get really upset that she lied and hid something so stupid to me. I don’t want to hear she wouldn’t do that if she really loved you because I understand people make mistakes and she’s truly showed remorse. I’m here because I’m wondering if the relationship can stay intact with me still being upset about something that happened months ago. I really want it to work and she does too she’s been completely understanding and still cries and alologizes when she knows I’m upset about it. She is my bestfriend and I still love her even after everything. I’m just wondering if this is normal and if this upset feeling I have will eventually fade away.

Vince May 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Described my 2 year relationship with my ex to the TEE. Well done.

Eric June 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

4172011 and still standing strong, we argue about many things but a strong relationship over comes all evil. If you love that person, don’t stop fighting until that last heart beat.

Anonymous August 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

This is so true ….I find myself usually at the one year period wondering “do I love this woman….can I find someone better….can I handle this beast….what has she transformed to….lol …..but seriously…this guy is right on the mark.

Mary November 5, 2013 at 6:33 am

It sounds so true! I just out of a 2 1/2 years relationship. My boyfriend had changed 2 months before the break up. Coming home late or sometimes going to work at 2am and still have a lot of energy still can make it to Happy Hour. One time he had told me that he loves me but not in-love with me and that he wants to break up with me. I asked him what is going on and asked “Please tell me what is going on that I feel so confused about all this changes.” He said that,” He just feel that ever since he was in grade school he had been dating his ex-wife and always had someone after divorce. I asked him, “if he is seeing someone? His answered was he wasn’t interested in someone talking to someone or seeing someone. For me, it wasn’t easy for to just accept that cause for 2 1/2 years it has been so great. I am still in shock about all this but I couldn’t do anything but to accept it. I was very hurt about all this no closure what so ever. After few months he had told me that he had been textting someone that she I know her. This lady has 2 little girls and she is going through divorce and he offered her a book to read. I was very upset when I heard that comment. He was trying to comfort someone white I need someone to talk to and to cry on. He asked me that he still cares for me and that we could still be friends. I had totally given 110% in this relationship. After hearing that from him, I totally lost so much respect and made me sick. I stopped texting, calling him after
that. After a week I received a text from him asking hows everything with me and told me about the wedding of his cousin was okay. I didn’t text him back. Can you tell me please what is going on? Why is he still texting and why all this changes?

Unknown December 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

At first they are gentleman but after two or more years they are like an asshole to you.

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