There are many levels to creating a solid new relationship, but one of the most important things to do when dating is to keep an open mind.
You’re getting to know someone new, and it’s important to remember two critical things.
First, not everything will be perfect right away. It takes time to get to know someone, and there will be bumps along the way.
You’re both learning about each other. It’s important to give each other the benefit of the doubt and not make assumptions based on past experiences.
Second, everything may appear perfect. You wonder where this person has been all my life.
Leaning in too fast to this feeling can lead to disaster since it’s likely a mask to hide underlying issues.
It’s essential to take things slow, get to know each other on a deep level, and build a foundation of trust before diving into a new relationship headfirst.
Doing these things will help create a strong, lasting relationship with someone special.
We’ll dive into multiple levels of things you should do in a relationship, starting with you, then the both of you, and lastly, things to do to determine if the relationship has long-term potential.
What you should do
How do you know if the other person is good for you if you don’t have specific questions answered.
Be honest with yourself and stay realistic as possible.
Unrealistic expectations of getting someone out of your league will cause you to miss unforgettable moments with amazing people who are actually good for you.
Take out a pen, write these things down, and get real about your new or next relationship.
What do you want in a relationship?
Think about your past relationship wins and failures, how you grew up and what you see and experience with your peers.
Get a realistic idea of what you want, so you can start looking for those qualities in a partner.
What are your relationship deal-breakers?
Be honest with yourself about things you will not put up with in a relationship, such as infidelity, lying, abuse, or being disrespected.
No matter how perfect someone seems, it’s not worth it if they don’t meet your standards or respect your deal-breakers.
What are you looking for in a partner?
Be as specific as possible when thinking and writing about the qualities you want in a partner.
The more specific you are will help you discover what a healthy relationship will look like for you.
What are your relationship ideals?
Ideals are things you would love to have in a relationship but can live without.
For example, traveling together, sharing the same religious beliefs, or having common interests.
In the early stages of a relationship, all of these things may not be obvious, but knowing these things can help you decide if the person you’re dating is right for you.
What are your relationship goals?
Goals are what you want to achieve in a relationship, such as getting married, having kids, or buying a house together.
Some people want all of these things, while others may not want any of them.
Either is fine, but you need to figure out what you want before getting serious with someone.
What are your relationship values?
Values are the things that are important to you in a relationship, such as trust, communication, or physical touch.
These can be different for everyone, but it’s important to know what yours are so you can find someone who feels the same way about your values.
What are your communication needs?
Some people need more communication than others in a relationship.
You need to figure out how much communication you need and find someone willing to meet those needs.
If you’re someone who needs a lot of communication, dating someone who isn’t as communicative can lead to frustration and misunderstandings.
What are your physical needs?
Physical needs are what you need from a partner to feel physically fulfilled in a relationship.
This can include anything from sexual needs to needing affection.
Again, it’s important to find someone willing to meet those needs.
If you’re someone who needs a lot of physical contact, like hugs or kisses, dating someone who isn’t as affectionate can lead to frustration.
What are your emotional needs?
Emotional needs are what you need from a partner to feel emotionally fulfilled in a relationship.
This can include anything from needing support during tough times to needing someone to listen to you.
Emotional pain is sticky, so you want someone that compliments your emotional needs.
What are your spiritual needs?
This is another one that may take some time to realize in a new partner, but you must clearly understand what is important to you.
Spiritual needs are often personal and unique, so it’s important to find someone who meets those needs.
What are the dos and don’ts for when you start dating?
Now that you understand the things that are important to you in a relationship, it’s time to put them into practice.
Here are some dos and don’ts for when you start dating:
Show the real you early.
Try to take off your mask as fast as you can. The earlier you show your true self, the sooner you’ll know if the other person is genuinely compatible with you.
If you wait too long, you may end up in a relationship with someone who doesn’t know you.
Be honest about your intentions.
If you’re not looking for anything serious, be upfront about it from the beginning.
The last thing you want is to lead someone on, only to break their heart later.
Remember, the goal is to qualify them as fast as possible, so if you put it all on the table tactfully early on, you save time and energy.
Don’t move too fast.
Relationships take time to develop, so don’t try to rush things.
If you move too fast, you may miss out on important aspects of the relationship that take time to develop.
Moving too fast can also lead to unrealistic expectations and missing out on other dates that could better match you.
