It's not all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops, the first few months of a new relationship can be downright awkward and there's no way around it, writes Dairne Black.

Congratulations. You’ve made it through the sea, through the awkward dates and have successfully bagged yourself a lad or a lassie. You are no longer footloose and fancy free, no no. You are, and I’ll whisper, ‘in a relationship’. It’s a statement as reverend or as shocking as saying ‘Voldemort’. You are now boyfriend/girlfriend, well done. Now the fun begins…

Relationships, in general, are great. Rainbows, cheese, all that clichéd sappy crap that television has ingrained in our brain. Let’s not forget the movies, rom-coms and chick-flicks giving us a silly idea of what could be, but probably won’t, even if you do end up in a relationship. They tell us all the happy lovey dovey shite, but they don’t tell us the real stuff, the un-sugar coated stuff. It’s time to let you in on something, in case you weren’t already aware. It’s not all strawberries and cream.

The beginning of a relationship is probably one of the most awkward times. Yes, you’re still in the honeymoon phase, giggly as a school child, and still have the butterflies. Although, if truth be told, I’m one year in and I still get the butterflies. (Don’t tell him I said that though). I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, far from it, but hopefully I can get you talking about the awkward moments we all experience. Call it, baby steps, or butterfly steps perhaps.

There’s the big one. They’re probably going to see you naked. Yes, should that time come where you decide to, for want of a better word ‘get the ride’, he/she will indeed see you naked. There’s no going back. No amount of tan can hide the lumps and bumps, the Bridget Jones-esque knickers will be off.  Of course you have the ‘oh sweet jesus’ moment but, once that’s passed, it’s plain sailing. Then there’s the post-sex moment. Don’t cover up now, don’t be shy. It all. Every little inch. Being in clothes is all well and good. In fact, it’s fantastic, clothes are simply marvellous.(Why couldn’t I leave my damn bra on?) So, now you’ve seen each other naked, I suppose there’s nothing left for it, but to repeat the process all over again.

Once this whole sex business is completed, you can keep your clothes on for more than five minutes. It’s time to venture out in public. Predicament; how do you behave? Oh, well now it’s different, you have someone on your arm. Holding hands? Yes, but what if they’re clammy? Will they feel that? Will he think I’m a weirdo for have wet sweaty hands? How come he can fart and I can’t? I have bodily functions too. We all poo by the way. Men seem to think that women only pee, and nothing more. Lads, we’d spontaneously combust if that were the case? I know there’s all this talk of being a lady, and I get that. Being fair, I’m probably more Mia Themopolis (Princess Diaries, shame on you if you don’t know her) than Kate Middleton. A curvy Mia Thermpolis shall we say. I still don’t understand why it’s acceptable for my boyfriend to fart in bed.

Following on from the public handholding and farting, it leads me to the dreaded PDA: Public Displays of Affection. I’m not a fan. I don’t think the world needs to see how far down my fella’s throat I can shove my tongue. Sorry to sound graphic. I’m all for showing affection, but for the love of god, keep it to the bedroom. I saw two teenagers go at Pearse Street DART station recently eating each other’s faces. Initially, I thought, ‘ah young love’ but slowly, I began to feel rather faint and the painful process continued. I saw the hand on the leg, oh Jesus, please God, not in public, but as far as that was concerned, the hand stayed on the thigh. A quick kiss, or even a cheeky kiss is all well and good, but keep the serious tonsil tennis for the proper playing field.

So, public displays of affection aside, I now come to the dreaded selfie/Facebook etiquette. It was quite some time before I told anyone about my relationship, let alone put it up on Facebook. Even now, it merely says, ‘in a relationship’. I could be in a relationship with the man on the moon for all you know. I think that with relationships, less is more. Much more. The world doesn’t need to know every little detail, you don’t need to document every little movement. God forbid you breakup, it will be painful as hell having your relationship plastered across Facebook photo albums. The odd check in, the odd selfie, all perfectly lovely and wonderful. We salute you! Look at you showing off your boo to the world. I’m pretty sure, the first time we ever put a photo of us up on Facebook was after a rather heavy night out, and the typical Irish way of ‘sure feck it’ was applied.

Meeting the mates is another fun adventure that you and your new loved one can now have together. Now, in true form, my story is wonderfully embarrassing. When you meet their mates, do not for the love of god, have a drink. Or if you do, at the very least, have one. No more. Or, you may end up, drunk as a skunk ordering them to go and fetch some pizza at 2am in the morning, whilst you head up to the apartment. If you think that’s bad, I ended up half-naked sitting on boyfriend’s bedroom floor eating doritos. Not forgetting the dip. Can’t forget the dip. He told his friends, it went on Facebook, and we now jokingly refer to it as ‘The Dorito Incident’…