As with most things, dating success in the long run depends on how you begin. Here are some time-tested tips to give your new romance plenty of lift right from the start:
1. Let the oxygen flow. Here is a well-known fact: suffocation is a leading cause of death among new relationships. Yes, you feel driven to spend every possible moment together, but that doesn’t mean you should. It is important to maintain your own space and leave plenty of room for other important things in your life. If you suddenly realize you haven’t been to yoga class in four weeks, your friends think you were abducted by aliens, and you can’t get in the door of your house for the pile of unopened mail, the relationship probably needs a breather—so it can live a long and healthy life.
2. Save the sex. It’s a conundrum: you’ve finally found someone who excites and intrigues you, and the feeling is mutual. The electric sizzle between you practically melts the furniture in the coffee shop. Holding off on intimacy is like putting a cork in a steam locomotive. Well, maybe — but you’ll be glad you did. Too much high voltage intimacy too soon can—and frequently does—blow the fuse on a brand-new relationship. Sex throws the switch on a wide range of issues better left until the emotional circuitry of your new relationship is ready to handle them.
3. Set aside weekly together time. “Penciling each other in” may seem a bit formal at first. After all, what you really want is to throw away the planner and spend every second together. But it’s surprising how hard it can be to get your routine to cooperate with your desires—and you wind up settling for schedule scraps each week. Take uncertainty out of the equation: make one day or evening a week a sure thing, just for the two of you—no friends, co-workers, or roommates allowed. You’ll see each other more often than that, of course; but your weekly date guarantees it won’t ever be less.
4. Leave the future for later. Okay, chances are you are both thinking it: could this person be The One? That’s understandable. The whole point is to find lasting love. But the future is like an enchanted jewel; it’s beautiful, but the longer you stare at it, the heavier it becomes, until no one can possibly carry it. It’s better to concentrate on today and avoid too much talk about tomorrow.
5. When in doubt, communicate. It is astonishing how often people in a new relationship act as if romance is an exercise in mind-reading. Or perhaps they think they only get twenty questions, so they’d better use them wisely. Whatever the reason, they waste untold hours in agonized speculation about their partner. Here’s the hot tip: never make assumptions or trust in guesswork about each other when a direct question will suffice.
To keep your relationship aloft long enough to truly soar, pay attention to your technique on take-off.