Stages of Romantic Relationships Through Meals: A Completely Fictional Study

Photo by Ali West
How long have they been dating? Two months? Two years?

Relationships are perilous minefields of miscommunication. Countless people have spent countless hours trying to figure out if it's the right time to wear sweatpants or go without makeup.

How are you supposed to know when the honeymoon period is over and you can stop turning on the shower each time you use the bathroom? Facial cues and body language? It's a mystery.

Unless you're paying attention to what you're eating. A couple's meals together reveal more than how hungry they are, they'll also tell you what phase of their relationship their in, from courtship to the honeymoon stage and full on true love.

The Honeymoon Stage: Candlelit Dinners

Photo by João André O. Dias
Romantic, no?

This shouldn't be a surprise: candlelit dinners are most common during the early stages of a relationship. The carefully decorated table-settings commonly present in these types of dinners reflect the typical caution taken by new couples.

Showing up in your best clothes, making sure there's nothing in your teeth, and tripping over words trying to be witty are essential actions to early courtship, so it's a good thing candlelit dinners are by nature fancy -- all the motivation you need to not show up in your favorite Harry Potter T-shirt and usual unkempt hair-do. Dim lighting will be helpful for the food-in-teeth issue, and overly nice waiters will be a useful resource for alleviating any nervousness. Candlelit dinners really do their job well, don't they?

Getting Comfortable: Fast Food Dates

Photo by Stephen Oung
Now that's comfort

When you and your significant other choose to eat at a fast food restaurant as your monthliversary ("monthly anniversary"), it's time to realize that by now you don't care about impressing one another so much.

While the purpose of your dinner is to celebrate your relationship, it's hard to ignore the fact that a double-double, animal fries, and large shake are sitting right front of you. With less time focused on getting to know one another and more time to eat, it's totally alright to acknowledge that eating junk food with your lover instead of an expensive steak can be a lot more fun, sweatpants not included.

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