We’ve all been in a new relationship. Magically everything is working. You two are getting along wonderfully. You can’t believe things are going so well. You are so happy and can’t stop smiling. You finally agree to be in a committed relationship and put a label of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ on it. You have gone on trips together, and maybe met each other’s friends and/or family. But then after three months into this relationship, certain things start to ‘change’. You have your first ‘fight’. Somehow even a little detail ‘surprises’ you and stirs up something in you that you didn’t notice before. Now what? Well, that is when we call the honeymoon period is over. To survive challenges in a relationship after the honeymoon period, you might want to make sure you check all these questions during your first three months together.
1. Have you been yourself since the beginning?
Have you been truly yourself in a relationship? Or you have been jumping through hoops to prove to the other person how great and how different you are from their prior partners. It’s normal when you’re in a new relationship that you want to impress the other person. But you have to be yourself most of the time because nothing lasts forever. You can’t NOT be yourself until death do us part. When your true self eventually comes out, do you think your partner will still like you? Will they be ‘shocked’ to find your true nature? It’s better to be yourself since the beginning. It will save you both a lot of tears and disappointments later.
2. Have you been up front about your life?
Is there any ‘deal breaker’ that your partner should know but you haven’t told them? Certain things might not be a big deal to you, but it might be to them. Three months are long enough that you start to sense what the other person likes or doesn’t like. For example, if you need to get together with your family members every so often, that’s a good heads-up you should be sharing.
3. Are you on the same page about the future?
I understand three months are still too early to talk about starting a family, how many kids to have, or you want to move to NYC or even abroad in a few years. But in order to move the relationship forward (hopefully that’s what you want to do), you two need to be on the same page. It’s something you can’t just push it aside to figure out later. Most people can’t just drop everything and move along with your plans. It’s best if you at least casually mention about what you want for your future.
4. Can both of you satisfy each other’s wants and needs in the long run?
Are you compatible in most areas (because 100% compatibility doesn’t exist)? The passion and intensity of being in a blooming relationship is just about to reach its peak for most people at the three-month mark. The next phase is to make sure you two are moving forward ‘together’. What are your love languages? Are they complementary of each other? What are your needs and wants? For example, people meet at a random time of the year and usually when their schedules ‘work’ in sync at that time. However, if your schedule tends to change according to seasons, you might want to let your partner know that information early on, especially if their love language is quality time. You can’t assume the other person would just ‘understand’ that you’re available to spend time together now but you’ll be very busy and have no time during summer, fall, and late spring seasons. That leaves only winter to get together? So, then what? What do you do after winter? Can/should your relationship be put on hold and you see each other again next winter?
5. Have you been open and transparent about your finances?
It’s understandable that this is a very private subject. It’s always awkward to talk about finances. But it’s extremely important in a committed relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to make the same amount of money or disclose all your financial statements. But it means you two should understand each other’s financial situation. You both need a conversation to make it less awkward. Everything costs money. Going to dinner, movie, or on vacation costs money. Who will pay for it? 50:50? Can you afford all those, even only for your share, if your partner wants to enjoy them? It sounds like finances take the romance out of the relationship, but you need to understand each other’s limits and be on the same page.
6. Have you met your partner’s friends and family?
It’s totally different from ‘hearing’ about friends and family. Have you met them? It shows what kind of relationship your partner has with their family and friends. It also shows their characters and how they treat those people in their lives. If you have met only friends and no family, or vice versa, why not? This is especially important if you have introduced both family and friends to them. There should be a good explanation. It does not have to be ‘equal’ in the frequency of meetings, but in a way, a gesture should be reciprocated.
7. Have you agreed on how you guys ‘fight’ and what to do?
Because every relationship has challenges. It’s important you two are clear on how you ‘fight.’ Can either of you take a ‘break’ when things get too much? Or will that break offend the other person? And can you two agree to disagree and/or pick a battle? Do you really have to prove your point to ‘win’? When you decide to be in a committed relationship, it should mean that the relationship means more to you than who is right or wrong. Does it matter who says ‘I’m sorry’ first? You should know the other person by three months how they handle conflict and disagreement. If you care enough about them, you should let go of your ego and say ‘I’m sorry’ even when you don’t think you’re wrong. It has proven to save a lot of relationships.
Being in a relationship is not easy, but it shouldn’t be that difficult either. Having found someone whom you want to spend most of your time with is definitely magical. But to survive the honeymoon period (when nobody seems to make any mistakes), you have to be realistic too. These are tough questions to ask yourself and your partner if you want your relationship to last.