Finding common ground in your relationship
SO you have found a 'friend' in someone of the opposite sex, and find yourself spending countless hours each night talking, Skyping, sending voice notes via Whatsapp or even grabbing lunch or dinner together.
In your mind it's nothing more than a great friendship, but then bam! You have lunch with someone else and your 'boyfriend', who you had no idea was your boyfriend, sends you a cease and desist order.
Indeed, he has, like many others, made the assumption that because of the kind gestures he extended, and because you were encouraging of his gestures, there was automatic confirmation that what you had was an intimate relationship.
It's these kinds of situations experts warn about, and the importance of establishing common ground early in every relationship with dateable members of the opposite sex.
Relationship counsellor Wayne Powell said intentions and expectations will be made known by establishing this common ground.
So if one is interested in only a platonic relationship, this should be articulated from the outset.
"And if one is only interested in a casual relationship and the other is looking for a committed relationship, then obviously someone is going to be disappointed and frustrated," Powell said.
"It is important that before the dating relationship progresses to the next level, the couple should sit, discuss and establish the tenets of the committed relationship."
He said the rules of engagement must be clearly articulated and both partners must agree to obey these rules.
"It is equally important that both persons possess shared interests and values. If the interests and values are far apart and one partner is not prepared to compromise and meet the other halfway, there can be conflicts down the road," he warned.
If a decision is made by both parties that they are a couple, then Powell warns that this must not be left to drag on for ever and ever.
"Some couples believe playing by air is the way to go and so they allow the relationship to run its course with no established rules of engagement. The challenge with that approach is similar to taking a road journey with no destination in mind, so anywhere the vehicle runs out of gas, that is where you stop," he said.
He said there will come a point in the relationship where the level of dedication will need to be proclaimed.
"So as much as you don't want to rush the relationship and you'd rather take it slow, there comes a time when the critical, 'What's going on?' needs to be asked. And the status of the partners in the relationship must be established privately before it is declared publicly on Facebook," Powell said.