The first year of a romantic relationship carries a lot of power. By the end of that year, the tenor of your relationship is established, as is your quality as a partner. She'll pretty much know if you're lazy, a pushover or uncaring in the long run. That's why in the first year, it's important to watch your behavior around her. Don't set her expectations too high, and don't try to fit her mold of the perfect boyfriend. This applies to the entire year, be it in the first, third or 10th month. Here are the 10 biggest mistakes men make in that most critical year.
10. You shower her with gifts
Many men equate spending money on a woman with making her like him more. Buying her many, often expensive, presents or getting her something for every occasion, no matter how trivial, is a deadly mistake. It suggests a man has little to offer other than what's in his checking account. Worse still, the woman may begin to expect gifts from him all the time. Close your wallet and give her something priceless: yourself. Furthermore, you shouldn't always pay on dates. It's the age of equality. If women expect to be paid the same as men, they should expect to pull their own weight as well. Being a gentleman is fine, but don't spoil her by footing every bill.
9. You spend all your free time with her
There are two major dangers with this one. First, you forgo your social life, which you need to maintain for your own well-being. If you don't see your buddies anymore, you should be worried. Remember, they may not stick around forever. Second, you smother her own personal time, which she also values. This formula will easily make you sick of each other.
8. You let her make all the plans
Not only do women dislike men who can't take initiative, they actually hate taking it themselves. Shirking all the decisions on to her does not emit respect or an easy-going attitude. It shows lack of backbone. Go ahead and choose what to eat, where you'll go and what you'll wear. There's a fine line between compromise and indecisiveness.
Learn to say "no" sometimes. Maybe you want to spare her feelings; maybe you want to avoid her wrath; but both are poor excuses to become a pushover. If you disagree with something, you have to tell her. If you don't like something, it's not right for you to "take it." Before you know it, you'll be her lapdog and her personal chauffeur. And all you'll earn is derision, not respect.
7. You meet friends and family early on
It's unavoidable: whenever you meet her friends or family, your every breath, move and word will be under close scrutiny. It's a mistake to get to know those close to her before you know her well enough. Establish a comfortable rapport with her first, and you'll be more at ease when you meet them. Just as important, don't let the friends and family influence your relationship. Let them learn to like you in time.
6. You don't come clean about your past
Whatever skeletons you're hiding, they'll come out sooner or later. You should tell her of any addictions you have had or still have, if you've been married, if you have an STD and so forth. Granted, this doesn't all need to be revealed at once.
5. You avoid confrontation
Communication is often the solution to solving problems, so if you avoid talking about them, they'll only get bigger. A small argument now is much better than a painful fight later. Avoiding confrontation also means agreeing with her dismissively but not sticking to your word. For instance, if she says, "Don't fart around me," and you say, "Okay," mean it.
4. You take her for granted
In order to keep the glow of a relationship alive, seduction needs to be a lifelong effort. One of the biggest traps men fall into is getting too comfortable with a woman. You stop taking her out on dates. You no longer care about your appearance. You stop being attentive, ignoring details about her and missing important things she may say in passing. If your woman is special to you, show it. Always treat her like it's your first month together.
3. You always initiate sex
A man should show initiative chiefly outside the bedroom. When it comes to sex, it should be an equal game. Don't let the burden of starting sex fall entirely on you. Coax her into bringing out her inner beast once in a while. She may even discover a roaring sensuality she never knew she had, and enrich your sex lives that much more.
2. You forgive all her mistakes too easily
She should be on her best behavior during your first year together, so you shouldn't let her annoying habits slide. She will get used to them, or worse yet, make them even more grating. If not shaving her legs irks you, let her know. You should never tolerate annoying behavior, such as screaming at you or making fun of you in public. If you sweep it all under the rug, it will blow up eventually.
1. You tell her you love her too soon and too often
These three little words demand a prodigious amount of frugality, lest they become meaningless. Yes, women long to hear it all the time, but its overuse will jade even the most demanding of romantics. Save it for very rare occasions; make her beg for them. And only say them when you really, really mean it.
A yearlong effort
Maintaining a good relationship demands work and attention, and that means attending to yourself as well. Making the mistakes outlined here can set a precedent in your relationship and potentially jeopardize its success in the future. So be alert and start off on the right foot.
More from AskMen.com: