I understand how exciting it is to have finally found someone you think might be “the one”. But before you commit to someone and to the relationship, make sure you aren’t just giving in to sexual chemistry alone or acting on the promise of material gain, and ignoring the warning signs of potential problems, hurt and a broken heart.
In our text, Facebook and twitter era, it’s easy to be deceived into thinking that you know someone because you sent them x-thousand texts or talk to each other on Facebook on a daily basis. While it is true that you can know certain things about a person within a few days or weeks of meeting him or her, but there are other things that take time to know about a person in order for you to decide whether to continue or stop seeing him or her.
Here are some guidelines to help you at each stage of your relationship. Do not feel frustrated if say, you are at stage two of your relationship but still haven’t found out things that you should have at stage one. Just make sure that you try to find out those things before you move to the next stage.
Also all relationships move at different paces, the stages are guidelines to move you through to where you want your relationship to go and not rules that must be strictly followed. The idea is to know when to quit and what needs attention for the relationship to move forward.
Stage One (0 – 3 months)
Make sure you know enough about his or her;
— Family background
— Attitude towards life, about love, commitment, children (if you want to have some), personal growth, professional help etc.
— Spiritual beliefs and practices, ethics and morals
— Sexual attitudes and preferences
— Career goals, financial background and habits
— Past love relationships, sexual history (including sexually transmitted diseases), break up patterns or lessons learned
— Health habits; food, exercise, grooming, cleanliness – personal and surroundings etc
— Fears, phobias, addictions and any mental health problems, etc.
— Interests, hobbies, dislikes etc
Stage Two (3 – 6 months)
At this stage you should be sure whether you are emotionally invested in this relationship or not. If you are not or feel that the other person is not, this is the time to get out. Be honest about how the relationship makes you feel.
— Do you feel the person is emotionally mature?
— Do you feel he or she hasn’t recovered from past relationships?
— Does he or she seem to have serious issues from his or her childhood that may or are affecting the relationship (needy, dependant, controlling, manipulative, abusive etc)?
— Is he or she emotionally (and physically) available – do you spend enough quality time together?
— Do you care more about the person than he or she does about you?
— Does he or she care more about you than you do about him or her?
— Are you more in love with the person’s potential than the real person?
— Are you infatuated with him or her for external reasons (looks, family background, social status, material possessions etc) more than you really care about the person?
— Are you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and sexually compatible?
— Does the person remind you a lot about a previous partner (in an uncomfortable way?)
— Do you exaggerate the persons qualities or lie to friends, family or co-workers about how you truly feel and about the relationship?
— Does the person support you in your goals, ambitions, interests etc and are they proud of you and show it?
Is the person faithful, devoted and affectionate towards you?
— Do you feel loved unconditionally?
Stage Three (6 – 12 months)
At this stage you should be in love — or at least feel strongly leaning that way.
— You know you love him or her and he or she loves you.
— You get along well (as few arguments, disagreements and fights as possible).
— You’ve introduced him or her to friends, family and colleagues.
— You have discussed your relationship issues and all the possible time bombs, and have agreed on how to handle issues related to this when they come up in future. This includes significant age difference, differences in spiritual or religious beliefs, differences in social, racial, ethnic or educational background, children from previous marriage or relationships, in-laws and other extended family, ex-spouse (s), girlfriends, boyfriends etc., how to spend or celebrate holidays, gifts, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Bottom line, if you have not broken up at all in 12 months, are growing closer and stronger together, the passion is still hot, you have a great friendship, spend lots of time together (and it always ends well), and you still feel that he/she is “the one” and have no desire to date other people, consider making it more permanent.
It may or may not work out in the end, but like every good thing in life, sometimes you have to take a calculated risk.
If however, you are having lots of fights, can’t seem to agree on the most important things, can’t stand each other for an extended period of time, feel like you are compromising (or still want to date other people), it’s probably a good idea not to commit yet. It doesn’t mean the relationship has no future, it just means you need more time and more work on yourselves — both of you.