Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rules To Start Relationship Off Right: Don't Blow It This Time

You've met someone who you really like. You've made it through the first date, the first week or the first month. You're crazy about this person and think he or she could be the "one." You think this time you may have found your soul mate.

But then last month, last week, and last year you also thought that you had found your soul mate. Didn't you rush right into that relationship, like you do every other one? And didn't history repeat itself because you have a history of quickly jumping in…often body first, immediately getting involved, loving too much too fast or, pushing too much too soon?

Even though you called them relationships, aren't they more like whirlwind affairs? And in the end, didn't it seem you like you were in a tornado rather than in love?

This time you have decided that you want to do it differently. To do something differently, you first have to become aware of how you used to do it. What have you always done in the past when you first got into a relationship? In order to not blow another relationship, really examine your own regular patterns and past behavior. Then keep one copy with you at all times of the following rules to start the relationship off right and another copy on your mirror. That way you can look at yourself and see how you're doing.

One way to identify your relationship patterns is to play the adult version of Connect the Dots. You remember the child's version where there are dots on a page and when you connect them you get a picture. In the adult version, you list your various behaviors when you're in a relationship. Then connect them. You'll get a clear picture of what you do and why you keep blowing relationship after relationship. I'm sure you keep making the same mistakes. Often the relationship becomes doomed right from the beginning, because of those same behaviors and repeated mistakes.

This time you want to start the relationship off right. Here's how.

1. Take it slow. There is no need to rush into anything. Believe me, if you really are meant to be together, you will have lots of time to be together.

2. Don't jump to conclusions right away after meeting a person and say, "I just know this is the one." In other words, don't start picking china patterns after the first date, week or month. And please, just because you both like mushrooms on your pizza doesn't mean you're soul mates.

3. You don't have to always be connected at the hip. Relationships are about connection. Connection is about bonding not bondage. And 24/7 will eventually feel like prison.

4. Keep your own life. This person is not your lifeline. Those who give up their friends and their life for their partner become desperate, needy and dull. And believe me, those are not charismatic qualities.

5. If you are a woman, keep your mouth and your legs closed. Confide in your girlfriends, that's why they are there. Relationships take time. You don't have to tell him everything all at once. He's dating you, not the skeletons in your closet. And, if you jump into having sex too soon, you increase the chances of really blowing the relationship. Women bond with their bodies. And once you have sex with a man, usually your entire perspective about the relationship changes. If a guy is a 4 before sex, he usually becomes a 10 in your eyes after sex. It's not that he's so terrific in bed; it's really the fact that women bond with their bodies.

6. If you are a man, keep your eyes, ears, and mind open and your zipper closed. When you first started rushing her and courting you did all the right things in order to win her. You really went out of your way to let her know you cherished her. Don't stop just because you're in a relationship now. Be that same man. Take the time to notice whether you are still making her happy or taking her for granted. And, wait on the sex. Even though you know that you don't bond with a woman just because you have sex with her, honor the fact that she does bond with her body; and, that for her, the relationship will change once she sleeps with you.

7. Don't ignore the red flags. Love doesn't conquer all. Sorry to tell you this but it's a Hollywood myth. In real life, if your partner is selfish in the beginning it is quite likely that he or she will become more selfish as the relationship develops. Remember, people are usually on their good behavior at the beginning of the relationship, so can you imagine what you're really in for down the road? If your feelings are hurt, let your partner know in the beginning. Don't let your partner cross your boundaries in the name of love because if you do, you'll keep drawing another line in the sand until there's no more sand left and you've eroded all your self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love.

8. Eliminate the drama. Good healthy relationships are based on love not crisis. If you create a relationship built on lots of drama, chaos, and constant crisis, you will drive anyone healthy away. A healthy person won't put up with it. Drama queens and kings can be "appetizing" at times, but do you really want a steady diet of them? I hope the answer is a resounding no.

9. Drop the mantra "I love you, you're perfect, now change." Make sure you realize that you want a relationship not a project. Don't go into the relationship expecting to change the other person. It's important that your lifestyles, beliefs and core values fit together. Right from the beginning, the two of you should have more similarities than differences otherwise the relationship probably won't work. Love is not the omnipotent cosmic eraser.

10. Relationships have a natural progression. You can't rush the process, you can't push things and you can't make them happen to fit your timetable. Just like you can't push the river, you can't push love. Relationships develop and go through stages. First there's attraction and passion. Then you build a foundation of emotional intimacy. Then comes the commitment. Don't skip any of the steps. If you push for a commitment too soon, you may scare the person away (and rightly so). If you jump into a commitment too soon without really knowing your partner, often you start to build up resentment toward him or her because you find out that the person isn't who you thought they were. And then you blame them for being dishonest or for changing. To avoid being disappointed and to stop being a serial monogamist, take your time. Fools rush in. Wise ones hang out. And when fools push, wise ones head for the hills.

If you follow these relationship rules right from the start and remember to date, relate, and then mate, maybe this time you'll keep the relationship alive.

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