You’ve met someone!
I bet he’s gorgeous and amazing and treats you like a queen.
Now you’re wondering how to keep this new relationship in tip-top shape, so you don’t sabotage this great thing you’ve got going!
The beginning of a new relationship is so exciting and so fun and so nerve-wracking…
Because you don’t know what’s going to happen and you’re really, REALLY hoping this guy is the one.
Luckily, if you follow these 3 tips, you’ll set your relationship up for success. 🙂
Tip #1. Slow things down.
So you’ve started a new relationship, and it feels AMAAAAAAZING.
The first tip I have for you is probably the last thing you want to hear…
Slow it down!
If you talk to married couples and ask them what it was like back when they’d just started dating, they get this wistful look on their face.
They look back on that time as one of such fun, when they didn’t have the whole weight of the world on their shoulders.
Which makes it ironic that so many of us can’t wait to dive into marriage and family and a home. We want to get that dating phase OVER with so we can start our lives together!
But once you’re married, that’s IT.
You’ve got responsibilities. You squabble. You take each other for granted.
And you look with longing back on that time when you were just getting to know each other and everything was so new.
So, if there’s just one piece of advice you take away from this, it’s to linger on this stage. Don’t be in such a hurry to go to the next step.
You’re making memories right now. If you’re still together in 50 years, you’ll look back on this time and wish it lasted longer.
Tip #2. Don’t freak out when things start to change.
Dr. Jed Diamond has a great phrase.
He says you have to “learn to be happy without denying reality.”
Reality can feel like the enemy to a new relationship. You want to stay in this fantasy forever. You don’t want reality to intrude.
But if being happy requires ignoring what’s really going on in your relationship, then you don’t have much a future with him.
Look, every new relationship feels amazing. It feels brand new and full of possibilities. It feels like it’s going to last forever.
That’s why it’s called the honeymoon phase.
The magic is real, but it doesn’t last.
This man you think he is? It’s not who he really is.
He’s on his best behavior right now. He wants to impress you.
And you’re projecting a lot of your own dreams and fantasies onto him.
It’s like you’re both actors in a play. You’re completely immersed in the characters you’re playing.
But at some point you’ll run out of lines, and the lights will come on, and you’ll look around and realize that the magic was actually in your imagination. Reality looks rather dingy and shabby.
And that’s OKAY.
That’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen.
This is your invitation to advance to the next stage of relationship:
The reality check.
The reality check is when you move from the FANTASY of a life with him to the REALITY of life with him.
Right now, you don’t really know him. (If you think he’s perfect, then you REALLY don’t know him.) People reveal themselves to us over time. Sometimes it can take years before you really get a handle on someone.
Be prepared to find out things you don’t like. Be prepared for the magic to fade.
None of that means your relationship is over. It just means you’re being invited to take it to the next level.
Tip #3. Adapt your relationship to your life.
(Not your life to your relationship.)
When you fall in love, you want to spend all of your free time together.
He’s all you can think about. He’s all you want.
Why would you waste time on hobbies or girls nights when you could be doing something with him?
But here’s the thing…
We know that one reason men pull back from relationships is because they feel overwhelmed. The relationship starts taking over their life.
And most men—heck, most WOMEN!—have a life that they like.
They want to add a relationship TO it… not erase their old life and replace it with a different one.
The life you had before him is valuable. It’s filled with things that reflect you who are. Don’t lose it.
Take time every week just for yourself.
See your girlfriends. Call your family. Do those things that you love to do and he hates. Even if it’s not as exciting as being with him!
Give him the opportunity to MISS you.
Because he’s probably thinking the same thing as you: whatever he’s doing would be so much more fun if only you were there.
It’s one of those counterintuitive things about relationships:
Time apart boosts desire, while spending all your free time together drains it.
In a lot of ways, what I’m asking you to do is to go against your natural instincts.
You WANT to be together 24-7. You WANT to jump ahead to a life together. You WANT to believe it will be this good forever.
And you can certainly follow those instincts. This is your life.
But most relationships never make it. The flame burns out.
Why not try something different this time?
Why not try feeding the flame, and focusing on keeping it burning steadily, before adding huge logs to the fire and risk cutting off its air?
And when you’re still together a few years down the road, and you look back on this time, you’ll be glad you handled it like you did.
You paced yourself. You didn’t let your relationship with him take over your life. You learned to be happy without denying reality.
It’s like that saying: love is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you want to finish the race, you’ve got to keep your eye on the future.