Hi,I'm Jules, a LPC,I am reviewing your question now, and will post back with your thorough reply briefly :)
I think that the first step to forming a long term relationship, is forming the casual relationship first. You want to start out with a friendship and enjoy the company of the other person first. You want to keep things light and allow the relationship to naturally progress. I think that it is important to maintain conversation, focus on the "ease" of the relationship and allow positive interactions to increase the connection. Save the "heavy" or serious conversations until a bit further down the road, so you can determine the similar values or morals you have. Then introduce family and friends and make them part of your relationship also, but maintain boundaries with them also. Don't depend on their approval, but do ask them about their opinions of how this person enhances your personal life. Then discuss desires together about a future. See if this person really fits for you.
AS far as maintaining a long term relationship-- keep in mind that it is better to be humble than to be right. Allow conflicts to create opportunities in the relationship. Take the time to understand emotions behind actions. Ask questions and be curious if compromise is an option. Stay committed, focus on honesty, address problems and don't allow issues to "fester," and attempt to meet the emotional needs of your partner by understanding their "love language." I think that if you keep these things in mind, you can form and maintain the relationship that you really want!!
Just wanted to check back in with you and ask if your found the answer provided to be significant or helpful. I want to provide services that you feel meet your need. Please briefly let me know :) The only way that experts receive credit for an answer provided is if there is a positive rating provided by the customer (3 stars or better) so if you do feel that you were satisfied, please take a moment to click on the rating tab. If you would like more information or additional resources, please let me know! Thank you, Jules