Working Through Differences Early On

In the beginning of a relationship, you focus on all the great things about your girl. How she dresses, the great way she smells, her ability to make your friends feel comfortable around her. But after the newness wears off, you start noticing some things that slightly annoy you.

Does she ask you constant questions while you're watching a football game? Does she assume you're spending all weekend together and leave her clothes all over your house? Is she rearranging your kitchen while she cooks? Prepare yourself with some strategies for getting past your divergent approaches to spending time together.

Explain Your Concerns
When her nonstop chatter while you're watching TV begins to drive you crazy, find a gentle way to let her know that you'd prefer a quieter experience. Maybe you can say something like, "I'd really like to hear what you have to say, but I'm having trouble focusing on the show and the conversation at the same time. Do you want me to turn off the TV?" But be prepared for a "yes," and the need to state your preference several times before she gets it.

Reinforce the Positive
When you're finding yourself annoyed with her for making your place feel like her place, remember your ultimate goal. Do you want to have a good relationship with this woman? If so, then mentally list the reasons you love her. And keep doing so while you nudge her into understanding your need for a little space and respecting your boundaries.

Write Her Notes
You can hit both of these strategies - explaining what's bothering you and reinforcing her good qualities - by writing her notes, either on e-mail or on paper. Take time alone to do this so that you get the words right. Let her know that you appreciate her willingness to understand your likes and dislikes and tell her that you want to make things comfortable for her too. Tell her what you love about her, and not just her looks. Her kindness, her intelligence, her cooking skills, her knowledge of golf - be real and be complimentary.

Talking about these seemingly minor issues can be a challenge, but clearing the air will make you both feel better. Then you're more likely to expand that comfort zone when you're together and be able to focus on the good stuff.

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