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Finding the right person to share yourself with is no small task. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have found someone who they can see themselves with in life. All relationships have beginnings and these beginnings are the start of something wonderful yet also something delicate.

Each person is different from one another, that is why starting something with another person who is totally different from who you are is but a challenge to most of us. True, there might be no fixed rules on how to start relationships, but it will make all the difference if you’re at least prepared!

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Here is a 101 on everything you should know about starting new relationships…

Stages of a Relationship

Before anything else, you need to familiarize yourself with the different stages of a relationship. Believe it or not, not everyone gets past the first one!

1. Attraction, Courtship and Romance

The first stage is when you’re still beginning to get to know each other. Some people call this the honeymoon or fantasy phase because it can seem too perfect and your partner can even seem so perfect during this stage.

This stage can last from three months to two years. During this stage, both of you tend to focus on each other’s redeeming qualities and your flaws are all but ignored. In short, you only see the good in each other that is why you love spending time with each other and it seems to hurt when you’re apart. There are no conflicts during this stage that’s why it’s considered to be the most beautiful stage.

2. Reality Setting In

After the honeymoon stage, reality starts to slowly creep into your relationship. This stage will make or break your relationship. You will both start to see little by little each others’ flaws. The fantastic and high feeling of being in love starts to wear off.

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It’s not that you’re no longer in love, it’s just that you start seeing the realness of it all and the imperfections of your partner which was all but ignored in the first stage. If you are able to sincerely accept and look beyond those flaws and remember what made you fall in love in the first place, you’ll be able to keep your relationship.

3. Disappointment

In this stage, the imperfections you slowly saw in the previous stage are all but revealed and both of you are trying your very best to make your relationship work despite your differences.

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Conflicts and arguments start in this stage and some couples even break up or get divorced during this stage. If you are not able to positively communicate, trust and work together in this phase, you won’t be able to advance to the next stage.

4. Stability

The chase is finally over! You have accepted each other’s flaws and you still choose to be together despite them all. You already feel secure and connected with each other and you trust that you can both work through future conflicts that will threaten what you have.

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In this stage, make sure to start thinking of things you can share and do together to spice up your relationship because honestly, it can be a bit boring.

5. Commitment

Couples who have conquered the stages of love and reached this ultimate stage are very much content, happy and secure with each other. They can’t imagine themselves with other partners anymore because that would mean being with another person.

They’ll be able to decide during this stage to get married because they know that what they have is a mature and sustainable love that will last a lifetime. They can see a future together and are excited yet also at peace with it.

How to Start a Relationship

A lot of relationships don’t really get past the first stage because couples are sometimes trapped in a love bubble in the beginning of their relationship and when that bubble pops, they just couldn’t handle it!

Well, don’t you worry your pretty little mind, here is a list of the best and only tips you’ll need to work and get pass through the delicate stages of your new relationship:

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1. It’s okay to be vulnerable.

When you start something new, it’s pretty normal to have fears and doubts; fears of getting hurt and doubt about the intentions of the other person. Most of these feelings arise because of past experiences.

In order to make your relationship work, you need to set aside those for now. Let your partner in and break down those walls surrounding your heart. This is the only way for you to truly connect with one another and make something beautiful.

2. Don’t play games.

A lot of mind games connected to dating have emerged throughout the long history of the dating world. “Don’t text back too fast”, “Don’t call her back for at least three days.” Don’t engage in these superfluous games. They won’t do any good.

Remember, you are not here to play. You’re here because you seriously think this person could be so much more in your life. Be genuine and sincere about your intentions towards your partner. Make the other person feel and know how genuine you are by showing up to your dates on time, staying true to things you say and sincerely listening to your date.

3. Determine what really attracted you to him/her.

One of the most difficult questions that couples really fail to answer is if they’re asked about the reason that attracted them to each other. Some of you might say that it’s just meant to be or something, but there actually is, you just need to uncover it.

