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Gandhi says, "If this person makes your relationship easy, you are compatible, and you like to be together, it sounds like a good foundation to get serious." She warns, however, that "if you are unhappy more than you are happy in your relationship, it is probably unhealthy.

Sabrina Paparella is a writer, content manager, and search strategist whose resume includes positions with Red Hen Press and Clique Brands Inc.She earned a master's degree in English language and literature from Claremont Graduate University.When is it best for couples to start getting serious? Does falling out of the honeymoon phase mean falling out of love?To help provide some clarity, we asked two dating experts, Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy, and Nora De Keyser, matchmaker for Three Day Rule, for their takes on the most common stages of a romantic relationship.Saddling up the courage to even approach the other person, drafting up clever texts—while exciting, the very first steps of a potential relationship include the biggest challenges of all.

The first date can be difficult, too, and something that De Keyser says is an inevitable first stage in dating: "Both parties are nervous, overthinking, and worried it is going to be 'another' wasted date with someone they don't connect with." It may not turn out exactly as you expected, but De Keyser says, "Always go on a second or third date because most people don't represent themselves fully in the first few dates.It's incredibly tough to be vulnerable with another person and to reveal—openly and unequivocally—parts of yourself that aren't ideal."This is the part of dating that is true and raw," De Keyser explains.Surprisingly, both women had similar ideas for what partners can expect as a relationship goes from casual dates to seriously coupled.Bela Gandhi is the Founder and Director of Smart Dating Academy and a weekly media correspondent as the dating and relationship expert on The Steve Harvey Show with appearances on several other shows.Moving on from falling in love to contemplating long-term exclusivity, however, is a scary, albeit exhilarating, step to take.