This is an article I originally wrote for Singles Warehouse….
If you are just getting back into the dating scene, you may find the process to be both exhilarating and frightening at the same. Exploring the possibilities of love with new people can be very exciting, but can also be frustrating and disappointing when things don’t work out. What most people don’t realize though, is that the dating process is the MOST important part of any relationship. Of course, once you are settled in a relationship, you have to know how to keep it going strong, but if you don’t set the tone the right way at the very beginning, your relationship may unfortunately just be doomed.
Planting the Seeds
As an example, have you ever gone through a long-term relationship that eventually ended and just as it started going downhill, things that were said or done from the very start of the relationship, maybe that happened even years ago, were drudged up and used as ammunition during the breakup process?
If so, if you ever look back at that failed relationship, chances are you’ll be able to see that the seeds of the downfall were planted at the very beginning of the relationship. Girlfriend was overly insecure? Perhaps something you did at the beginning of the relationship exacerbated and stirred up the insecurity. Boyfriend feels unappreciated? Maybe you stoked those fires in the first month.
The First Few Months
The first few months of the relationship are absolutely crucial in determining the eventual direction that the relationship goes. Just as the first few minutes of meeting someone new are crucial in determining attraction, and the next few hours and days are essential in establishing rapport, so are the first weeks and months absolutely integral to the relationship.
Once a relationship has been established, but is still new and in the honeymoon phase, both partners are starry-eyed and filled with emotions. They are much more likely to ignore and rationalize away the actions of the other partner. That does not mean though that they are not observed or remembered. Often, annoying traits or behaviors that caused no arguments, and maybe were even encouraged in the early stages of the relationship are now suddenly held in the highest contempt once the relationship is on the rocks.
Setting the Tone
The key thing to take away from this is to be very vigilant and mindful of how you set the tone in the very early stages of the relationship. Remember, the frame you set in the beginning will dictate the rest of the relationship. All of the first impressions that were not vocalized or analyzed before will still be there in the background, pulling at the relationship like strings on puppets. Convey yourself as a player and she may use it against you down the line, even if she seems to be digging it now. Portray yourself as a high-maintenance queen and he will never get that image out of his head.
The beginning dictates the end. What is experienced as casual dating in the beginning is often remembered less casually once the relationship is in full swing. So, from the very start, visualize what kind of relationship you would want down the line and make sure you enter the dating process with each potential partner on the right foot.