It’s not too early to make sure your needs are being met in your new relationship.
By Lindsay Tigar — Updated on Mar 27, 2023
Photo: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock
We’ve all had one of those fairy unicorn dates where everything goes so smoothly; the chemistry is so strong, the desire to see them again and make out with them (maybe even right at that barstool) is so intense, you can barely fight it.
The best part about those wonderful dates, apart from renewing your faith in love, is that they open up the possibility of a relationship longer than a few drinks or dates.
But while it can be tempting (and exhilarating, even) to throw all caution to the wind and let yourself completely escape in this new person, experts agree that if you want a long-term relationship instead of a fling, there are some things you should expect to have learned about whether or not the relationship can work out in the first five to six weeks of dating.
What to expect to have learned about each other in the first 5 or 6 weeks of dating
Consider asking yourself these questions to see what you can expect to have learned early on so you can make an informed decision before going any further in your relationship.
1. Are you sexually compatible?
Think about it: do you want to spend the rest of your life (or even another night) putting up with sex that just isn’t working?
The first time you do the deed with anyone is going to be a little awkward, and while it’s normal to take a few tries to figure out how you move together in a way that gets you both hot, there’s a difference between the sex that’s getting better and bad sex.
Relationship and sex expert Dr. Kat Van Kirk says, “Many people underestimate how important sex will be when they first get together, and many think they are doing themselves a favor by not having sex right away. You need to know how things will be for you both sexually. That means everything from arousal to what you like to do to one another to find the best times to have sex together.”
2. Can you fight healthily?
Even when you’re in the honeymoon stage during the beginning of your relationship — those blissful six weeks — you’ll have fought as a couple. Those arguments are healthy for your relationship and can often bring you closer, but only if you fight effectively.
“Most people avoid conflict for as long as possible when they first get together, but I consider it a good thing,” Dr. Van Kirk says. “Experiencing some conflict in the first six weeks will give you an opportunity to see how you negotiate disagreements.”
Are you hot-headed, and he’s mellow? Does he run away from conflict or talk it out?
3. How do you handle stress together?
The most stressful thing about your relationship right now is how often you get to see one another and where you’re going away for your first romantic getaway as a couple. Still, if you’re going to make it in the long run, you’re going to experience much more stressful situations.
From planning a wedding to having a baby and buying a house, it’s important to understand and identify how your partner handles being stressed out.
“Knowing how your partner processes stress is important to know sooner in the relationship versus later,” Van Kirk says. “Do they work out, lose themselves in TV, or self-soothe with weed? Figure out if you can put up with whatever they do and if they take it out on you.”
4. How do you communicate?
Clever conversation, flirty text messages, and proclamations of love are all fine and dandy, but how do you discuss how you feel? What do you want? What’s working? What could improve? Does he listen to you when you need to vent without berating you with advice? Do you value his opinion, and does he respect yours?
Being able to talk is at the top of the must-haves of all the things that keep a relationship healthy.
“Paying attention to how you and your new partner communicate in the first weeks is important. ” You’ll want to know if you are compatible with how you show affection, if you listen to one another versus talking over one another, and how you both understand one another’s needs,” says Van Kirk.
5. Do you want the same things?
“You may be having great sex and getting along well, but your relationship may suffer if you don’t share overall life values. This can mean that you ultimately don’t agree on religion, where to live, or having children. Many couples think those issues will sort themselves out, but sometimes they don’t, even after you are together several years,” Van Kirk says.
You might not want to bring these topics up in the first six weeks because it could seem too much but think about it casually. Comment on a cute kid, talk about how you’ve dreamed of living somewhere else, or bring up a memory from your childhood about religion.
More likely than not, he’ll chime in. Just make sure you listen.
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Lindsay Tigar is an experienced travel and lifestyle journalist, content strategist, and editor whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Vogue, USA Today, Fast Company, and many other publications.