We’ve all been in this situation. You’re in the early stages of a new relationship and things are going great. The honeymoon phase is still in full effect and you’re looking at the world through a pair of rose-tinted spectacles. Life seems perfect. But then, out of nowhere, the dreaded new relationship anxiety creeps in. Should you bring up past relationships? Will their parents like you? Are you going too fast??
We’ve compiled a list of the most important do’s and don’ts in relationships to give you a handy guide on how to keep your fairy tale romance from having a Romeo and Juliet ending!
Do: Be yourself
This is probably the most important rule of any relationship. The two of you are together for a reason – you both like each other for who you are. True, there may be parts of you that they do not know about yet or that you are scared to show them, but the worst thing you can do is keep things from them or pretend to be someone you are not. Being confident enough to own who you are is a sure-fire way to maintain their interest. Take off your mask and let them see the real you.
Don’t: Compare them to your ex
Talking about your ex has its pros and cons. The important thing is HOW you talk about your ex. Believe it or not, there are some good ways in which talking about your past relationship can impact your new relationship. It can be healthy and bring you both closer. You’re essentially learning more about where the other has come from and what has shaped them into who they are now. However, comparing them to your ex could indicate many things to sow seeds of doubt. Keep in mind not to do it too often and when you do, do it in a spirit of growing with your new partner instead of living in the past.
Open and honest communication is crucial for a healthy and lasting relationship. If you don’t communicate to your partner when something is amiss, the chances are they won’t know about it. Bottling things up inside of you instead of talking about them will only lead to those emotions festering and getting stronger. If you are someone who doesn’t like to speak out, then at least communicate that something is bothering you and you will talk about it when you are ready. This shows that you are mature enough to take ownership of your emotions and you care enough to work things through with your partner.
Don’t: Botch the meeting of the parents
Something that everyone dreads but it is inevitable in most cases. The day when you have to meet the parents. Much like most things in life, it is best not to let your stress and anxiety get the better of you. Be yourself and relax. The chances are that they will like you for the same reasons that their child does! Naturally, there are some things to avoid during this crucial moment but the best advice is to not get into your head about it.
Do: Set and respect boundaries
This can be a tricky one to navigate, even when you are in a seasoned relationship. It is very important to clearly set boundaries in a new relationship – preferably early on. Whether you don’t like public displays of affection, or you are not a fan of making a fuss over birthdays. You might even just need some time to yourself every week. Knowing what your partner’s boundaries are and not crossing them is important because you are showing that you respect their wishes and desires, even if it might not always be what you want. A helpful tip would be to find out what your love languages are.
Don’t: Rush things
With all the hormones that come with a new relationship, the chances are that you want to strike while the iron is hot and do as much as possible as quickly as possible. Being patient in a new relationship seems impossible but you don’t want your budding love flame to burn too bright and too fast! Have realistic expectations with what you want from them and what you are able to give in return. Don’t focus too much on the future. Instead, just enjoy the moment and go where it takes you – after all, it is about the journey and not the destination!
Do: Make an effort
There are few things more attractive than someone making an effort and showing that they care. It could be something as small as sending them a daily good morning or good night text or something as important as planning something special for an anniversary. Pay attention to the details as well. If they mention in passing what their favourite flower or snack is, why not surprise them out of the blue with a bouquet or a box of their favourite doughnuts?
The bane of many people’s existence and the Achilles heel of a happy relationship. Trust yourself and your partner enough to live in the moment and just enjoy things for what they are. Trust them to be understanding when you bring up something that is bothering you. Don’t let your feelings consume you and create a problem that does not exist. We can be our own worst enemies in this regard and this is where confidence in yourself and in your partner is crucial.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, these are generally the most important things to keep in mind in those early days – and to carry with you through the rest of your relationship. It is also important to note that what works for one couple might not necessarily work for another. Work with your partner to find your own rhythm. Communicate, be yourself, respect one another and live in the moment!