Be open to new experiences.
Dating is all about trying new things and meeting new people.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
You never know. You may just find a new hobby or skill that you enjoy.
Have realistic expectations
You don’t want to spend your entire life looking for the perfect partner.
No one is perfect, so try to focus on finding someone who meets most of your needs and is compatible with you.
Don’t compare your current partner to your past partners or try to change them into someone they’re not.
Just enjoy the relationship for what it is.
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to settle for anyone if you’re not on the same page.
If you’re not happy with the person you’re dating, don’t stay in the relationship just because you don’t want to be alone.
It’s better to be single than to be in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship.
Do a lot of different things.
You learn a lot about someone while doing different activities together.
So, try to do a variety of things while you’re dating.
This can include anything from going on dates to hiking to cooking together.
This is the best way to pressure test your date. You’ll better understand how they handle different situations and what they’re really like.
Don’t delete your dating site.
Dating is all about meeting new people and seeing if there is a potential connection.
So, don’t close yourself off to other potential dates just because you’re seeing someone.
It’s okay to date multiple people until you find the right one as long as you are honest if it ever comes up in conversation.
Keep your options open and keep meeting new people.
Go on a first date that is true to you.
If you can’t usually afford a 5-star restaurant, don’t try to impress your date by taking them there.
You’ll only end up in debt and feeling uncomfortable when the bill comes.
Instead, go on a first date that is true to your real life and what you can afford.
That way, if your date likes you for who you are, they’ll like you no matter where you go.
Meet each other’s social circle
The right person will hang out with the right type of people.
One way to get a sense of who someone really is, meet their friends.
Hanging out with someone’s social circle will give you a better idea if they’re really compatible with you.
You don’t have to like them to the point where they will be your friends, but you want to know who their support system is.
Do your research
Before going on a date, try to find out as much as possible about the person.
This can be anything from reading their social media to doing a quick Google search.
You want to know if there are any red flags or warning signs before getting too invested in someone.
Every waking moment shouldn’t be about them.
Don’t wake up and immediately text or text them good night every night or text them multiple times throughout the day.
It’s good to show interest, but you don’t want to be too available, have low self-esteem, need validation, or seem desperate.
Take time for yourself and ensure you’re still living your life, even in a relationship.
This will keep things fresh and prevent you from getting too wrapped up in one person.
Don’t talk badly about your ex.
Don’t give away the playbook about the things from past relationships.
You are making it easier for the other person to put on a mask that will hide their true identity.
This is especially important in the early stages of dating when trying to get to know someone.
Resist the urge to badmouth your ex and keep the focus on finding someone new who is a good match for you.
Not everything should be shared over text.
Keep deeper conversations to yourself until you are in person or on the phone.
Texting is a great way to stay in touch, but it’s not the best way to get to know someone.
Texting can be misconstrued and lead to misunderstandings.
Tone, body language, eye contact, and facial expressions are all important when getting to know someone, so don’t rely on text messages alone.
You need to set boundaries in a relationship so that you know what is and isn’t acceptable.
This can be anything from how much time you spend together to how often you talk.
Boundaries are important in any relationship but critical when first dating someone.
Start how you want to finish.
Believe all the red flags.
The moment you see or hear a red flag, listen to it.
Don’t try to rationalize it or make excuses for the other person.
A red flag is a warning sign that something isn’t right, so believe it and move on.
Discuss sexual health
This is never an easy discussion, but a responsible one.
You need to know if you are on the same page when it comes to sexual health and makes sure you are taking the necessary precautions.
This is especially important if you are not exclusive with each other yet.
Don’t get so caught up in analyzing everything done or said.
Dating should be fun. If it’s not, then you’re probably with the wrong person.
Don’t be afraid to end things if it’s not working out.
Get help from the pros.
Working with a dating consultant or coach can help you identify the areas where you need improvement and give you the tools to work on them.
A professional can also help you overcome your fears and insecurities so that you can approach dating more confidently.
Final thoughts on dating in a new relationship
Dating can be fun if you go into it with the right mindset.
Keep your expectations realistic, take things slow, and don’t be afraid to end things if it’s not working out.
There’s no foolproof plan to prevent heartbreak, but if you follow these tips, listen to your gut and trust your instincts, you’ll be better off.