Have you wondered the secrets of those couples who stay in long-term relationships that last not years–but decades? You’re not alone in that curiosity.

I don’t know the first real thing about the dating game. I don’t know how to talk to a specific person and connect. I just think you have to go to person by person and do the best you can with people in general. Jason Schwartzman

The funny Jason Schwartzman is not the only man or woman confused about the “rules of relationships.” Relationships bring many different emotions to the surface: attraction, joy, novelty, fun…repellence, frustration, boredom, and anxiety.

One underlying factor that contributes to the wide spectrum of emotions in a relationship is uncertainty. From the very first date, it is almost assured that one or both people will experience perplexing thoughts and emotions at some point.

There do exist certain “rules” that may help lessen the emotional turbulence experienced in a relationship. In addition to that, being knowledgeable about these “rules” will positively impact the dating experience.

Here are five rules every couple should live by:


1. Do not force intimacy in your relationships

Us humans are intimate creatures; it is a necessary trait for procreation brought about by evolution. As such, it can be very tempting to transition into a physical relationship quicker than what is healthy. Intimacy can mean holding hands, caressing, kissing, and sex.

Both men and women are guilty of breaking this important rule, which can be a deal-breaker. The first couple of months are where both people need to tread carefully. The reason is simple: making a move too quickly can potentially undo any previous chemistry.

The act of intimacy should be the pinnacle of two people’s feelings for each other. While we cannot – and should not – advise about knowing the “right time,” it is a good idea to think of the stages of intimacy as chronological, from holding hands to intercourse, based solely off the level of mutual chemistry.

2. Trust your instincts

The second “rule” on this list appropriately follows the first. Often, only one’s instincts can guide what to do next in your process as a couple. Furthermore, keen instincts can protect the emotions of each person involved.

If something appears to be “off” about the other person, it at least warrants further investigation. If this feeling should persist after a couple of months (maximum) it is best to cut ties and move on simply.

Do not fall into the trap of making excuses for someone you’ve just met. Look at it this way, if your instincts are right, then you save time while limiting the potential damage done to the other person. If you’re wrong, plenty of people out there won’t raise a red flag.

3. Do not settle

The unofficial credo of early stages of a relationship: “Of a couple, to be in the early stages of a relationship where they go out on dates to find out what each other is like, as a prelude to actually being a fully-fledged couple.” We can thank “Saucy” over at Urban Dictionary for that.

“Saucy” is right on. Especially with the phrase “to find out what each other is like,” and “as a prelude to being a (couple).” Really, dating is supposed to be fun. Getting to know another person is (usually!) an entertaining experience.

But some people jump the gun way to early and settle down with the first person whom they have any meaningful chemistry. Needless to say, this is often a poor decision that will probably end up hurting both people in the end.

Choose the right person for you.


4. Do not be “overly available” in your relationships

Not being “overly available” isn’t some sophomoric mind game that one plays with another – at least, it shouldn’t be. Do some men and women manipulate their “availability” in some calculated attempt to attract the other person? Yes, but the true rationale for not being overly available is far more benevolent and deliberate.

Simply put, managing your availability is about setting boundaries and safeguarding emotions.

During the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship, the thought of abdicating what you’re doing to meet up with the other person can be enticing. But it’s a certain mistake, and one that may inflict a heavy emotional toll should the relationship go south.

Instead, carry out your day as usual. Hopefully, you or the other person will know when to reach out.

5. Do not reveal too much, too quickly

As mentioned, a relationship’s fundamental purpose is getting to know someone and gauging chemistry. This is a process that requires time and communication.

In the early stages of being a couple, two people know very little about one another. As time elapses, the mutual conversation will naturally reveal additional information about each person at the right time. As such, going on a diatribe about personal details early in being a couple is a poor use of judgment.

Immaturely revealing personal information is not only poor judgment but also incredibly unattractive. No one should possess the amount of personal information by the end of the first few days or weeks together that one would have by their first-year anniversary. Where is the mystique in that?

Allowing time to take its course also includes courting each other. Engaging naturally in conversation, allowing time to pass, and the remaining patient will always reap more dating fruit.

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