In almost two years of blogging I learnt a lot about myself, dating and relationships, but the past two months with my boyfriend (yay) has been an eye-opener. I am in a bonafide, committed relationship and it is amazing. There is no ambiguity, I know where I stand, he calls me, I call him, we both make an effort, we both want it to work and there’s no BS and playing games. There’s no undercurrent of anxiety and there’s zero drama. I’ve also realised that if anyone had the power to balls things up, it was me.

We are our own biggest danger when it comes to relationships!

I don’t profess to have all of the answers based on two months with him, but between blogging, and mine and other people’s experiences, there are a number of things that you need to know so that you can keep on the straight and narrow.

Leave behind the drama from the previous relationships. Have the skill to be able to use your experience and powers of observation to gauge your relationship. Judge based on THEIR actions, not a chump ex. Don’t project your insecurity about yourself or your past experiences on him. If you fail to follow this rule, it will be you that cocks things up, NOT him!

You’re either in a relationship, or you aren’t. You can’t have one foot in with your eye on the door, no more than you can be in the relationship, but he’s absent without leave. Relationships are a two way street and once you both decide you like each other from the dates, you need to communicate that to each other.

Guys that like you SAY they like you and ACT like they like you. You don’t need to guess because they’re damn well telling you so that they don’t lose you. As women, we have a habit of looking for the sun in the storm and finding minuscule things to justify our energy that we have expended with him.

Don’t sleep with a guy too quickly no matter how much of a connection you think you have. If it’s that great, it’ll be there in a few dates, weeks or whatever timescale.

If a guy is putting the focus on trying to get in your knickers, he’s got his priorities off and this may be an indicator of the temperature of your future relationship. Getting to know YOU doesn’t involve him looking at your vagina! A guy that genuinely likes you will be secure enough in himself and what he thinks may be the potential of you both, to keep his zip up and his todger in his pants so that you can get to know each other better. Sex is better anyway when there is a stronger emotional connection, which can only occur if you put the sex aside.

If you have sex too early, women have a habit of taking up residence in the justifying zone, that dubious place we go to, to make ourselves feel better and create multiple reasons to justify sleeping with him.

A Quick Guide to the First 3 Months

  • You should be speaking every day or most days.
  • The bulk of the communication should be face to face or on the phone. Text messages, email, Post-It’s, Messenger are gap fillers not staples.
  • You should be able to see each other more than once a week.
  • You’ve seen his place and he’s seen yours.
  • You’re exclusive and it’s not because you’ve decided it on your own, but because you have both said so.
  • No girlfriends, very visible exes, wives, booty call girls allowed. If he still has any of these, tell him to bog off.
  • You talk about the future whether it’s one week, one month or even one year away. If he’s too afraid to say something about the following week, it’s not good.
  • You don’t just see each other for a shag.
  • You should have met at least one his friends.
  • He’s not afraid to invite you anywhere.
  • You should have seen him during the day.

Your brain should be screaming red flag and potentially ‘Run like a mofo!’ if he displays anger and aggression, he’s emotionally unavailable, got a dodgy attitude towards sex, he’s irresponsible, addicted to something, he’s controlling, plays the victim, he’s not over an ex, he has problems with his past or his childhood that he refuses to acknowledge or attempt to resolve, or he’s just plain nasty and spiteful. Acknowledge red flags and don’t bury your head in the sand. It’s when you don’t acknowledge them when they’re at their most dangerous.

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14 Responses to NML’s Roughguide to a New Relationship

  1. michelle says:

    Great article!

    Funny how these things must be obvious yet are not. Not funny how emotionally unavailable guys will make even the most confident of the girls feel insecure and clingy.

    Agree with NML: if a guy likes you, you know it! Spent 6 months with a guy and still had to ask him if he liked me!!! Reaction: he got angry and said I blew it! I thought that was a bit too rich, so dumped him. Oh well, you live you learn.

    Loved a quick guide for the first three months. One should not spend six months figuring out whether the guy likes you!

