What Happens in the First Year of a Relationship?

During the first year, you'll learn if you can trust your guy.
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The first year of a relationship is filled with thrills -- and sometimes spills -- that can set your heart fluttering and your head spinning. During this time, you're just getting to know the other person, exploring who he is and if he's the right match for you. Going on dates, meeting his family and talking to him will help you figure out if the two of you are in it for the long-haul.

1 Early Chemistry

You see him from across the room, the attraction is instant and you can't seem to take your eyes off him. During the initial stage of a relationship, you're likely feeling a physical pull towards your partner. This primarily comes from chemicals such as dopamine that your brain is releasing, according to therapist Debra Manchester Macmannis' article, "Why Do fools Fall In Love? Our Brains Have Some Answers," on the "PsychCentral" website. The rush of hormones coursing through your body may make you feel euphoric and constantly craving the closeness and affection of your partner.

2 After the Fall

After the initial excitement of falling in love begins to wind down, the whirlwind feeling is likely to subside. If you're still just as into your partner as you were when the two of you met, the two of you will begin to develop an attachment or close bond. During this time, you'll start sharing deep thoughts and feelings as well as learning to trust one another. For example, you might reveal how you've always felt that you were meant to travel the world and help underprivileged people or that you fear losing love because your dad left your family when you were younger.

3 Meet and Greet

During the first year of your relationship, you'll most likely meet your partner's family and friends, and vice versa. If you're still in high school, hanging out at each others homes provides plenty of opportunities to meet Mom, Dad and any siblings. When you've moved out of the house, you may have to wait until the two of you take a trip home over the holidays. Even though meeting her family may seem stressful, you can relax and enjoy learning more about where your girlfriend comes from. When it comes to friends, if you don't run in the same social circle, arrange for your friends and your partner to get to know each other over fun activities, such as bowling or ice skating.

4 Committed to Each Other

While you're casually dating, both of you may consider seeing other people. At some point during the first year, however, you'll decide whether or not to make a commitment to each other and the relationship. This requires a promise to stay together and work things out when they get bumpy, according to the article "Love and Romance" on the TeensHealth website. Although not every couple feels the need to make a commitment, partners who want to stay together for the long-term typically will. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you will get engaged or marry your guy right away; you can just make a verbal pledge, if that suits you both.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.