Is 'Romantic Probation' The Key To Long-Lasting Love?

Ninety days or three months is not something we often hear about in a romantic setting. In fact, if someone were to throw the words "90-day trial" out there, you'd probably think about Spotify's three-month free offer. What about the term "three-month probation"? Now your mind might go back to the first few months of your employment when your company decided to hire you with a clause that they can terminate your contract within 90 days if you don't meet their expectations. 

In a work environment, a three-month probation period is pretty standard. It gives both you and your employer a chance to really get a feel for one another. To see if you're a good fit and want to continue working together. Everything from your work ethic to your character is generally assessed during this time. If things go well, you're absorbed into the permanent staff and if they don't, you're respectfully let go. No hard feelings (well, mostly). 

Turns out that the idea of a 90-day probation in a romantic relationship — with its origins in TikTok — is making the rounds. Apparently, it's one of the simple secrets to long-lasting love. Here's what it's all about. 

Your potential partner is on trial during the first 3 months

The thoughts on romantic probation seem to be split into two camps — some think the entire thing is manipulative, while others see it as an intentional way to date. TikToker nadeenhui even recommended romantic probation for relationships that have a rocky start. 

The idea behind the whole premise is to treat your romantic union just like you would an employment contract. Come up with boundaries and terms for the first three months and go into the dating process with a goal to really get to know the person in front of you. No rose-tinted glasses and no time wasted, according to TikToker manifestingbabe. If you don't want to have sex in the first few months, make that a part of the agreement too. 

Proponents of this probationary period think that 90 days is usually the time it takes for the cracks to appear in a relationship. As relationship expert Morgan Cutlip wrote in My Love Thinks, "It takes around 90 days for a person's patterns to emerge." Does your date treat your friends with respect? Are they kind and communicative during a conflict? Do their values and goals align with yours? These are some of the key questions to which you'd likely have answers once the romantic probation period is up. What happens after? Well, you either walk away or commit to something more long-term, depending on how you both feel.  

Why are romantic probations useful and how should you do them?

Dating coach and podcaster Joshua Sigafus shared that the three-month rule can help people who are stuck in a dating phase to become more intentional about finding their person. Being goal-oriented is also a great way to weed out partners whose intentions for dating don't match yours. Ultimately the key to long-lasting love is finding someone whose values align with yours. It's not ideal if your date is looking for something casual and you're trying to settle down. 

Romantic probation could also force you to get out of the honeymoon phase and view your partner for who they really are. If you decide to try it for yourself, however, be clear about your terms and make sure both parties agree on them. Be respectfully honest about your relationship needs too. Otherwise, there will be no criteria by which you can assess one another. If how you handle conflict together is important to you, try not to shy away from having difficult conversations during the three months. You can learn a lot about someone by how they argue. TikToker manifestingbabe added that it'll help to look at the person's actions and not their words during this time. Who knows? A romantic probation may even uncover your own blind spots that may be sabotaging your chances at love.

Long-lasting love is not easy to come by. Could romantic probations hold the key to finding them?