In the crazy, head-over-heels, emotional roller coaster of a new relationships, it may be hard to think of much else, or rationally much at all. to consider much else. But there are certain things you should do at the start of a new relationship — things that will help to ensure that the connection between you and your new partner starts on the right foot and has the best chance of enduring.
The truth is strong, healthy, long-term relationships don’t just happen: They take diligence, awareness and a definite sense of being present and in the moment. And the first thing could be to take a long, hard look at yourself. You should take inventory of your feelings and how the relationship makes you feel. Are you being your true self and true to your self. Does this new person encourage you to be you, and show up authentically?
It can be so tempting to try to be a better, sparklier version of yourself when you first meet someone. But that will never work out in the long run. Cross-check to make sure you are both looking for the same things. This is heaps easier to do online when you can see each other’s dating profiles. But new relationship energy can blind you to tackling controversial issues because you think love will conquer all. Which is stupid.
Don’t let the heady days of a new relationship blind you to crucial differences
So, at the start of any new relationship, you should lay down your deal breakers and try and find a way to work them into the conversation. Of course, it’s not that fun to talk about all of the things you don’t want when you’re trying to dive headfirst into something that feels amazing, but it’s best to get anything that could gum up the works later off your chest immediately. Such as: you never want to have kids; you are a virgin; you don’t ever want to be married; you are not close with your family. Whatever your list looks like, we all have them. Though perhaps better that you don’t bring this kind of thing up on a first date, if it becomes clear that one of you is champing at the bit for kids and the other never wants them, it’ll be easiest for both of you if you pull the plug at the beginning.
Do open your ears and listen. In the beginning, that’s it: Just listen. Too many people get swept up in romance and excitement, and they forget to listen and learn about the person they’re dreaming about and fantasizing a life together. If he says he’s got seven kids, and you’ve sworn off them, reconsider the whirlwind romance. If you are tired of dating men with no money, listen when he says that he’s between projects or in transition. Sex and romance are wonderful, but using the beginning of dating to really learn about the person and to decide if you’re compatible is an equally key use of your time and energy.
And be honest – honesty is the best policy. Don’t pretend to be down with something if you’re not, or like you’ve got everything together if you’re still working on parts of yourself. If you hate skiing, don’t pretend like you do just because he’s outdoorsy. If you’re allergic to cats, don’t say they’re your favorite pet because she has two. If you lie, they’ll find out — and then they’ll know you’re a liar, too. The truth will come out eventually, so might as well face your disagreements now. If a fling does end as a result of being transparent about your needs, it’s for the best anyway.
What do you want from this relationship?
If you’re looking for a committed, long-term relationship (LTR), then let the other person know that sooner rather than later. You can do this by asking the person fairly early on to commit to the relationship. Say: “if you want to be with me, then be with only me.” You might scare off the commitment-phobics, but it’s better to know who and what you’re dealing with from the get-go,” she says. Of course, it’s worth waiting until you know you want an LTR with that person, and it may take some time to know that you want commitment. But by putting your cards on the table early on, you can eliminate the cheaters, and get rid of those people who aren’t looking for a serious relationship. Of course, that is, assuming that you want a committed relationship to begin with. If not, skip to the next tip.
Be careful not to compare. One imperative at the start of every new relationship is to leave your past relationships behind. Newsflash: This new person is not your ex. And this is a good thing. Always start fresh. Emotional scars and wounds from your past can easily sabotage any new relationship. If you had a bad breakup, be sure to heal and give yourself space before jumping into something new. Take the time to identify unresolved feelings of anger, hurt, guilt and disappointment from the past and accept these feelings as lessons learned. It then becomes easier to move on. And no one wants to get involved with someone who is still hung up on someone else.
Who are you getting to know here?
Check out your new beau’s friends. How you get on with your new partner’s pals says a lot about how the relationship will go. Not only is it a good idea to see what kinds of people your partner hangs out with, your own friends will prove invaluable as well. Your friends will give you feedback about the person, and your date’s friends will tell you a lot of stuff you need to know. Plus, great bonus: It’s fun!
In all this, don’t forget to have a great time. We can get so caught up in stressing that we’re wasting our time with someone who doesn’t want the same things that we do. But in the beginning both people are still figuring out how to let their guard down, or if they want to, and focusing on what may or may not happen next may mean you’re missing what’s happening right in front of you.
So, yes — be yourself and be honest and be real and don’t lie and talk about your deal-breakers and your expectations and listen and all of that good stuff. But don’t get so caught up in worrying that we’re wasting our time with someone who doesn’t want the same things that we do, when, in the beginning, both people are still figuring out how to let their guard down, or if they want to. Focusing too much on what may or may not happen next may mean you’re missing what’s happening right in front of you.
It’s worth mostly just kicking back and finding out who this person is, and savoring every moment. The rest will be there as time unfolds. Don’t forget to have a great time in those early, heady moments!