Relationships can be, well… exhausting. Of course, they can be wonderful and completely fulfilling, too, but realistically, they take a lot of work. More often than not, relationships fail for one reason or another. After a few not so happy endings, I decided to take a good long break from dating, and in that time, I’ve realized a few things each failed relationship had in common. So without further ado, I give you ten things to be wary of when you’re starting to date someone.
1. A ton of drama at the beginning of a relationship is a pretty good indicator that the entire relationship will be one huge rollercoaster. Dating is tricky – trying to figure out what works for the two of you together takes time – and it’s harder with external factors constantly bombarding the relationship. Be careful – this guy could attract drama, and if there are two things that don’t belong together, it’s relationships and drama.
2. If there is any question about exes still being in the picture, proceed with caution…
…if you choose to proceed at all. There’s a lot of gray area and things can get complicated quickly. Exes that refuse to go away will can interrupt your relationship at any time, usually because your new man hasn’t put his foot down and drawn clear, appropriate boundaries. However, exes can be platonic friends, so scout it out before you make any quick judgments.
3. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s isn’t.
Figure out what that is, and either fix it, or get out.
4. Passion. Passion is key.
Passion is so important to a relationship – it’s what keeps the good vibes alive and what will help you get through the tough stuff. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. And if it flickers out, it’s usually not going to come back.
5. Patience is a virtue. So is being able to go with the flow.
If he’s uptight and controlling, odds are, your whole relationship will have to be on his terms, and spontaneity is probably a word his vocabulary can’t handle. If you like predictable and boring, go for it. Otherwise, choose someone who never does what you expect. There will never be a dull moment.
6. Be with a fighter.
I’m not talking MMA, I’m talking about someone who fights for something, without needing to be physical about it. Be with someone who will fight for your relationship, who, when the going gets tough, sticks it out and pushes through because he wants it to work out. That’s the kind of guy worth wasting your time on.
7. Someone that really loves you won’t sleep with your best friend four days after you break up.
8. Avoid the Stage 5 Clingers.
This seems obvious, but sometimes it’s subtler than Gloria Cleary in Wedding Crashers. Be cautious around people with dependent personalities. If you’re independent, they will latch onto that and drain the life out of you. Not fun.
9. Happiness should just happen.
Another obvious one, but sometimes we try to be happy with someone or with a relationship that just isn’t working without really realizing we’re doing it. That doesn’t mean throw in the towel the second things get hard, but you should never have to put effort into being happy with someone. This is a sign that something isn’t working.
10. Be with someone who wants you, not someone who needs you.
This is the most important thing I’ve learned. There is a HUGE difference between someone who wants you (good) and someone that needs you (bad). Someone that thinks they need you will be clingy, insecure, and – of course– needy. Be with someone who wants to be with you, but knows how to be their own person without you. This person will encourage you to have your own life outside of the relationship, too. You get to keep your life, he doesn’t have to give up time with the dudes, and you maintain a healthy, balanced relationship. Best of everything.