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Love Timeline

From saying “I love you”, to buying the ring, popping the question and finally tying the knot...there are many important milestones in our love lives. But what is the average age that people reach these milestones?
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From saying “I love you”, to buying that engagement ring and popping the question, to finally tying the knot, there are many important milestones in our love lives. These milestones can happen at different times for different people, with some falling in love at first sight and others taking a slower approach. But what is the average age people reach these milestones? Using ONS and YouGov data, we can reveal the average ages for these key life events, splitting them by gender.

1. Average Age

The average age for a firstborn child

Men: 33     |     Women: 29

Welcoming a child into the world is considered by many people as the most important event in their lives, even surpassing their wedding day.  

The average age for the birth of a first child is 33 for men and 29 for women. For both men and women, the average age at which couples have their first child has risen by six months from 2014. 


The average age for first marriage

Men: 36     |     Women: 33

Getting hitched is one of the most important milestones in many people’s lives. Although, with the increasing financial pressures such as the rising cost of living, both men and women are waiting longer to tie the knot for the first time. The average age has risen by 1.7 over the last ten years for men and 1.4 for women. 

Across both opposite and same-sex couples, the average age for first marriage is 36 for men and 33 for women.  


The average age for divorces 

Men: 44     |     Women: 41

Couples can divorce for any number of reasons, commonly including lack of equality in marriage, infidelity and a lack of commitment. Although becoming less common as a milestone since its peak in 1993, the average ages for divorces are 44 for men and 41 for women.   

The median age at which men in opposite-sex couples divorce has increased by four years over the last decade. However, the opposite is true for same-sex couples, with the median divorce age decreasing by 5.4 years since the introduction of gay marriage. For women in both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, the median divorce age has increased, by 3.7 for opposite and 2.5 for same-sex couples. 

One reason for the recent rise in the average divorce age could be that longer life expectancies mean more people are willing to opt out of marriages they feel aren’t working. It could also be linked to the rising trend for delayed marriages.   

2. Average Time

Meeting parents/close family

Men: 1 month     |     Women: 1 month

Another key milestone in relationships, meeting the parents or close family of your partner can be a daunting task and differs for everyone depending on where you and your partner live in relation to your relatives and how open everyone is to the introduction.   

The most common length of time for both men and women to meet their partner’s relatives is one month, with 20% of men and 22% of women responding with this time into a relationship.

One reason for this short period of time could be that people are taking longer to leave home, meaning meeting parents/close family could happen quickly.  


Saying “I love you”

Men: 3 months     |     Women: 3 months

These three little words are the ultimate confession of true love, an admission that you are

willing to accept a person for who they truly are, for all their strengths and flaws. 

Both genders are in consensus on this topic, with 22% of men and 24% of women responding that it took them three months to reach this milestone in their relationships.


Getting engaged

Men: 1 year     |     Women: 1 year

Popping the question is one of the biggest decisions men and women make as couples, as both are ready to take the next big step in their relationship and spend the rest of their lives together. 

The time into a relationship for getting engaged is the same for both men and women, at one year. 


Moving in together

Men: 1 year     |     Women: 1-2 years

Moving in together is one of the key life-altering steps in a relationship, involving important decisions made by both of you together in terms of where you might want to spend the rest of your lives with each other.  

This relationship milestone is one of the few on our timeline that differs by gender with 22% of men moving in with partners after a year. For women, the most common time to move in with a partner is tied between one and two years, with 17% for each.

3. Average Time Table


First marriages, first child and divorces were taken from The Office For National Statistics. 

Data on saying “I love you”, meeting parents/close family moving in together and getting engaged were taken from YouGov