New relationships (whether you’ve been dating a few weeks or a couple of months) are supposed to the easiest part. But many times adapting to someone new and getting rid of old patterns from previous relationships can impede new ones. More so, certain reactions can often mislead your partner in a non-positive way. So, how does someone manage the beginning stages of a healthy relationship?
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when you're starting a new relationship:
1. Be clear and direct. We’ve all been there at the beginning of a relationship where you tippy toe around what you really mean and want to say. By not being direct and clear with your intensions and wants right from the beginning you might risk sending the wrong message.
Partner A: “You want to come over, unless you’re busy?” Partner B: “Sure, if you want me to.”
Partner A: “If you want, you can. no pressure. I have tons of work to do anyway if you don’t”
Partner B: “Oh, then maybe I’ll stay in then. We can get together another time.”
Final thoughts from Partner A & B: I really wish they wanted to spend time with me.
Partner A: “You want to come over?” Partner B: “Sure, that sounds like fun.”
Partner A: “Awesome!”
Final thoughts from Partner A & B: They want to spend time with me. I feel good.
2. Setting Expectations. There are small and big expectations that can impact and mould your relationship. So it’s important to have reasonable expectations in your relationship and with your partner. Reasonable meaning, healthy versus unhealthy expectations.
I expect him to love all my friends. If he doesn’t even like them, then he obviously doesn’t like me.
I expect him to be polite and kind to my friends.
3. Be open with your partner. Being new in each other’s lives means everything is new and your partner won’t know how you normally feel about things and experiences, unless you let them know. So don't wait until they have to guess, let them know when you're unhappy or happy with something they've done. Remember, don't just express when you're unhappy with something, but provide validation when they do something you like. This will allow your partner to get to know you and how you like to be treated.
4. Go at a steady pace. When we meet someone we click with, we cannot wait to dive in and begin the romance. But it is important to let things unfold naturally and be in the moment with your partner. Enjoy each other without the pressures of "relationship expectations". (Some of these relationship expectations can mean meeting friends or family or simply expecting to spend every minute together). Every relationship is different and the pace should be too. Don't add pressure in something new or else it won't blossom naturally and instead will crumble under the pressure.
5. Avoid texting as a form of communication. A common topic in sessions with couples or even individual therapy clients is the use of text. Text should be left for confirming plans or sending sweet messages to each other. Leave the conversations for the phone call or in-person moments. Even worse, don't have a heated discussion or fight over text. Text can easily be interpreted wrong and soon you'll be wishing you could have just stopped at "hello". This is the time to set the precedence to your relationship. How you communicate is the biggest piece in a healthy relationship.
6. Don't forget about you. New relationships can swallow us up and soon we are leaving ourselves behind. Make time for yourself. Do the things you love without your partner. Go out with your friends, spend time alone at home with a good movie or book or just go out and pamper yourself. Time with yourself will allow you to stay grounded and feel good about you. Key reminder, the healthiest relationships start from having a healthy relationship with yourself. 7. Leave your old relationship in the past. Comparing your new relationship or partner with your past is never a healthy idea. You need to trust yourself and your intuition. If you're going to treat this relationship like you did your last, you will end up with the same results. Separate the two and enjoy your new found romance. Every story is different and so are your relationships. 8. Set your boundaries. Boundaries are an important factor in the beginning of any form of relationship, especially a romantic one. Let them know ahead of time what you are okay with and what you're not okay with. Remember to also pay attention to theirs.