How to Be in a Relationship for the First Time

Getting into a serious relationship is so exciting, but we know it can be a little nerve-wracking if you haven’t been in one before. When it’s your first time dating someone, it sometimes feels a bit tricky to know exactly what you should do or say. If you want to build a loving and lasting connection with your partner, we have you covered. Keep reading for some general advice to strengthen the bond with your partner and ways to keep your relationship the most fun and exciting!

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Try new things together.

  1. Make some exciting memories together so you keep growing together. You might get bored of doing the same thing every time you hang out with your partner, so find new opportunities to keep things interesting. Look for activities that neither of you has done before and give them a chance. Enjoy your time together as you learn and experience it for the first time. Some things you can do include:[1]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 1.jpg
    • Visiting a museum
    • Cooking a new recipe
    • Taking an art class
    • Learning to dance

[Edit]Surprise them with a gift.

  1. This lets your partner know that you were thinking about them. Whenever you stop at the store, pick up something that reminds you of your partner. You could buy their favorite candy, a magazine they always read, or even something they’ve said they wanted for a while. The next time you see them, give them the gift and let them know it was just because you were thinking of them.[2]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 2.jpg
    • Don’t buy gifts only because you expect to get some in return.
    • Buy a few things during a single trip and keep them hidden away. The next time your partner has a bad day, you’ll have a gift ready for them so they can cheer up.

[Edit]Give them compliments.

  1. Brighten their day by saying what you admire about them. Everyone loves to hear compliments, so get used to saying a few to your partner every day so they feel loved. Start with a phrase like “I love” or “I value” to show your appreciation. Say a specific quality about your partner that’s genuine and positive so they know how you feel about them.[3]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 3.jpg
    • For example, you could say something like, “I love getting lost in your eyes.”
    • Compliments can be about characteristics as well. For example, you might say, “I appreciate how understanding you are.”

[Edit]Plan some fun dates.

  1. Keep your connection strong by going out and spending time with each other. Try to plan at least one date night a week so you can get out of the house and do something fun together, and take turns planning dates so you both have the opportunity to pick some fun activities. There are so many options you can do, but a few fun date ideas you can try include:[4]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 4.jpg
    • Having a picnic at a park
    • Spending the day at the beach
    • Seeing a movie
    • Visiting a zoo
    • Going ice skating
    • Pretending you’re a tourist in your town and visiting all the small shops
    • Taking a walk in a scenic spot[5]
    • Going to a farmer’s market[6]

[Edit]Build up your physical intimacy.

  1. Showing your affection makes your bond so much stronger. As you get more comfortable with your partner, you’ll probably want to feel even closer to them. Take it slow at first and don’t feel pressured to go right into something like sex. When the time feels right, try holding their hand, snuggling up against them, giving them a big hug, or kissing them to show just how much you care![7]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 5.jpg
    • Rushing into sex or things you’re not comfortable with could have a negative impact on your intimacy later on.[8]
    • Always respect your partner’s boundaries. If there’s something they don’t like or don’t want to do, such as public displays of affection, listen to them and avoid doing it.

[Edit]Communicate openly and honestly.

  1. Having deep talks builds a stronger connection and prevents misunderstandings. You can’t grow closer to someone if you don’t let them get to know you more. Make some time every day to chat and catch up about your days. Let your partner know what’s going on in your life and listen to them without interrupting while they talk with you. Don’t be afraid to open up about your hobbies, childhood, or life since it shows your partner you’re comfortable around them.[9]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 6.jpg
    • It can be really hard to admit when you aren’t happy something with something in the relationship, but talking about it is an important step to working through it as a couple.[10]
    • Remember that your partner isn’t a mind reader. They won’t know what you’re thinking or feeling for sure until you say something.
    • If you do have to bring up a problem to your partner, try telling them what you think would fix it, as well. Then, you can listen to their ideas about how to work through it.[11]

[Edit]Treat them how you’d want to be treated.

  1. Only doing what one person wants could lead to a controlling relationship. Show your partner respect and they’ll want to do the same for you. Invest your time equally between what you want to do and what your partner wants to do so it stays balanced. Even though you may not want to do everything that they want to, find a way to compromise so you both feel satisfied.[12]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 7.jpg
    • For example, you might take turns picking what movies you watch so it doesn’t feel one-sided.
    • Look at things from your partner’s perspective so you can understand how they’re feeling better.

[Edit]Celebrate their achievements.

  1. You and your partner feel happier when you get excited together. Whenever your partner succeeds, sincerely congratulate them and get pumped up with them. Do everything you can to keep the excitement alive and to make the rest of the day great, like going out to eat or watching their favorite movie.[13]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 8.jpg
    • For example, if your partner did well on a test they were nervous about, you could say something like, “Honey that’s so awesome! You worked so hard and I’m so proud of you. Should we get some dinner to celebrate?”
    • Couples that celebrate together are less likely to fight and have more satisfying relationships.

[Edit]Be supportive of your partner.

