Clear expectations and boundaries must be set in the beginning. Without this, there is no way to know what you can expect of each other or where each person’s comfort level is. This also creates an open dialogue for both parties to voice their thoughts and feelings on topics involving everyday life, finances, etc., says Georges Chahwan; ultimately creating a comfortable exchange of ideas that sets the stage for trust and understanding. Having this direct line of communication allows partners to communicate concerns about things they may notice in one another that aren’t conducive to an ideal relationship dynamic early on before they become more apparent problems that are harder for either person to ignore or workaround.

For instance, if one partner notices that the other has begun becoming distant but doesn’t address it initially, this can create a domino effect of negative, self-fulfilling interactions between the two. By addressing how they feel early on and coming to a mutual agreement on an effective way of getting back on track, issues like these are far less likely to arise organically in the future.

Having open communication lines set from the beginning, adds Georges Chahwan, is not only important for both parties to understand each other on a deeper level but also prevents problems from surfacing that may have been hard for either party or even both parties to ignore or work around down the road.