1. Take your time; take months, not days or a few weeks to fall in love. I can think of nothing that is worth having, or which is of great value, that occurs too quickly, that happens overnight, or is rushed. Too much too soon, when it comes to being in love, is a large and a bright red flag. Trouble is brewing when a relationship develops too quickly and when new relationships demand that you “give your all” at the expense of other established friendships.
2. If you are entering a second marriage (or third) and are creating a blended family, spend lot of time – months and months – talking and listening to all the adults who love the children – yes, “exes” included – about what the children might need as the families involved enter times of change and reorganization. If you cannot do this, it is unlikely the relationship will withstand the challenges that accompany the blending of families and the co-parenting of children. Planning ahead will not solve all the problems, but it will certainly offer you options and strategies that will be unavailable if you avoid talking about difficult subjects.
3. Discuss finances, careers, and the importance of hard work while you are also falling in love. While these topics may not constitute romantic talk, they ought not be avoided. It is these very issues that often derail couples from finding the very fulfillment they are seeking. If you detect laziness and a desire to live off the efforts of others in your would-be partner, move on. Real love is industrious, is creative. “Mooching” (a colloquialism of my youth that means willingly living off the efforts of others without personal contribution) is never an expression of love.
4.Keep in regular, healthy contact with your “old” circle of friends and family, even if your “new” person doesn’t know them or want to be with them. Maintain a life of your own even while you are falling in love. Something is amiss if would-be partner suggests you give up your family or friends, and, since no one relationship can be all-fulfilling, no single relationship ought to be all consuming.
5. If the relationship doesn’t bring out the best in each of you, give you feelings of being splendidly free and unconditionally loved, cut it off and run a mile!
6. It appears to seldom cross some people’s minds how frequently, and paradoxically, sexual involvement prevents the development of authentic love. Like it or not, when sex enters the picture, relationships change, and the change, although people seldom see it right off the bat, are often not for the good. Potential partners who use the old line, “we better see if we are sexually compatible” are not ready for the responsibilities of marriage. Few couples are immediately “sexually compatible” for sexual compatibility can take years to hone.
The next time you fall in love don’t link love and sex as if they are the same thing. Surprising for so many people, is the discovery that it is possible to love someone, and not engage in sex or sexual activity before there is a legal commitment (marriage).
While I am fully aware this is an “old fashioned” and unpopular idea, the process of building a relationship that is ready for sex is a helpful and mature process. It builds into the relationship the kind of integrity all relationships need for survival. Such waiting will certainly bypass much heartbreak, separating men and women who regard commitment with respect from those who do not.