New relationship dos and don'ts

By The Mirror
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New relationship dos and don'ts

The first few weeks of the love game is when one of two things might happen: romance and passion infects you, bonding your hearts forever more, or one of you flops and ruins the chemistry before it has, a chance to take hold. Which will it be for you? Heed our tips and make sure your relationship kicks off with a bang.

Have normal, get-to-know-you conversa­tions. Talking incessantly about how you feel and how great things are going between the two of you is nothing short of obnoxious. It projects a certain amount of immaturity that repels the good dates and attracts the wrong ones.

Pressuring your date to do anything is a big no-no. Once again, it is a sign of relation­ship immaturity as well as personal immaturi­ty. You could beg your date to go to church with your family on Sunday or argue good reasons to stay the night with you - the nature of your pressuring doesn't matter. What matters is that you are selfishly disre­specting your date's boundaries. If a relation­ship starts off with one person pressing on the other's limits or preferences, there are bound to be loads of regret by the end of it.

Taking hints
Pay attention to the clues your date is giv­ing you. They may be inviting more intimacy, they may be trying to show you where their boundaries are, or they may be trying to sub­tly tell you that you've got dragon breath. Either way, you want to know, so pay atten­tion. If you aren't sure, ask; it is a far better option than making the wrong assumption.

Texts and 'phone calls
Refrain from over calling/texting to keep things light and friendly. Remember the guidelines for conversation even when tex­ting. The "I miss you" text every day when you only just met is really annoying. Not until you are an "official" couple is it appropriate to text or call to talk about your emotions or anything sexual.

What you should focus on is getting to know the other person and letting them get to know you. Think of it this way ... After every message or every phone conversation, the other person is going to mull over it in their mind and might even talk about it with a friend. They will dismantle every word you said and search for more meaning behind the words.

Everybody wants to put their best foot for­ward in a new dating relationship; but don't pretend to be someone you are not. In turn, watch for warning signs that your date isn't all they seem to be. Dishonesty, especially misrepresenting themselves, is a big red flag that shouldn't be ignored. When you do get a clue that there are major differences in like spirituality, family, social ethics, or politics, be honest with yourself about the possibility of being truly happy with them. You are looking for a match and so are they.

Gut instincts
Listen to your gut. If you hear the little alarms going off inside of you, pay attention to them. It is easy to brush your feelings to the side an effort to fall in love, but when you ignore your instincts over and over again, it gets more difficult to recognise when they are trying to alert you. Most of the time, later on in a relationship or a while after a relation­ship, one can look back and see the exact time during the first few weeks (many times in the first couple of days) that they had a gut feeling about their date and it turned out to be right.

Don't be too quick to judge. Sometimes it is wise to look at yourself just as critically during a new relationship. For instance, if you are often turned off by how little men spend on you when they take you out, per­haps it is your value system that needs a check-up rather than theirs.

Maintaining yourself
Don't drop everything else in your life. It is common, especially for women, to forget about themselves and take on the identity of their partners. That is the consequence of bad past relationships and lack of positive relationship role models. You can prevent losing yourself in a new relationship by keeping the things that matter to you a part of your daily life. Things like journaling, reading, exercis­ing, and spending time with friends and fam­ily, all the things that help to keep you a healthy, balanced person, should remain high on your priority list. Make a point to enjoy the same things you normally do, even in the first weeks of a new romance.

Lowering the bar
Keep your standards high. Don't talk yourself into being okay with something that you aren't. Settling is a sure way to get your­self into a miserable relationship. Do you remember the last time you said to yourself, "I should have known when they ... ?" If you aren't sure what your standard is, make a list of all the things you want in a partner. If your date doesn't fit the bill, don't waist your pre­cious time.

Alcohol consumption
The general rule is to stay relatively sober for at least the first month of dating someone. Getting slouchy drunk anytime in those first few weeks is likely to be your kiss of death, They will undoubtedly see you at your worst and redeeming yourself from that is not an easy feat.

Meeting friends, family, and the ex
Ease your new love interest into your social circles. Start off by introducing them to a few select friends, particularly those who help you "screen" prospective mates. An introduction to family members, especially parents, and ex's, even if they are still a part of your life, shouldn't happen until you are at least approaching a month of dating. Why? Besides being a little weird and moving too fast, you want to wait because it takes a while to establish comfort levels in social situa­tions. This will giye you time to learn to recognise each other's cues and know enough about each other that an "inner circle" situa­tion isn't uncomfortable.

Keeping your distance
Don't overwhelm them with attention. Don't invite yourself over more than once a week; and don't smother them with physical affection when you are together. You may feel the urge to reach out and touch their sweet face over and over again, but refrain because it is uncomfortable. Men and women often make the mistake of jumping into "cou­ple" behaviours like smooching, holding hands, using terms of endearment, and touch­ing them in sexual ways too soon and scaring off their dates. I will again reiterate that get­ting to know someone for who they are as an individual could be the focus of a new rela­tionship. Too often, people get caught up in the romance before realising how little they actually know about their partner.

Everybody has their dirty little secrets, and it wouldn't be good for you to go telling them to every person you date, but you might want to drop a hint here and there to test the waters. In those first couple of weeks, be as honest as you would like them to be with you. For some couples, after a few dates and things are going well, it could help to discuss the fact that you both have pasts and that you should share them later on down the road. Just make sure that when that one month mark (or comparable milestone) comes around, you let them know some of the details of the skeletons you alluded to. Other­wise, they become secrets that will surely hinder your relationship.