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If the relationship progresses and you like what you see, within two months time you can start dating more seriously, perhaps even exclusively.But within three to four months, Darnay says, it's back to the new car analogy for one more spin around the relationship block."A need for intimacy, for sexual gratification and satisfaction, a need to be honored and understood and even accepted by our partner, these are all important aspects of who we are.

Darnay says many such problems could be avoided, if we viewed new relationships like they were a new car -- starting with the "test drive" known as "dating." "At the early stages of any relationship you should be dating -- and that's dating, not sleeping with -- at least three or four different potential partners," says Darnay.

This will give you the emotional distance and time you need to get to know them before you get too serious with any one person.

Here are five ways to help you do just that: Understanding your core values is at the heart of truly knowing your needs.

"These are the things about yourself that are not likely to change.

"If you are looking to a partner to make you feel worthwhile, to make you feel happy, to rescue you from a bored or unhappy life, if you are seeking someone to make you feel complete or whole -- well then you have some work to do, because these are needs that are never going to be met by any one other than yourself," says Sugrue.

To put those demands on someone else is to set up yourself -- and the relationship -- for failure.

"No matter how good a new car is running you've still got to take it in for that three-month checkup. That checkup should involve honestly answering some tough questions about your partner, including: If the answers are no, pay attention.

Experts say red flags are red for a reason -- so you can see them!

"In the end, they represent who you are and what you need. And while we all have heard that opposites attract -- and experts say they do -- when it comes to the really big issues in our life, shared values are still what count the most.

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