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Trust your instincts from the very first contact with a potential boyfriend.  Did he get a little too drunk on your initial dates?  A man who can’t get through the early stages of a relationship without using alcohol may have substance abuse issues.  Is he perpetually late, always offering bogus excuses?  He doesn’t value your time so don’t expect him to suddenly be punctual when you need him to be somewhere important.  Do you get a sense he is hiding something when he finds reasons why you can never come to his place?  Key into your visceral responses when you pick up vibes that don’t sit right with you.  Don’t make the mistake so many women make, thinking that all these negative behaviors will change once he falls in love with you.  They won’t.  They may even get worse.
"Regardless of what you've heard, realize that guys can indeed be 'just friends' with other girls. Some women can get really jealous for no reason. Some think there's no such thing as a platonic relationship with another girleither one or the other of you wants to hook up. It's important for them to know that those relationships can and do exist with the opposite sex. Don't drive yourself crazy over them." KC I.
The elders suggest you think about whether your future spouse will be a “good provider.” It’s an old-fashioned term, but it embodies a fundamental truth: marriage may be about love, but it’s also an economic arrangement that unites the financial futures of the partners. So women (and men, too) need to ask: Does my prospective mate like to work? Will he or she hold up their end financially? And can they responsibly handle money? The elders told story after story of having to carry the economic load and handle someone else’s debts and bad financial decisions.
"Like many people, I grew up believing that marriage required self-sacrifice. Lots of it. My wife, Linda, helped me see that I didn’t have to become a martyr and sacrifice my own happiness in order to make our marriage work. She showed me that my responsibility in creating a fulfilling and joyful life for myself was as important as anything else that I could do for her or the kids. Over the years, it’s become increasingly clear to me that my responsibility to provide for my own well-being is as important as my responsibility to others. This is easier said than done, but it is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to ensure that our relationship will be mutually satisfying."

You know that feeling you get when you know something isn’t quite right? If your date can’t answer simple questions about where he works or acts super shady, chances are something weird is going on. “Listen to what your gut is telling you,” says Mills. And that goes for behaviors too. If he’s already getting on your nerves and it’s only the first date that’s another indicator that you’re just not going to work.


Relationship advice isn't one-size-fits-all, so it helps to get a range of opinions. And while we're huge fans of credentialed sex and relationship experts, sometimes you just need some real talk from women who've been there. That's why we've decided to draw from Refinery29's library of personal stories to glean some real-world advice. These are people who've been through specific romantic challenges and have come out of them wiser — and are happy to spread their newfound wisdom.
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"I like a girl to be confident going into a date, even if it's the first one. The normal guy-girl interactions on initial outings usually fall somewhere between awkward and really awkward (which is understandable, especially if it's a blind date), so having a girl go the opposite route not only makes her more intriguing—it's also a total turn-on."
“This is a little awkward, but I value our working relationship and I’d like to share something with you. I have noticed that you are routinely late for meetings. This interrupts my schedule, and it also leads me to believe you do not value our time together. Can we make an agreement that you will be on time for all meetings or that our meeting is canceled if you are more than eight to 10 minutes late?”
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