By Frank Hadley
Common sense? Yes. Commonly practiced? No.
The beginning of a new relationship can be a tricky course to navigate. Guys (like me) aren’t that great at guessing what women think or want, and our stupidity often leads to otherwise easily avoidable arguments. Setting ground rules for a new relationship may help you get past the small stuff and start enjoying your lives together.
Here are 10 ground rules for a new relationship that everyone should be following:
1. P.D.A. regulation
People have different comfort levels when it comes to couples behavior in public. Find the line (holding hands, smooching, heated necking on the subway platform) and don’t cross it.
2. One day a week.
Decide on one day every week you can spend together, no one else invited. Everyone’s busy; designating together-time is healthy for any relationship.
3. No suffocation.
Being together is great; acting like conjoined twins is not. Respect each other’s space and don’t take it so seriously if he asks for some time to himself.
4. Don’t talk about the future until it’s time to talk about the future.
Nothing freaks a guy out like the prospect of kids before he’s actually ready to have them. Don’t think he doesn’t want to be with you if he shies away from the topic. He just enjoys the way things are and isn’t quite ready to add a mini-me to the mix.
5. Forge friendships with your partner’s pals.
Not that you have to be one of the bros, but it’s nice for him (and you) if you feel comfortable around his buddies.
6. But don’t forget your own.
Don’t drop the friends who were with you before he showed up. Ditching the gals will lead to feelings of resentment and neglect and if your relationship comes to an end, you’ll want that circle of support.
7. Don’t hide things.
You don’t need to tell him about the time you hooked up with your father’s golf buddy, but it’s probably a good idea to tell him you’re still friends with your ex before he runs into the two of you on the street.
8. Loosen up.
Don’t start a fight because he glanced at the attractive girl that just walked by. Likewise, he shouldn’t get worked up just because you said Jake Gyllenhaal is hot. It’s not like either of you is trying to sleep with them (unless you are, in which case you should re-evaluate your role in this twosome).
9. Don’t kiss and tell.
This is a relationship, not an elongated one-night stand. There’s no need to talk about what goes on in the bedroom at the water cooler.
10. No assumptions or guessing games.
Don’t force him to guess what you really mean by, “It’s OK if we don’t go out on my birthday.” Being upfront with your feelings will prevent many conflicts.