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Early Stages of a Relationship

In the fashion world, the occasional faux-pas can be a good thing. It brings you media attention and possibly even short-lived fame.

In the world of romance, errors of judgment and mistakes are not so easily forgotten or even forgiven.

One bad date or relationship can leave behind a label that sticks. So if you don’t want to be forever known as "the girl who can’t let go" or "bunny boiler", our guide to things NOT to do when in the early stages of a relationship can be a lifesaver…

1 to 3 Months
Common courtesies such as closing the bathroom door when you’re doing your business, calling if you’re going to be late and cancelling dates at least 24 hours in advance should be applied. The tricky grey area around this time is usually the big question of when or if to say "I love you". Use your discretion, but generally, you’ll have a good feel of if someone is going to respond in kind or hightail it for the seas. If this is a new relationship (i.e. you’re not dating someone you previously knew), then it might be a bit soon to talk
long-term. You can always wait for the other person to
say how they feel first.

Meeting the parents usually comes in at around the 3-month mark. This can sometimes be a bit earlier but is usually a sign that the guy is at least thinking about long-term. Trust me, he wouldn’t subject you to his family otherwise. Some pieces of advice – don’t overdress, be yourself and ALWAYS rave about the food, even if you’re vegetarian and they serve you meat chops. Hide it under your lettuce if you have too, this is not the time to "assert" yourself.

Gifts can also be tricky at this juncture. The rule of thumb is not to go beyond what your budget would be for a good friend. It should be something personal, otherwise you can always go with the tried-and-true whisking them away for a romantic weekend. Although don’t go overboard with that either. A trip to Queenstown may be fine for their birthday, Paris would probably be too much (for both your purse and budding relationship).

3 to 6 months
If the love word hasn’t cropped up around the 6-month mark and you’re under the understanding that this is more than casual, then now is the time to ask yourself
some questions. For example, is this what you want, and how do you really feel about him anyway? The presents also get bigger and better around this stage (and it goes both ways!), so you can upgrade him to very good friend status.

One of the things you should’ve done by now is meet his friends, or at least his innermost circle of close mates. He has to have at least one or two, and sometimes meeting them can be even more important than the ‘rents.

Friends can sniff out a rat better than anyone else. If your friends haven’t started extending invites to him to come along to group events, it may be time to just start bringing him along anyway. That is, if you see any future in it.

6 months to 1 year
Well, we can really only take you so far – what you do after the 6 month mark is up to you. Try not to hurry things along, don’t jump the gun when it comes to big issues such as marriage and children (it’s not cool to pressure him), but otherwise go with your gut and enjoy the ride!

Karen

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