  1. Show that you care for them even when they’re struggling. Just like you should celebrate during happy moments, be present when your partner’s having a bad day. Offer to listen to them if they need to vent, talk through how to manage a situation, or just be a shoulder for them to cry on. You don’t need to solve the problems they’re having, but you should at least still be there for them.[14]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 9.jpg
    • Think about what you’d want from your partner if you were going through a tough situation so you can do the same.

[Edit]Apologize when you’re wrong.

  1. You’ll build more trust and respect when you recognize the issue. Everyone makes mistakes, but you still have to take responsibility for them. Whenever you realize you said something wrong or hurtful to your partner, apologize to them. Be genuine as you let your partner know that you did something wrong and ask for their forgiveness.[15]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 10.jpg
    • For example, if you got into a heated argument, you could say, “I realize I was acting defensive when you were trying to talk to me earlier, and I’m so sorry. I should have just listened without interrupting. Can you forgive me?”

[Edit]Work through any conflicts together.

  1. Communicate your issues so you can learn and move on from them. Disagreements are normal in a relationship, so don’t get worried if there are some harder conversations. Take a breather to collect thoughts before talking it out. Clearly explain how you’re feeling and what made you feel that way. Give your full attention to your partner as they explain their side of it as well. Discuss some possible solutions to the problem that you can both agree on so you know what to do moving forward.[16]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 11.jpg
    • Use “I” statements when you’re talking through an issue so you don’t shift the blame. For example, say, “I feel lonely because I don’t have a lot of time to see you during the week,” instead of, “You always spend time with friends instead of me.”
    • Only focus on the current issue rather than talking about a lot of things at once.

[Edit]Say “I love you” when you’re ready.

  1. Show that you’re caring and committed, but only when you’re sure of it. There’s never a “right” time to say those 3 words in a relationship, but ask yourself if it’s what you’re truly feeling. If you really do admire and love your partner, tell them face-to-face the first time so it’s the most meaningful. We know that it’s a little scary expressing your feelings, so it’s okay to wait until you think your partner will say it back, but you might just feel better letting it out.[17]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 12.jpg
    • Don’t get discouraged if your partner doesn’t say it back immediately. They might just need a little more time to feel the same way.
    • Wait until you’re in the relationship for at least a few weeks before saying “I love you,” since saying it too early could sound clingy or creepy.

[Edit]Keep being yourself.

  1. You shouldn’t have to change who you are for the other person. You had your own life and goals before you started dating, so keep pursuing the things you wanted. Give yourself a few minutes every day to reflect on how you’re feeling and what you want to achieve. Take care of your needs completely, and don’t be afraid to talk about them with your partner so they can help out any way they can.[18]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 13.jpg
    • You only need to do things that you want to do, so don’t feel pressured into a decision by your partner if it’s something you don’t agree with.

[Edit]Make time for friends and hobbies.

  1. Split your time so you don’t feel burnt out on the relationship. Even though you may want to spend every minute with your partner, you still have to maintain your other friendships. Keep plans that you made with your friends and set aside some “me-time” so you can get some space to be alone too. Try to devote about 50% of your free time to see your partner, 30% to hang out with friends, and about 20% to be on your own.[19]
    Be in a Relationship for the First Time Step 14.jpg
    • Try to make friends with your partner’s friends, too! When they’re around, strike up conversations with them to find out what you have in common and just be generally friendly and open with them.[20]
    • If your partner gets angry or jealous that you’re hanging out with other people, then it could be a warning sign of an unhealthy relationship.

[Edit]Tips

  • It’s completely normal to feel a little stressed or anxious when you’re in a new relationship. Take a step back and think about why you’re feeling that way so you can talk it through with your partner.[21]

[Edit]Warnings

  • Watch out for signs of an unhealthy relationship, such as your partner trying to control you, blaming you for things, or bullying you.[22]

[Edit]References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-you-and-me/201204/four-ways-keep-your-relationship-alive
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-fitness/201010/10-ways-make-your-relationship-magically-romantic
  3. https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-give-a-powerful-compliment#1
  4. https://www.apa.org/topics/marriage/healthy-relationships
  5. [v161253_b01]. 24 January 2020.
  6. [v161253_b01]. 24 January 2020.
  7. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/relationships-creating-intimacy
  8. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/the-dos-and-donts-of-new-relationships
  9. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/building-healthy-relationships
  10. [v161253_b01]. 24 January 2020.
  11. [v161253_b01]. 24 January 2020.
  12. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/love.html
  13. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-you-and-me/201204/four-ways-keep-your-relationship-alive
  14. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/love.html
  15. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/what-do-after-fight-your-partner-according-relationship-coach-ncna965946
  16. https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling/self_care/healthy_relationships/10_tips_for_health_realtionships
  17. https://www.insider.com/when-to-say-i-love-you-for-the-first-time-to-someone-2018-4
  18. https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-ways-you-can-have-a-healthy-relationship-with-yourself#2
  19. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/the-dos-and-donts-of-new-relationships
  20. [v161253_b01]. 24 January 2020.
  21. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/good-news-relationship-anxiety-normal-ncna807466
  22. https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/communicating-relationships/romantic-relationships/respectful-relationships-for-teens
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