The most common reasons why promising relationships fail to thrive in the first three months, and easy ways to avoid them. By match.com’s resident dating expert, Kate Taylor.
Fatal Error 1: Togetherness Overload
Oh, that joyous feeling of meeting somebody new and spending every day with them! Wait – where did they go? When you meet a new partner, it pays to ration the hours you spend together, at least at the start. You won’t want to– but it’s sensible. Those hours you spend thinking about them, missing them and longing to see them again are when you fall in love. The reason is Dopamine – this chemical in your brain promotes feelings of attraction and it thrives on delayed rewards. So keep it dates to once a week in the first month, twice a week in the second, and no more than three times a week in the third.
Fatal Error 2: Neglecting your life
This goes hand in hand with Fatal Error 1, because if you start seeing a new partner every night, you can’t help but neglect your life. But cancelling on your friends, skipping the gym, neglecting your job and ignoring your family are terrible mistakes to make when you meet someone new. Not just because you’ll seem less attractive to your partner, but because you’ll become far too emotionally invested in them. When they become your only interest, you’re much more likely to get clingy and needy about the relationship. How could you not? It’s all you have! So keep your life going and fit dates in around it at the start.
Fatal Error 3: Constant Contact
Daily contact is fine with a new partner, but hourly contact? Slap yourself! Smartphones have made it all too easy to overload the object of your affections with texts, emails and calls. It feels harmless, but it’s not. When you subject a new date to a barrage of communications, they begin to feel uncomfortable: should they reply every time? Do they have to call you back? Feeling uneasy about the unknown, they may begin to pull away. If you suspect you’re a bit of a Communications Cling-On, then restrict yourself to just replying to things, rather than initiating. After three months, you’ll both know how much contact the other person wants, and it’ll become natural.
Fatal Error 4: Immediate Intimacy
Not just physical intimacy – anything you feel vulnerable or sensitive about, you shouldn’t share with a partner too early on. Most of the hurt that you feel when a promising relationship ends in the first few months is down to a feeling of humiliation. “I opened myself up to them, and they rejected me!” So don’t. Build a relationship first, and then start trusting each other with your innermost secrets. Taking things slowly does NOT mean you’re playing games – people don’t fall in love with you because you’ve slept with them or bared your soul on the second date. Lasting relationships get built up in layers. Lay the groundwork.
Fatal Error 5: Taking things personally
When you start dating someone, it’s easy to take things to heart that actually have nothing to do with you. “If they really liked me, they’d arrive on time. If they truly cared, they’d call every day.” Not necessarily – maybe you’ve just started dating a person who runs late, or hates the phone. It’s not you, it really is them. Use the first three months to build up a picture of the person you’re dating, as objectively as possible. If there are quirks you can’t stand, address them AFTER you’ve passed the three-month mark. Why? Because your partner will want to be met with a sense of acceptance at the beginning, not feel like a renovation project you’ve taken on. Besides, it’s important that you build a true picture of your new partner, because that’s who’ll you’ll be living with forever if it all works out. So relax! Take things slowly and enjoy the early stages. (And send me an invitation to the wedding please!)
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