  2. This is fab, NML! So true! Every woman needs to commit this to memory.

  3. NML says:

    Michelle – That guy sounds like a complete clown. Only an assclown could come up with that crap when you ask a simple and reasonable question. Glad you moved on :-)
    NYM – Thanks darling! I learnt this all through trial and error 😉

  4. Baggage Reclaim - The guide to single living, dating, relationships and of course man taming » Archives » What’s Happening on Baggage Reclaim says:

    […] NML’s Roughguide to a New Relationship […]

  5. Nina says:

    I love it, and it’s a great guide!!!

  6. imogen says:

    I agree with all that you’ve said but what about when the guy wants to take things slowly with regards to sex. I know when a girl says she wants to take things slowly its usually perfectly acceptable but i’ve been with a guy for a few months now and hes the one saying he doesn’t want to have sex because he wants to get to know me properly first and i can’t help thinking that maybe its because hes not quite sure whether he really likes me or not. Maybe its cause i’m 26 (hes 30) and ive never come accross a guy whose wanted to wait before.

  7. NML says:

    Nina – Thank you!
    Imogen – I have come across a few in my time and they have more often than not turned out to be great guys. It’s not a bad thing that sex is not a priority and if anything, gently ask why he has made the decision if you feel the need to get extra reassurance. My boyfriend wanted to take things slowly and I loved it. Sex and whether he has it with you now has got nothing to do with whether he likes you a lot – a guy could have sex with you today and never see you again. It makes for greater sex when you’ve gotten to know each other a bit first anyway :-)

  8. Ananda says:

    wonderful. i wished i had read this article in 2003. could have saved me some time. anyway all good now. thanks for sharing. peace, ananda

  9. Robyn says:

    The advice on this website: priceless. This article, in particular, is a good one. My question: how does one apply these nuggets of wisdom to a long distance relationship?

    My sweetie and I am in one due to circumstances beyond our control, and thus, some of the tips in the “First Three Months” section (i.e. “The bulk of the communication should be face to face or on the phone. Text messages, email, Post-It’s, Messenger are gap fillers not staples;” and “You should be able to see each other more than once a week”) .cannot be realized due to the distance. However, we are officially exclusive (by his initiative), we talk about any and everything, and we have not slept together.

    Any thoughts?

  10. NML says:

    Long distance relationships are different. The modes of communication that I recommend people minimise or avoid above don’t really apply under this circumstance. I am going to write a new article which will appear on Monday NML’s Roughguide to the New Long distance Relationship.

  11. […] In my post where NML’s Roughguide to a New Relationship, I layed out some guidelines for being able to access where you were in your relationship and certain behaviours that will ensure that your relationship stays on the straight and narrow. However, particularly with the rules of communication, these are not so easy to apply when you’re doing it all long distance. […]

  12. Thankful says:

    This is a great guide, I will print it and tape it to my refrigerator and bathroom mirror immediately. I’ve been dating a guy for two months and I am a mess when it comes to where we’re going next. He recently took me to his hometown to meet his family and while he and his relatives referred to me as his girlfriend, I’m not sure if we’re at that girlfriend/boyfriend stage (I know it sounds childish). He says that we’re “building a relationship” a phrase which I have yet to decode. It’s comforting to know that 10 of the 11 tips in the Quick Guide apply to us. There’s an (in)visible ex on the horizon who has been calling him once or twice a week. I’ve been silently observing his conversations with her and have not yet figured out how to approach the subject of the phone calls. I’m usually fiercely confident, but this relationship has caused me to do a complete 180°. Sorry this is so long, but I needed to vent.

  13. […] Always know your red flags Know how to spot emotionally unavailable men Understand the hallmarks of how a relationship should be in the first three months […]

  14. Bev says:

    Very good information. I was with an emotional (clever) abuser and I wish I had had more sense of some boundaries. He conducted the relationship by text message as he worked nights, he flooded me with 48 texts the first night, then in the end of the relationship he turned his phone off (one of his 12 phones!!).

    Then he pressured me into giving him a reference to a day job in a building which I later found out was occupied by 95% women! He never invited me to his job. I wish I had this information as it would have saved me so much emotional battering. There were so many red flags, but i just gave him the benefit of the doubt and after all the kindness I did for him,YUKKK

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Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.