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Keys to Maintaining a New Relationship
Nowadays, when it comes to young relationship, a lot of emphasis is placed on the importance of the first few dates, but if you make it past that point and start dating on the regular, the first few months of your relationship is just as crucial, if not more, to make sure you don't disappoint.
Wait a while before introducing them to your family.
It's a stepping stone. Sure, you may be anxious to take your guy/girl home and get them to meet everyone and show them just how awesome, smart, beautiful/handsome they are, but, wait a bit. Allow them to get some time to know you and become comfortable around you before expecting them to do the same with your next of kin. It can be overwhelming for them, and definitely don't do it without letting them know first. The last thing you want is to take your guy/girl back to your place after they've gotten off from work and run them through the grand introduction. This happened to me. My boyfriend and I worked at the same place and just came back from a long weekend, and his mom was sitting on the couch when we walked in. I hadn't showered, had no makeup on, was in my uniform and was a little on the cranky side. The first opinion is everything, and just like the guys meeting their girl's father is a huge deal, the girl meeting her guy's mom is a big deal too. A side note, make sure you put some effort into the introductions! Don't leave it up to them to begin it with an awkward wave and a “Hello, I'm ----” Such a mortifying situation!
You both may think chivalry is dead: prove otherwise.
As cliche as being chivalrous may seem nowadays – your partner will love you for it. It makes them feel appreciated. Who cares if you think it's like something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, give it a try!And if they don't like it, they'll let you know (although who doesn't mind a little chivalry here and there?) With the hookup culture being a huge thing nowadays, especially in college, when you do make it into an actual relationship, you want to treat your guy/girl differently than you would the booty-call you'd go to pick up on a Saturday night.
Guys: open doors for her – and I'm not just talking about building doors. I had a guy once who, when he would come to pick me out, get out, walk around, open the passenger door of his truck for me, and help me in. The same would be done for when I was getting out. I was impressed, and I felt extremely lucky. And, I also haven't ran into that type of treatment since.
Pay for her – unless you've already agreed to go Dutch. It's a nice gesture, and it shows that you like her enough to spend your money on her. Eventually, you'll start paying separately, but every once and a while it still doesn't hurt to revive it as a nice surprise.
And girls, I don't hesitate to bring my guy a coffee or pay for his lunch every once and a while. It's a two way street.
It doesn't have to be constant, but give your guy/girl compliments. Tell her if you like it when she wears her hair in curls, tell him if you like his car, or if the jeans your girl is wearing makes her ass look nice. Again, it makes them feel appreciated and it shows that you pay attention to their appearance and style. Guys seem to be modest when given compliments, or unsure how to take them, but I give them anyway. They may not have been great at responding to “You look hot in a suit”, but I know that inside, I made them feel good about themselves. I had a guy who only complimented me when it was obvious – when I was wearing new lingerie for example. “You look sexy”. No kidding, that's what I bought it for. It's more the little things, when they're not expecting it, that counts.
Make them feel at home.
When he/she at your place, the last thing you want them doing is sitting there on your couch awkwardly twiddling their thumbs because they're starving or not sure where the bathroom is. You want to them to feel just as relaxed as your best friend does when you have them over to have a few drinks. Give them a tour, show them where everything is and make sure that you have no problem with them jumping in the shower if they need to, fixing themselves a snack, or picking something to watch on TV. As for the snack thing, here's hoping you're a good enough host to ask them if they want a drink or if they're hungry before they takes it upon themselves to get up and go to the kitchen. I've had it happen where a guy I was seeing got up, fired something in the microwave, came back with it and started eating, before finally his mom (huge fail) asked him if he had thought to ask me if I was hungry. Of course I was! Don't be that guy/girl.
Find an appropriate level of communication.
Communication in any relationship is key – and it's important that you two maintain a healthy level of it. While this can be based on personal preference, be sure not to smother your guy/girl – i.e. Texting them constantly or calling them to see where they are. You are two people with two different lives, and while you are dating, you don't need to speak constantly. Space is just as valued as good communication. Throwing in good morning or goodnight texts can be a thoughtful bonus.
When together, be sure you maintain open, candid conversation as well. Save conversations of an important nature for when you are face to face. I have learned the hard way that text messages, tweets and Facebook chat can be misunderstood and not always are you able to properly convey, or realize, how you or your partner are feeling.
Trust is an important thing in communication, you want to be able to trust them with what you are telling them – and it is okay if you don't want to immediately tell each other your entire life stories or even the full details of your day, let alone how you may feel. Talking about feelings are on a whole different level, don't expect this to be an immediate thing. In fact, rushing into it, i.e saying that “L” word before you are ready, can be disastrous, turning meaningful sayings into trust-breakers and heart-wrenchers. Remember your guy/girl is probably just as nervous and unsure about it as you are. It's gradual, and takes work, but if done right, helps keeping your new relationship healthy.
Be considerate, yet keep an open-mind.
Yeah sure you may love watching football, but your girlfriend may be sitting next you falling asleep or wanting to tear her hair out. The last thing you want to do is is leave your guy/girl feeling bored, especially when the relationship is new. Find things that you both enjoy and do those. Sure, there's nothing wrong with introducing them to things you like, but don't expect them to love it as much as you do. If they do, great. But this isn't always the case. Respect your differences. It doesn't hurt to compromise and do something they like, either. If you expect your girl to sit through an hour of your favourite show, don't complain when she wants to do a bit of shopping. Again, life is a two way street.
Although most of these points may seem like basic knowledge – and if they are, give yourself a pat on the back – you'd be surprised how many guys and girls out there need a little wake-up call when they're dealing with a new relationship. Yes, the first couple dates matter, but when you make it past that point and actually begin to deal with the trials and tribulations of a new relationship, you want to make sure that you're not setting yourself – or your partner up for disappointment.