Being in a relationship is like going on a journey; it has a start, usually a rocky patch in the middle, some highs, some lows and an end.
With the Olympics just one week away, we thought it was high time to consider the romantic hurdles that all couples have to leap over before they reach the fairytale happy ending.
Read on to discover the key points in any relationship and how to successfully navigate your way from the first date to the finish line....
1. Understand what you want
If you have an impossibly long list of the attributes, hobbies and looks of your ideal man, you may end up waiting a lifetime. Equally, if you have no idea what sort of person you want to attract you may end up falling into the wrong relationships. Be open minded but pick three non-negotiable attributes that you want in a partner and make sure he has them, i.e. funny, sporty and intelligent.
2. First Date
You're bound to be nervous but see it as the starting line for something special. Try not to instantly dismiss a person because they're probably as anxious as you. Pre-plan the event - decide what you're going to do and how long you're going to stay. Once you've got all eventualities covered, simply sit back and relax.
3. Meeting his friends for the first time
They probably will size you up and compare you to his ex-girlfriends...but don't let this knock your confidence. People love being asked about themselves, so ask his mates plenty of questions about their jobs, their friends, hobbies etc. If they ask you questions be honest and open - lies will always come back to bite you.
4. Three months together
This tends to be the make or break time for most relationships as it's the point where you start considering where it's going. It's worth having some of those awkward 'where do you see us in a year's time' conversations around this point, so you know whether you have the same long-term vision.
5. Meeting your partner's parents
Keep the first meeting light, airy and as informal as possible. Meet them in neutral territory, like a restaurant or local pub rather than at either of your homes.
We've got more advice on this hurdle here!
6. Your first holiday
Spending concentrated periods of time together can test any relationship, so make sure you discuss what you want to do and where you want to visit before you get there. Set yourselves a manageable budget so you don't end up fighting about money and arrange some romantic time together as well as some 'me' time. Try not to rise to silly arguments; it will only cause an atmosphere in the long-run.
7. Knowing they're 'the one'
There are no hard and fast rules here, but one tell-tale sign is an on-going chemistry that you can't explain. If there's no spark left, he isn't right for you in the long term.
8. Moving in together
This can sometimes be a bit of a wake-up call for couples because it's the first time they see their partner's habits and mannerisms in their down time. Make clear rules, divide the housework and decide early on how you're going to split bills and maintenance costs.
Wahoooo, you got there! Congratulations! Remember you're celebrating the first day of your married life together not just planning an elaborately expensive booze-up. Don't bow to pressure and plan a day that the two of you are happy with.
10. Keeping the romance alive
Inevitably there will be ups and downs in your relationship, but the way to keep that spark flickering is to stay romantic with each other. Celebrate anniversaries, spoil each other on your birthdays, plan weekend hotel breaks and buy impromptu gifts. Little gesture of love and affection are the cornerstone to a long and successful relationship.
What do you think?
Zoosk is the romantic social network that helps members create and share their romantic journeys, with millions of members from around the globe enjoying the service each month. Members can easily access Zoosk's services from its website, its Facebook app, mobile devices, and a downloadable desktop application
Half of British couples REGRET getting married!
How to cope with: Meeting the in-laws!
How to get your own way!
Top tips for a dirty weekend!