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Make sure you’re starting a relationship with the person for the right reasons. Your attraction must be genuine and not forced nor second-guessed. It must be something that is innate in the person. Looks are a poor reason to base your attraction, although it’s pretty common. It must be something that can’t be seen but can be felt when you’re with him or her. Trust me, you’ll know it once you feel it.

4. Find out if he/she has the qualities of an ideal partner.

They say it’s not good to have standards that are too high but it’s actually beneficial if you at least have standards. Be realistic with them, though. You don’t want to set standards that no one can achieve. It only reflects that you think too highly of yourself, too.

Logically and historically, an ideal partner is someone who is emotionally mature, honest, communicative, interested in everything about you, independent, respectful, compassionate, sweet, equal to you and of course, has a sense of humor!

Determine the type of person you’d love talking and spending time with. This is usually a great basis in determining the qualities of your ideal partner. It might sound like you’re just looking for a friend but in reality, the greatest relationships are those that started out as friendships.

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Dating Timeline

As Taylor Swift pointed out in her song, Delicate, the early stages of a relationship can be very tricky. You’ll be second-guessing your every move and you’ll be quite confused what’s what. Don’t stress out too much, that is totally normal!

In order to help you, here is a list of the most common questions you’ll ask about the dating timeline when you’re still starting out with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Remember, nothing’s set on stone, you don’t really have to follow the timeline at the expense of rushing things. Just go with the flow and everything will work themselves out!

How many dates before kiss?

As long as you both feel comfortable about it, it’s definitely acceptable to have your first kiss at the end of your first date. You have already started getting to know each other, you have walked her home and there’s an awkward silence which can only be broken by the sweet, first kiss!

How many dates before sex?

According to the 3-Date Rule, both of you should wait at least until after the third date before you get in bed together. Sleeping or having sex with your partner is obviously a big deal when you’re looking forward to having something more with that person and this rule dictates waiting for three days before doing the deed!

However, a study was made by Groupon and it revealed that an average person finds it acceptable to have sex after the eigth date. Girls actually think it’s okay to sleep with their partners after the ninth date and boys think sleeping together after the fifth date is totally fine.

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How many dates before a relationship?

Couples usually go on five dates with each other before making it official that they’re dating each other. Maybe this is the basis of most guys who believe in the 5-Date Rule as the marker of when it’s okay to sleep together since they’re already “official” on the fifth date.

How many dates before exclusive?

In this world of busy schedules, couples date once to thrice a week only. If a couple has already made sure to date at least once a week and has dated each other for 10-12 times, it only goes to show that they really like spending time with one and another and it’s time to make their relationship exclusive!

This is not a definite rule, though, because some couples go to as many as 24 dates together before becoming exclusive.

Bonus: How to Build Trust in a Relationship

The most important thing you’ll have to concern yourself when starting a relationship is trust. Trust is not something you just merely give or receive, it has to be earned. Couples who trust each other are on the path to a healthy type of relationship.

1. Respect each other.

If you respect each other’s differences, opinions and values, it’s a sign of a healthy relationship.

2. Be a man or woman of your word.

Making promises and keeping them scores you major trust points with your partner! Little things like showing up and doing as you said you would can go a long way.

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3. Be gradually vulnerable.

Open up to your partner to make him or her open up to you.

4. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

If you hear any bad gossip about your partner, learn to talk to him or her about it before you rush into any conclusions. You must believe him or her more than those heresays.

5. Freely and functionally express your feelings.

If you’re mad at your partner or if you have some pent up feelings you want to convey to him or her, don’t hesitate to positively communicate it. It’s the only way to resolve your conflicts.

6. Take a chance on each other.

It’s scary to start a new relationship but making that leap of faith to make the next move is essential to take your relationship to the next level.

7. Give and take.

Be prepared to cherish your partner and support him/her in his/her endeavours. In return, you’ll be amazed at how nice the feeling of being cared for also is. Love begets love.

Love might seem to be all about romance but something deeper awaits you when you’re in love. Love might seem all magical but it’s really about hard work and sacrifices to make sure that you get to keep your relationship with your partner. Nevertheless, it is a journey worth taking when shared with the right person.

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