Tips To Look Out For In A New Relationship

by AnomalousArtist

Some things to look out for in yourself and others when you begin a new relationship in hopes that you can avoid some common mistakes! friendship or in romance love ends up being a beguiling force that drives us, makes us crazy, leads us to create art, leaves us confused and even, sometimes, takes us to transcendent, wonderful places!

There are constant debates about what makes a person "ready" for school of thought is that you can't have a loving relationship with anyone until you are a complete person yourself who doesn’t need anyone...another school of thought is that the only people who ARE in relationships are those that are somewhat co-dependent, "half of a greater whole" as it were.

In this article I'll explore some ideas that I picked up while doing research and in talks with a therapist, suggestions of things to look out for in yourself or someone else when you're beginning a new relationship in hopes that the information will help you make good decisions about how you want things to proceed!

Long Live Love
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1) Love At First Sight? Maybe In Movies And Books...

The truth about real love that few want to admit is that it is something unhurried and patient, not something that comes in a rush.  That rush of feeling one has when one has met a new person or even discovered a new hobby, project or object of affection is something else entirely, and not always a rational feeling.  That isn't to say that the rush of good feelings that come with something new are not related to feelings of love; those feelings will hopefully help sustain a relationship with someone through complications and disagreements, and tend to come and go over time.  But love is something that is built, not simply "discovered."  It takes a long time to get to know someone, longer still to trust and be able to open up.  While there is no hard and fast rule about time length, anyone who is talking about "love" after only knowing someone a few hours, days or even weeks is probably operating from an unrealistic, possibly unhealthy perspective.  It's worth having a discussion with yourself, or another person, to find out "where the fire is" if love seems to come too quickly!

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2) Power Plays

One thing that seems to come up a lot is the issue of dominance and submission.  In a perfect world it would seem that two partners could/should have absolute equality.  The reality is that usually one person in a relationship will excel at some things, the other will be good at OTHER things, and there will be a lot of trading off. 

Often as not one person will tend to be more the aggressor, one will be more passive, and the balance works out nicely for both.  There are no limits to the different ways things can be in a relationship; the only things that must be worked out for certain are personal boundaries.  When one person is getting all of his needs met and one person is sacrificing everything the balance is off and the relationship is not healthy. 

Power can come in different forms...freezing someone out during a fight (or even just at random), talking extra loud/fast/often to trample over another in conversation, constantly making jokes or interrupting one's partner, setting unrealistic or unwelcome rules and ideals, criticizing, making unreasonable demands...these are all passive-aggressive ways of taking power in a relationship from a partner, and in small doses it may be no big deal, even expected/natural.  However, if one person has a habit of dominating the other and the other person is putting up with it it's likely to lead to resentment and blow-ups later.  It's important to establish right away with a new relationship what each person's personal boundaries are and make sure both parties are being respectful to those boundaries.  To not do this is putting a relationship at risk down the line.

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3) "Soul Mates"

There is a common idea that perfect partners in a relationship would, or even MUST, share everything in common including thoughts and actions.  Aside from this being an unrealistic goal to try to achieve, imagine how boring it would be to ALWAYS be in agreement about EVERYTHING!  It's not likely that anyone out in the universe shares every thing in common with another; to meet (or be) someone who has this fantasy when meeting new people is a set-up to disaster!

Similar to this concept is the notion that anyone can, or should be able to read another person's mind and guess what he or she needs in any given moment.  In time, through building a healthy, loving relationship it is possible to learn what makes another person tick and anticipate her or his needs to some degree...but it is not realistic, particularly in the early stages of a new relationship, to expect this sort of precognition!  Again, what is likely to follow is disappointment and resentment when one person's inner, unspoken needs are not being met automatically.  Good relationships are born out of communication and tireless compromising and adjusting; it takes time and effort, not magic!

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4) Telling All

Similar to hoping to find a soul mate or expecting deep/instant love at first sight, someone who tells a new, prospective partner, friend OR lover, everything about her or himself in the early stages of a relationship is someone who has not set healthy boundaries.  This doesn't mean people can't or shouldn't divulge personal secrets that are appropriate, sometimes (example: a criminal record or critical health issue) these are things that should be addressed as soon as possible in the nature of fairness and mutual respect; the danger signs are when one person (or both, actually) resorts to "telling all," basically either offering up more information than is warranted or  intimate details that are not necessary, welcome or even healthy to someone who is not known or officially trusted yet.  Again, trust takes time and a relationship is more healthy when it's treated like a card partner puts down a card, the other puts down her card, and together they work to see if there's a "match;" while the game is going either partner has the right to "fold," to push the metaphor a bit further.  Best not to lay all one's cards down at once!

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5) The Sordid Topic Of Coin

This is a gray area, as often gifts are an intrinsic part of the "seduction" process between people who are in love or even just friends.  While the idea behind a gift is usually a noble one and most people certainly enjoy receiving surprises and things, the truth is, in a healthy relationship neither partner should have to "buy" the others' affections or respect, it should come without financial loss! 

Specifically, a partner who buys inappropriately expensive gifts for another or one who expects these things, someone who asks for money or throws money around to try to make an impression...these are all red flags that someone is hung up on using money for power/control plays and a sign that an imbalance is potentially there.  This is not to imply that a rich person and poor person can never find  happiness together, again, it's about recognizing healthy boundaries and sticking to them.  The next time someone tries to "buy" your love with expensive gifts or, worse, you are expected to dip into your own savings to encourage the relationship to grow, think carefully what it is that's actually being bought, and how much it's really worth!

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6) Now Go Fall In Love!

These 5 suggestions just scratch the surface of a bigger topic of appropriate behavior in the early stages of a relationship, but will hopefully get you thinking.  Falling in love can be a dizzying, wonderful feeling...even better when you know you're taking care of yourself while you're doing it and working towards the healthiest relationship you can have!  Good luck!    

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Updated: 10/17/2013, AnomalousArtist
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