In any new relationship, there are certain challenges that can actually help you realize that it just might work out with someone. Nobody said true love was easy. Like anything in life, if you really want something then you have to work for it – but at the right pace.

When you rush into a relationship, you’ll often find that you’re ultimately heading out the door just as fast – if not faster – than the speed you came in. To avoid this type of “revolving door relationship” the following 8 relationship milestones shouldn’t all be achieved closely together, but instead crossed off at the appropriate times. These challenges are never easy, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: if you pass all the challenges, it may be the proof you need that you’re in the loving arms of “the one”.

1. Your First Argument

There’s an old saying that the most important argument you will ever have in a relationship is the very first one. When you start dating each other, at first you only see the side your partner wants you to see – their perfect side. Eventually, the honeymoon phase wears off and you get to experience how your partner acts during an argument. You’re watching for key red flags such as a violent temper, lack of listening skills or a complete disregard for your side of the story.

Your first argument could be about anything: they’re still talking to their ex, they bailed on important plans, or they acted inappropriately around your friends. Whatever the situation, remember that holding a grudge is never healthy for a relationship – no matter what the circumstances are.

If you have survived your first argument and you’re stronger than ever – you know he is a keeper. If you’ve learned to pick your battles and let the smaller things go, he’ll be more likely to view you as a keeper as well.

2. Staying Over For Longer Than One Night

A big step in any relationship is extending your sleepovers to longer than just one night. Anything longer than one night means you’re falling for each other enough to want to “play house” with each other. In the beginning stages of your relationship, after enjoying breakfast together you might have slowly made your moves out the door. The big challenge will be when you feel confident enough to stay an extra night or two. It’s a great feeling when it’s made clear by your man that you’re not overstaying your welcome and he wants you to stay another night. You’re not the clingy type by staying an entire weekend, your company is simply wanted by him day and night.

When you can say to your friends: “I’m spending the weekend at Justin’s” then you know you’ve crossed off a significant relationship milestone. Try to contain your excitement if he also empties out a drawer for you.

3. The First Vacation Together

Shockingly, a third of couples break up after their first holiday together which makes this arguably the most important milestone you will have to overcome. The first challenge will be arranging the trip itself as getting time off work together can be complicated. Then planning which vacation will suit the both of you, discussing how to split the expense and finally entertaining each other for a week or more in hopes that you’ll arrive back home with a stronger bond than ever.

If you discover you’re traveling soul-mates and you have a blast, give yourself a huge round of applause because this is definitely a sign you may have met The One. Life is all about adventure and discovering new experiences, so who better to always enjoy these moments with then your partner for life.

4. Revealing The Drunk You

This will be the one moment that you can’t avoid. Nobody wants it to happen but unfortunately, if you’re an adult who enjoys cocktails, it may be unavoidable. When you first start dating, it’s always highly recommended that you stick to the two-drink rule so that you don’t embarrass yourself or scare him away. Eventually, though, there will be that night you meet up with him after a night with the girls and voila: the drunk version of you is revealed.

One of two things is going to happen the morning after (ignoring the obvious hangover being one) and that’s either that your man will laugh with you about your drunken behavior and assure you that you weren’t that bad, or he will be horrified about what you did or said (and you’ll have to get into damage control mode). If it’s the latter, he’s either too uptight or you’re just a terrible drunk – but there’s got to be a happy medium the two of you can find.

5. Being Financially Transparent

A trap most people find themselves falling into when they first get into a relationship is over-spending to impress them, and not knowing how to reel it back. You want to buy gifts, flowers, and nice meals for your new partner because it feels good to spoil someone.

That awkward conversation along the lines of “listen, I can’t actually afford to go to these expensive restaurants. I know we’ve been going to them, but this is what my financial situation looks like …” If you can survive awkward conversations like that, you’re half way to a real relationship because in real relationships, all the truths are laid out on the table.

Be honest about just how much disposable income you have or don’t have. There’s no need to get bank statements out in front of each other but if you are both matching each other’s spend on gifts then you will have to let your partner know what your personal limitations are. Remember honesty is always the best policy.

6. Being Sick Around Them For The First Time

You’re only human so illness is unavoidable. No matter how healthy you are, there’s going to be a time when you will not be looking or feeling your best. It’s one of those pajamas on, make-up off and feeling low moments you have to get through. There’s two routes you can take when dealing with this: you either let your partner see your real natural self and let him take care of you, or you make up excuses and refuse to let him see you until you’re better.

We don’t suggest hiding from him. If you really want a relationship that will last (hopefully) a lifetime, then you will need to let your beauty guard down and you’ll need to see how good he is at taking care of you when you’re sick. In a way, it’s a good test to see if he’s husband-material. Another benefit is that you can easily fast track your way back to health with plenty of TLC from your partner. Who doesn’t want to be attended to when they’re ill?

7. Meeting The Friends

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous when meeting your partner’s friends. You hate to admit it, but their opinion of you matters. If you get along great with their friends, it definitely helps your relationship with your partner grow.

In fact, becoming friends with the friends opens the door to a whole plethora of new opportunities for you to bond with your partner: double dates, group dinner parties, group vacations, etc.

8. Meeting The Parents

This is most likely one of the relationship milestones that every person in a relationship dreads the most – but it’s also one of the most exciting milestones, too. The pressure of impressing your partner’s parents and showcasing the best version of you is exhausting to even think about let alone execute. There’s no denying parents can sometimes be the most judgmental creatures on the planet but deep down everyone knows it’s for the greater good.

The times I’ve just been myself and not thought too much about it are the times I’ve impressed parents the most. The most important thing to remember when you’re in this situation is to just be yourself. The last thing you want is to put on an act that they see right through. Family always comes first, so this is one milestone that cannot be dodged.

Featured image via WeHeartIt

The Babe Report’s founder is also the author of Aren’t You Glad You Read This? The Complete How-To Guide for Singles with a History of Failed Relationships Who Want their Next Relationship to Succeed, available for only $4.99 on Amazon and on iBooks here.

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