I understand how exciting it is to have finally found someone but before you get too involved make sure you've asked enough questions, are not giving in to sexual chemistry alone, acting on the promise of material gain, making premature compromises, putting commitment before true love and happiness, and ignoring the warning signs of potential problems, hurt and a broken heart.
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 the person.
Realistically it is not advisable to commit to someone in the first 3-6 months of a relationship when you are likely running on Oxytocin, which is a chemical found in chocolate. Oxytocin creates the sense of well-being and euphoria that comes with "falling in love." This might as well be dubbed the period of temporary insanity, because you are not in command of all your faculties; your brain is hijacked by those lovely chemicals, interfering with your ability to think clearly.
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 have not 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 – 12 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 has not 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, dependent, 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 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 (Over 12 months). At this stage you should be in love. You know you love him or her and he or she loves you. You get along well and you've introduced him or her to friends, family and colleagues.
Make sure that you've discussed all the possible time bombs and have agreed on how to handle issues related to this when they come up (and if there are any)
– 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.
– Holidays, gifts, anniversaries and other special occasions
The critical success factor in determining your relationship's success however, lies in knowing what you want, relying on proper communication and knowing how to compromise when you know you have found that special someone.