So you’re dating again. Me, personally, I’m not the type to jump from relationship to relationship. I like my down time and I enjoy being single (sometimes more than the relationship) so every time I start seeing someone it’s like I’ve just learned how to flirt all over again. Nerves? My closest relationship. To help me get over my new relationship blues I have a list of fundamental reminders on how to act. They’re tailored to me but there are ten fundamentals I think anyone can benefit from:
10. Make Sure You’re Actually Ready for a Relationship
This seems like a no brainer but it really really isn’t. One of the easiest traps is thinking you’re attracted to someone when you’re really just attracted to the idea of being with someone. I get it. When I’m watching movies I’m thinking about how nice it would be to cuddle up against someone right now but that means that someone could be anyone. You don’t need to put someone in the position of thinking you’re interested when you’re really interested in what areas of your life you think are lacking.
9. Forget about the Past
It’s true that history makes us who we are but there’s a time and place. Until you feel comfortable with your past staying in the past you’re not ready to see someone else. One of the worst dates I’ve ever been on was me listening to someone compare our outing to their past relationship. How she liked her salad this way or how she tucked her hair in juxtaposition to me.
Don’t make problems when they don’t exist — this new person is someone else and not your ex. If you liked them enough to go on a date with them then you should treat them as someone you’re willing to trust.
8. Don’t Get Stuck Online
Texting someone is a great way to get to know someone but meeting them is so much better. I know it’s hard times right now but there’s better ways than keeping your relationship in the DMs. Calling someone or video chatting, while not as great as meeting face to face, is still infinitely better than simply texting someone. You need to really suss out whether or not you get along with whomever you’re seeing. You can meet the most perfect person and just not be attracted to them. Getting to know them face to face helps you get around that.
7. Expectations and Limitations
You don’t need to send them a PowerPoint presentation about everything that could go wrong but you need to be honest about when something is going wrong. I get it, it’s easy to ignore short comings when you meet someone because you don’t want to waste a chance. But ask yourself, is it the same sort of energy as not liking the same food or actually sacrificing bits of yourself to please the other person? I’ve been that person who’s ignored behavior at first because it wasn’t a big deal and then it festers and escalates until everything is a “bitch eating crackers” moment.
6. Let’s Talk About Sex Baby
If you’re not ready you’re not ready. Hard stop. Don’t compromise consent ever. If they don’t care or make excuses they’re not worth it. No amount of gas lighting should make you put yourself in a vulnerable enough state to have sex. This isn’t a close your eyes and imagine moment, you’re in this together.
That’s all to say if you are ready then you both need to be on the same page. You can be subtle, give them hints and let them know you’re ready or you can simply tell them you’re ready to have sex. Either way you just need to be transparent.
It doesn’t matter if it’s early in the relationship or later on as long as you both know what you’re ready for. If you’re ready and the other person isn’t, feel free to talk to them. You don’t have to close all the doors because yes, there can be anxiety holding you or your partner back. I often hear that as a rebuttal about why you don’t need to communicate about sex — that there’s an underlying issue that has nothing to do with the partner. Okay, but that means you should both talk about it and figure out how to resolve the issue until you’re both comfortable.
5. Really Get to Know Someone
Don’t compromise on the big things. I know everyone says you need to do this and I understand why they tell you that but let me explain what I mean. It takes a long time to get to know someone, like properly know someone. Think of your friendships that have gotten you this far, they’re the ones that have come a long way. Even my newer relationship are the results of long conversations. I can stay on the phone for hours with someone if I’m vibing with them. The same thing with a potential partner, I don’t hide things about myself, even when we disagree, I want them to know who I am and who I represent. This isn’t just about limitations this is about simply being honest. It’s scary to tell the truth and your whole truth but if you really like someone and you want to spend time with them let it start off honestly and truthfully.
4. Red Flags Don’t go Away
You ever tell your best friend something about your partner and have them question whether or not they have your best interest in mind? Hopefully not. But if you have you probably remember the shame when you realized your friend was right. It’s not something to be shameful about — when you’re a victim you’re a victim. It doesn’t matter what steps you took — the fundamental problem in an abusive relationship is that someone set out to hurt you. That’s it, period.
And although it’s impossible to tell every time someone sets out to hurt you you need to be aware of the things you think are not okay. Talk to your partner if you think their behavior isn’t right and if you still feel unsure reach out to someone else who can give you a neutral perspective. If your partner explains all the shitty things they’ve done but their reasons aren’t sound then don’t accept it. You don’t have to. Your priority is you.
Remember What Being in a Relationship is All About
3. You’re in a Relationship not Starting a New Life
Don’t ignore the people around you. It’s not just red flags or dangers, it’s about remembering who you are. The honeymoon phase is great but you’re still your own person. Don’t cancel dinner plans with friends just because you have someone new in your life. Make time for both. If you know you’re supposed to see someone you haven’t seen in months it’s a real slap in the face to cancel because your new s/o wants to get tacos. Don’t stop seeing the people you regularly see or messaging your old friends just because something new and shiny came into your life.
2. Don’t be Possessive
No one owes you time, ever. Except if they’ve paid you and you agreed to hang out with them I guess. But other than that, no one owes you time. So don’t blow up your partner’s phone. If they didn’t see your message in the morning maybe they’ll see it in the evening. Everyone has lives and sometimes those lives take up a large part of someone’s time. I can’t always look at my phone when I’m working — especially if it’s something big so I don’t get back to people for hours on end. That doesn’t mean I’m being cold or dismissive it just means I have things I need to do. If you think you really need an answer then yeah, message them at night but don’t get upset about it. If you’re worried you’ll be ghosted just relax. Message them tomorrow but don’t blow up their phone. Just say ‘hey, is everything okay. I missed you yesterday.’
1. Enjoy Yourself
Your learning to develop and grow with someone new. It’s fun, it’s different and pleasurable. Take time to enjoy it. Don’t stress over what you’re wearing or how to act. If they like you they like you. It’s okay to have some mishaps, you can laugh about how you forgot a tag on your shirt one day or how you said grool instead of great or cool. You want to try new things together or do different things you enjoy. You’re learning to be with someone just as much as they’re learning to be with you. People may want and wait for that special someone but there are no guarantees. Just let yourself go and have fun. You can report back later about whether or not your partner is the one you want to keep growing with.