I’ve been single for 6 years. You read that right. SIX YEARS. Okay, okay, five and a half. But who’s counting right? When I say single, I mean I have not been in a committed relationship since May of 2011. Half of those years I was intentionally single; half of them I was not. Sure, I’ve talked guys and have had my fair share of first, second and third dates, but I had not found anyone worth committing myself, my time and my space to.
New relationships are the best, right? You feel happy, relieved, comfortable, and grateful to had found someone who you can relate to, laugh with, and grow with. It’s pure heaven. But there are so many ways to make it better and to mess it up.
So many times we allow our past relationships, situationships, hurts and even highs dictate our new relationship. This is bad. Really bad. We also get so much advice from every person who has been in a relationship that, for some reason or another, think that they are a love expert despite the fact that their relationships fail one after the other… Too real? Okay, my bad.
But really, what advice do you cling to and what do you throw away? Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert. But I’ll share with you some tips that I think can help new relationships grow and thrive into strong bonds that no adversity can break.
1.DO try to give your new partner a clean slate!
When you start a new relationship, you deserve a clean slate. You deserve to be treated as if the other person was never hurt, mistreated or cheated on. We deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt. Sure, your new man may have had 3 women declare their love for him, end the relationships abruptly without warning, and scar him horribly. But when he commits to you, he should not treat the relationship as if it is going to mimic his last three. You are not those women. You probably have never even met those women.
You are a totally new person who deserves his all and his whole heart. You deserve this, right? Well so does he. He’s not Tom, Dick, Jamal, or Harry. Just a reminder.
2. DON’T judge him off his past.
As long as he is not a psycho, rapist, sexist murderer by night, let his past go. You’re no angel either and you have made some very questionable decisions as well (flashback to that weekend in college that you would give your left foot to rewind and erase). We all have made bad decisions that we regret. Embrace him and realize that those decisions and experiences are what made him into the amazing guy you’re falling in love with now.
I mean who would you be if you hadn’t made horrible decisions when you were younger and learned from them? Probably a completely different person. Just think, that one thing you hate about his past could be the solo thing that made him the man he is today. If he isn’t facing prison charges or if your health or well-being isn’t in jeopardy based on his past, don’t dwell, move past it and be happy.
3. DO keep an open heart and mind.
It’s so easy to close ourselves off after being hurt or mistreated. It’s easier to shut everything down than to work hard to keep the open sign up. This is true for many life situations. But in order to keep your relationship going, as I’m assuming you probably want to, you must must MUST keep your heart and mind open to whatever is headed its way. That very well may be heartbreak. But, you may need to learn that lesson in order to truly love and appreciate the next man (who, with any luck, will be the Earth equivalent to Jesus Christ and the identical twin of Chris Evans or Morris Chestnut, whichever floats your boat. Fingers crossed).
4. DON’T start a relationship with the end in mind.
Starting a new relationship already thinking about how it will end is detrimental. Like really. Be patient, be encouraged, be optimistic. Who knows. You could be staring your soulmate/husband/wife right in the face. Don’t mess it up by expecting it to eventually end or threatening to leave after each argument. This is not middle school. Or is it? Your choice.
5. DO make time to be alone and 6. DON’T make your partner your everything. .
One of the best pieces of advice my big sister has ever given me is to NEVER give your significant other all of you and all of your time. We are important too. Our alone time is precious ad crucial to remaining our individual identity. The last thing we should do is spend every waking hour with another person, because eventually we may feel like we really NEED them to get through the day. And the reality is that we done. So when you are starting out, be intentional about being without him/her sometimes. Because we WILL NOT foster behavior that causes us to feel like dying if the relationship falters.
7. DO listen like your life depends on it.
Good listening skills is one of the greatest attributes a person can have, if you ask me. You miss so much when you don’t listen. We talk a lot. Fine, don’t accept it, but we do. We want someone who will listen to us: every word, every pause, every condescending statement that implys something else (that he better catch, or else). So we need to make it a standard to do the same.
8. DON’T think you can change him.
You are not a magician. You are not a higher power. You are not his mother. Of course there are things about your new beau that are absolutely cringe-worthy. But I’m about to save you a lot of time and frustration: repeat after me, YOU CANNOT CHANGE HIM. Some things with time will change, but more than likely it will not because you made it happen. So accept who your S.O. is now or run. Simple as that.
9. DO appreciate him for who he is.
We are all unique individuals. We have different upbringings, pasts and thought processes. I love that my boyfriend is the complete opposite of me in some ways. For example, I am the most sensitive person you will ever meet in your life. Ever. He, on the other hand, can have a very hard heart sometimes. I love that because we are able to balance the other out when the need is there.
The beauty of starting a relationship with someone new is being able to see how their particular and unique personality will affect yours. Different people affect us in different ways. Your man’s personality should enhance yours and hopefully, make you better.
10. DON’T give up so easy.
My assumption is that you dove into this thing with hopes of making it last. If so, then do just that: MAKE IT LAST. Our generation gives up way too easily. Our relationships can have the same longevity as our parents’ and grandparents’ if we truly make the commitment to not give up on our significant other.
Agreeing to be in a relationship with another person is a huge choice and we are essentially saying that we want to compromise and combine our way of life with them. We must realize this fact and commit to trying. Try to listen, try to understand, try to be there and try to stay there. If you don’t, what was the point to starting this thing anyway?
What advice have you received to help your new relationship? Share with us in the comments!