This article was originally published on MG International on December 13, 2017.
Ever heard of the phrase, “first comes love, then comes marriage”?
If only this thing we call love was that easy
The truth is that before anything happens, attraction comes first.
Attraction is the “butterflies” phase of your new adventure. It’s where your palms get sweaty, your pupils dilate and your heart races every time you’re around that person (or think about them).
The attraction phase is exciting, and according to neuroscience, we pass it once we start moving into the next level – the dating phase.
During the dating phase of a relationship, your brain is trying to determine if this new love interest is someone worthy of your love.
It's also during this phase that you get to know one another, and naturally want to spend a lot of time together.
The dating phase is critical to the making or breaking of this future relationship.
For smooth sailing, here are some do’s and dont’s to increase your odds of making the relationship last:
DO Give Each Other Space.
You both had a life before meeting one another, so make sure to keep doing your hobbies, hanging out with friends and doing all the things you were doing before you met.
Continuing to live your normal, pre-affair life ensures you don’t rushing into an ill-advised relationship and saves you from looking like a Stage 6 Professional Clinger.
DON’T Forecast (or Worry) About the Future.
Dating is about getting to know yourself just as much as the other person. Focus this time on learning how compatible you are with one another, what you both value, how you see the world and what are your future goals… also, it wouldn’t hurt to discover if there’s a happy overlap of dreams and desires between you and him.
Stay away from talking about "us" or “we” (as in the future tense)… it adds unnecessary pressure and can possibly scare him away.
DO Watch Out For Advice From Friends.
I love my friends as much as you love yours, but if you listen to all their made-up rules and non-proven advice, you may find yourself single again (or still). Your friends have the best intentions, they do. But, remember that their experiences are different from yours. ALWAYS. Follow your gut and your intuition. It won't misguide you.
DON’T “Over Share” Personal Details.
Be mindful that there's a time and a place for every conversation. There's no need to share every little thing about yourself immediately because this is the time to building trust with one another. When someone doesn’t know “you” that well yet, a random piece of information out of context can raise unnecessary suspicions, and could be the catalyst for the end.
Be yourself, but keep in mind that there’s a fine line between getting too personal too quickly and the end of a potentially happy relationship. Be especially careful when sharing past hurts, traumas or intolerances.
DON’T Stalk Him on Social Media.
Give each other space. I know you’re not really stalking him , but constant check-in’s on his social media could turn into obsessive (and annoying) behavior very quickly. If you're almost always the first one to 'like' any social media update he posts, it could send a “creepy” Red Flag Alert faster than a speeding ticket. Just observe and learn.
If you haven’t followed any of these do’s or don’t’s in the past, don’t beat yourself up about it. My goal is to help you avoid the pitfalls that could turn a potential relationship into a short-lived romance.
These tips will help you trust the process of nurturing a new relationship, and move it from the attraction and the dating phase into the love and maybe even the marriage phase (that’s what you want, right?) successfully.