The 5 Stages of a Successful Relationship (in a Romantic Comedy)

#4. The Inevitable Crisis/Temporary Break-up

Ensure you have reliable cellphone coverage to avoid a hilariously mistimed lost call leading to misunderstandings and a breakup that will take weeks to repair. Strangely, the thought of being better off without a woman who hysterically dumps you over a single phone call will not occur to you.

Should your visiting sister be desperately grief-stricken because her husband has been crushed under an alligator and all five of her quintuplet children have cancer, the closest you are allowed to come while consoling her is shouting advice from across the room. Any closer and your girlfriend will witness and somehow completely misread the situation.

Ignore any and all advice from your hilarious male friends. Amazingly, the keen tactical minds that assist you in chugging tequila while handstanding over a stripper are not well-suited to subtle emotional situations.

If you suspect you may be written by Kevin Smith, ON NO ACCOUNT make ANY daring or desperate attempts to save the affair. It will turn out to be the worst relationship rescue idea since Hitler said, "Come on, Eva, let's go to my bunker for a few days until all this blows over." Just buy some roses and hope for the best.

Should you find Eugene Levy giving you paternal relationship advice, please check to ensure you haven't made this exact same movie four times already.

In the event your lover claims she faked her orgasms, do not dispute this statement, as this runs the risk of reminding people that Billy Crystal has had sex-a mental image that causes permanent damage. The correct tactical response to the "I faked my orgasms" gambit is the "Like I cared" maneuver.

#5. The Long Term

It is considered rude to point out that your partner's friends are an utterly unbelievable combination of stereotypes who wouldn't spend five minutes together in real life unless trapped in an elevator. After all, she is polite enough not to point out that your mates are a pack of one-dimensional clichés, or how it's odd that you have exactly one black friend who hangs out with you despite finding you and the rest of your friends' taste in clothing and music totally ridiculous.

Should you require privacy, initiate sex with your partner-the camera crew will depart the instant male nudity is unavoidable and not return until you are lying facing each other with your heads on the pillows. This means that unorthodox sexual positions not involving the bed-like "The Wallbanger", "The Tablebreaker" and "The Mongolian Cluster Squat"-are unsuitable. If your lady does consent to these positions, be warned that you are NOT in a romantic comedy and the camera crew is most certainly still there.

Follow this advice and your relationship should be as trouble-free and enjoyable as comic timing will allow. But remember: No matter how perfectly things seem to be wrapped up, there will always be new problems (if there's money in a sequel).

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