How You Handle These Early Relationship Challenges Will Determine Whether It Lasts

New relationships go through all sorts of trials and tribulations in their early stages. From getting comfortable with each other to learning your quirks and most intimate needs, how you maneuver those first few months can speak volumes about whether or not your relationship has staying power. Here are a few telling experiences you’ll have.

  1. Learning what the other needs in terms of space It doesn’t matter if you’re both totally independent or love spending every second together—what matters is whether or not you’re on the same page. If one of you wants to be around the other 24/7 and the other prefers to do their own thing, you’re going to run into problems early on. How it feels the first time you spend a couple days in a row together can say a lot about what’ll happen moving forward.
  2. Discovering strong, totally differing opinions on an important topic Shared values and interests are part of what draws two people together, but no matter how aligned you seem, eventually there will be something that doesn’t exactly line up. Differences in opinion are what make relationships interesting, and it’s a good thing to be individuals in addition to a couple. If you don’t know how to handle not being in agreement all the time, you’re in for trouble in the long run.
  3. When one of you has a day from hell Sometimes bad days can turn even the most agreeable person into a nightmare. You want someone who won’t judge you for unraveling and will instead be supportive, whatever that means for you. Talk about what you need to de-stress and then actually follow through. There will be plenty of bad days, so make sure you can get through them without turning on each other.
  4. The first conversation about splitting the check It’s nice in the early stages of a relationship when the guy treats you to everything, but there will come a time when you decide you want to start pitching in. If he’s totally opposed to the idea for ego reasons, your values about equality in a relationship might not line up like you thought they did. If he’s all too quick to say yes and makes it clear he’s never taking out his wallet again, that’s also not a great sign. Relationships are about balance.
  5. Meeting each other’s friends Usually the precursor to meeting family, what your friends think about your new guy (and what you think of his friends) is a pretty good indicator of your compatibility. If your friends know you as well as they should, they’ll be thrilled and excited to welcome him into your life. If they express real concerns, or you just don’t mesh with his crowd, it might be a sign that something isn’t right.
  6. Things not going as planned Maybe your outdoor date day got ruined by downpour or tickets to the concert you wanted to attend were sold out. Seeing what happens when you have to go with the flow speaks volumes about how you would navigate any sort of future together. Life can be messy and usually unpredictable, so make sure you can roll with the punches as a team.
  7. How you handle arguments, even on a small scale Everyone snaps when they’re frustrated, but if you’re having full-scale blowouts only a few months in, you’re in for a relationship full of conflict. You want to be able to talk things out, without pulling passive-aggressive tactics or guilt-tripping your partner into submission.
  8. The first time he sees you cry Being able to show raw emotion to a guy you’re dating and not have him freak out is a very real worry for most women. There’s nothing wrong with expressing yourself, and if he panics or writes off your tears, he isn’t going to give you the kind of support you’re bound to need. You need someone who will be there and comfort you, not roll his eyes and call you dramatic.
  9. Getting REALLY sick with a flu or stomach virus It can be pretty awful to be dripping snot or puking your guts out when you’re still in the “trying to impress” him phase. But it’s the guys who will hold your hair back and cuddle you even when you’re sick who are in it for the long run. If he won’t come near you with a ten-foot pole for fear of germs, is he really going to be the man you need?
  10. Communicating about the direction of the relationship Relationships aren’t perfect, but good ones have open lines of communication. There are plenty of things you need to check in about to make sure you’re on the same page, especially at the beginning. If you’re with someone who can’t articulate how he’s feeling in the relationship, chances are you’re not going to get an accurate idea of where he’s at. You want to feel comfortable going to him, and know he’ll come to you.
  11. Discussing the near or distant future Whether it’s making plans a few weeks out or deciding to spend the next holiday with his folks, talking (or not talking) about the future shows if you’re both committed and excited about what’s to come. If you’re both happy and looking ahead to the milestones you’ll face together hold on tight and enjoy the ride. If he’s avoiding the topic like the plague, move on—your perfect guy is still out there.
We only have one chance to live this life and I'm making the most of it. I'll make plenty of mistakes along the way but each one will send me further down the right path.