When you’re just getting to know somebody who is boyfriend/girlfriend material, it can be both thrilling and stressful. You enjoy getting to know what makes each other tick. But there’s also a great deal of uncertainty. You worry that you’ll say something or behave in a way that leads them to believe you’re a big weirdo. However, there are ways to minimize the risks of saying or doing something that kills the relationship before it’s really even begun. Here are 11 no-nos that you should avoid early in the relationship.
1. Acting too needy/clingy
It’s natural that at the beginning of a relationship, you would want to spend as much time with somebody as possible. The feeling is probably mutual. But if he/she wants to attend their book club as they do every Tuesday evening or get a coffee with a friend without you tagging along, don’t allow yourself to feel jealous or resentful. As your relationship grows, they will be more willing to integrate you into their broader social life, including getting to know their closest friends. At the same time, it’s important that you both continue to have lives outside of your relationship.
2. Moving too quickly to plan your future together
When you make the transition from going on dates to officially becoming an item, there’s a feeling of euphoria and excitement that can’t be ignored. They are so amazing! Hell, you even find their annoying little quirks to be endearing. Maybe he/she really is the one! It’s that way of thinking that causes some folks to make the terrible mistake of trying to plan too far in ahead. If you’ve only been together for a few weeks or even months, it is way too early to discuss moving in together. And hinting at a wedding is also a big no-no at this stage. Just enjoy the relationship and be patient. There’s no need to rush.
3. Comparing them to your exes
If you’re telling your boyfriend/girlfriend how they’re measuring up vs previous partners, you’re sending two really bad messages. First, it conveys to them that you might not be over your ex, especially if you’re discussing them in a positive light. Second, it puts unnecessary pressure on them to meet whatever expectations you have for them, even if you think you’re complimenting them for being so much better than Jake or Jennifer ever were.
4. Expecting them to conform to all your ideals
While compatibility and shared interests are obviously an important part of a relationship, you must allow for some flexibility. As you go on dates and get to know them, don’t treat the occasion like you’re a human resource manager. Don’t obsess and make mental notes over their eating preference, how interested they are in sports or how much partying they’re willing to do. Accept them for who they are and use that as the criteria for whether a long-term relationship is viable.
5. Ignoring the immediate red flags
While you certainly can’t expect a partner to be perfect in every way, there is also a risk of overlooking all of their negative qualities either in hopes that they will change over time or, because you find them so physically appealing, you’re trying to convince yourself that these character flaws are no big deal. If you notice that they have traits that would be difficult to contend with — perhaps they are highly confrontational, make questionable decisions that have gotten them into trouble, or they have deeply held political or religious beliefs that align in ways that would constantly lead to conflict — there’s a very good chance that the relationship won’t last.
6. Showing up at their workplace
Surprising a new boyfriend/girlfriend by making them a meal or sending them flowers (or even better, tickets to the Super Bowl!) is a lovely gesture. But dropping by their office early in the relationship — especially at the stage when they haven’t even mentioned your existence to their co-workers — can be embarrassing and, quite frankly, creepy. Give them a few months to hype you up before you make your grand appearance.
7. Loaning out money to them
If you’ve only been dating for a little while and he/she starts asking you to lend them money, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the relationship. For starters, it is a surefire indication that they aren’t very good with their finances. Second, it sends a message that they take you for granted, which is not a good thing when your relationship is just getting off the ground.
8. Focusing almost exclusively on the relationship’s intimacy
At the beginning of the relationship, you’ll be doing a whole lot of making out and, most likely, more. But you should not neglect the other elements, including emotional compatibility. Finding common interests and being willing to listen to them when they’re having a difficult day will help strengthen the relationship.
9. Saying the “L” word
While everybody determines when they love their partner at their own pace, you should never say, “I love you” until you have complete confidence that the feeling is mutual. Otherwise, your partner might feel guilty for not being able to respond in kind with sincerity. For some, it might take 3 months while others might wait 6 months before finally saying these words.
10. Introducing them to your entire family
There’s nothing wrong with asking your new boyfriend/girlfriend to meet up with a sibling for lunch or a cocktail, but if you’re just weeks into the relationship and you’re already inviting them to your grandma’s 80th birthday celebration, that’s a very questionable decision. You should set aside plenty of time to get to know each other before you take that leap. The last thing you want is for family members to know where the relationship is headed before you do!
11. Acting like someone that you’re not
When you’re meeting somebody who has potential as a girlfriend/boyfriend, the temptation to present yourself as being cooler than you actually are is great. However, this is an impossible act to keep up in the long run. It’s best to just be yourself, and they will either like you (and hopefully eventually love you) for who you are, or they won’t in which case you’ll just move on.