Dating Tips and Advice for New Relationships
New relationships are exciting. The first weeks and months are the time to explore where you fit in each other’s lives. It forms the foundation of the rest of your relationship.
Many give you the advice to stay in the moment and simply enjoy it for what it is. Although this is true, you should also remember that you are laying the groundwork for what is yet to come. You want to work from a solid foundation, not one that easily washes away.
How do you do that? How do you give a new relationship the start that it deserves? Here are a few tips.
- Leave the Past for What It Is
Many new couples get too caught up in their own and their partner’s past. Although it is valuable to a relationship to know where the other person is coming from, getting stuck in the past is disastrous.
You don’t want to build insecurities comparing yourself to your partner’s exes. You don’t want to set unrealistic expectations on your current partner, only to be disappointed.
We all have our scars from past relationships and some are deeper than others. The important thing is to recognize which of our behaviors are triggered by past relationships and to find a way to separate the then and now.
It is important that you also know what these triggers are in your partner. Then, you can develop an understanding of what has hurt them in the past and find a way to reassure them that it won’t happen again.
- Don’t Stress About the Labels
Labels are unnecessary when two people are confident in their relationship. When you feel uncertain about the status of your relationship, there is probably another conversation that you need to have.
Every relationship expert will tell you that communication is key. It may be a cliche but it is a cliche with truth.
At the very start of a relationship, your goal should be exploration; discovering what role you want to play in each other’s lives. Once you have come to a conclusion, you can have the conversation with the person you are dating.
Don’t feel too rushed to place a label on things, right from the start. It gives you the freedom to be honest about the relationship instead of feeling pressured into expectations.
- Don’t Go from 0 to 60
When you meet someone that drives you mad with desire, brings butterflies to your stomach and keeps you smiling all day, it is amazing. It is like a new high in our life and the natural reaction is to chase it.
Although this is a good sign of chemistry, it is not a guarantee of anything. It might be hard to spot the red flags in the beginning which is why it is better to take things slow.
Don’t drop everything just to be with that special person. Make sure you are still leaving plenty of time for your friends, family and especially yourself.
Going from 0 to 60 right from the start can build a dependency that is difficult to unlearn. Remember that a relationship does not define you and that you have every right to also have a life that is just yours.
- Be Honest
One of the hardest things in a new relationship is being honest, both with yourself and with each other. However, being honest from the beginning saves you both a lot of heartbreak down the road.
You can only be honest with another person when you are able to be honest with yourself. This is easier said than done but if you can put in the work on yourself first, your relationship will only benefit from it.
Being honest with yourself involves recognizing your own triggers, your own needs and what you want in your future. Try to get these elements as clear as possible for yourself.
Having this clarity for yourself also brings clarity to the new relationship. You will be able to recognize earlier on whether you and your love interest are on the same page.
- Don’t Ignore the Red Flags
Hindsight is 20-20 vision. Or is that only an excuse to let ourselves get carried away in a new relationship?
Even relationships that ended horribly can help us in a new relationship. They are a lesson in red flags.
Although it is only fair to give someone the benefit of the doubt, it is not fair to yourself to fall back into negative patterns. Our bodies are more perceptive then we sometimes allow ourselves to think – listen to your gut feeling.
If something doesn’t feel right, if something in their behavior is making you uncomfortable or anxious, listen to that feeling. It doesn’t always have to mean the end of a relationship but it does mean there is some work to be done.
- Don’t Feel Pressured to Become Someone Else
Most couples put in a little more effort at the start of a relationship. This is normal because you are giddy with excitement and want to give the relationship the best chance.
What is not normal is feeling forced into habits and opinions that fundamentally change you. It is not normal for a partner to make you do, say and feel things that don’t come naturally to you.
Not only is this a red flag, it is simply not a good foundation for your relationship. How long can you keep up a false presentation of yourself?
Ask yourself the question whether the person that you are dating is truly interested in you or just a version of you. Also ask the reverse. Are you truly into the person as they are or are you hoping they will one day fulfill your ideal picture of a partner?
- Pay Attention to the Actions
They may be saying all the right things but are they also doing all the right things? We have to be honest about the fact that what we say does not always match up to what we actually do. This applies to both people in a relationship.
Do not get carried away by beautiful words and quick promises. You won’t know if they mean anything until the person finally comes through.
At the same time, pay attention to your own behavior. Are you telling your date that you are more excited or more comfortable than you really are?
In both cases, there will be telltale signs that the words don’t match the actions. Train yourself to recognize these clues (which also helps with honesty).
- Meet Their Friends
There is no need to rush to meet the parents but meeting the friends can tell you a lot about a new relationship. It shows you how they are beyond your blissful couple bubble.
There are two sides to pay attention to when hanging out with their friends; how do they act and how are you acting yourself? Both of you should be comfortable with the other person being there.
If you are noticing behavior that doesn’t sit right with you, ask yourself how it might affect your relationship. Is it a red flag? Does it show their true character? Is there more to them than you initially thought?
Similarly, if you find yourself pretending to be something that you are not around their friends, are you setting yourself up for trouble down the road? You don’t have to become best friends with their friends but you should feel good about them.
- Fall in Love with the Person, Not the Relationship
Having a long-term plan is good for setting goals, manifesting and simply knowing what you really want. However, a long-term plan should not place pressure on a new relationship.
Your mother telling you to finally settle down and your friends having babies should have no influence on your new relationship. That is their situation, not yours.
When you start to feel pressured by others’ expectations, or even your own expectations, you may be forcing a new relationship into something it is not meant to be. This when people settle or rush – neither is sustainable.
In a new relationship, you should be focusing on the person and not what you want the relationship to become. Focusing on the person will help express your true feelings instead of your expectations.
- Know Where You Both Stand
Don’t start listing baby names on date #3 but don’t hide what you want out of a relationship, either. It is important that you are both aware of where the other person stands so that you can go into the relationship without misconceptions.
This knowledge doesn’t have to be paired with labels, pressures or deadlines at the start of the relationship. There should still be space for the relationship to grow organically.
However, knowing where you both stand in life and where you eventually want to go is important. The emphasis here is on the word ‘eventually’ because the start of the relationship is still a time for exploration.
You should feel comfortable with sharing what you want with them, even if they might not be on the same page just yet. Simply knowing what you want will help you both evaluate where the relationship could go and prevent the relationship from holding you back.
Thinking with a clear head is not the easiest thing when you are falling in love. Frankly, that is part of what makes new love so wonderful.
So, take the advice in this article as a guideline instead of a commandment. The truth is that you are the only one that can truly evaluate the relationship.