Should you have a probation period when you start dating?

Passing the vibe check isn’t easy.

29 May, 2024
Should you have a probation period when you start dating?

Be it at work, in relationships, or in life, when it comes to being evaluated, it’s important to tick the right boxes and not all the boxes. As we look to find our feet in this new setting, the feeling of being judged and assessed might make one want to over-perform and over-commit. While the power dynamic at a job sees the employer evaluate the employee during a probation period, applying the same mantra to the person you’re interested in is a different matter. It doesn’t necessarily apply in this context because both parties are equal over here. 

With the need to have a probation period stemming from one person, there has to be immense sensitivity from their side when they broach this topic with the person they’re interested in. The latter shouldn’t think or feel threatened by being told that they’re going to be on probation. What is being checked in both cases is compatibility. You could be a good person, but are you good for them, and are they good for you? Getting that clarity is something that you might get by implementing a probation period in your relationships. 

But is that a good thing? Here are the pros and cons of doing so.

The benefits

Gives the person time 

Keeping a probation period allows the individual/both people to assess compatibility and evaluate any long-term potential. Furthermore, each person can use this time to better understand themselves, what they want out of the relationship, and the person they’re interested in. They will understand their needs and requirements and see if they’re being met or not. There is now a mental space to work with and get to know the other person without any hurry, which means you should not dive head-on into the relationship after meeting them just once or twice. This is important for a person before they start dating. It also offers personal growth and development opportunities as they experience what they’re looking for when they hang out with another person.

Less pressure to immediately define the relationship

Keeping a probation period eliminates the need to have the ‘what are we’ conversation. There is a natural progression as the two people ‘go with the flow’. If things are to happen, they will, with both parties intending to make it possible. The efforts, gestures, and conversations are intentional here, but certainly not forced. 


You stop being in the moment

With the feeling of being on a probation period being overemphasised, the person/people focus on the evaluation and are hence distracted from fully enjoying the present and getting to know each other authentically. You’re not staying in the moment and allowing yourself to organically connect by constantly observing everything that the other person does and putting a tick or cross in your mind after their actions. 

You stop being authentic and hold back

Because you’re now on a probation period, you’re on guard all the time. There is potential that the partner is holding back because of a fear of rejection. People, in the early days of meeting someone new, are shy and take time to open up because they don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. This takes away the authenticity and overlooks the potential of a relationship that can blossom over time.

Feature image credits: Netflix

Also read: Questions to ask a potential partner on the first date 

Also read: Underlying red flags you must look out for on a first date