“What is some advice for my first relationship?”
Love, sex, connection, and friendship are among the best experiences life can offer. Enjoy them all fully.
Here are a few tips from my own experiences…
Watch your expectations carefully.
This is where we all get stupid, and get hurt.
We expect relationships to last forever. We expect to feel the same way forever. We expect the other person will too. We expect the relationship is “going somewhere.”
Those types of fantasies will crush you if things don’t go the way you want.
Keep things balanced.
If either of you are giving far, far more to the relationship than the other is, talk about it.
You can invest in different ways, but it has to be balanced, or expectations and resentment will grow like weeds.
Don’t lose yourself.
In a relationship, a lot of people switch their thinking from "I" to "we."
"We" is important, but it can never become your whole world, or you will lose your sense of who you are as an individual. Remember, that’s who your partner fell for- never lose yourself.
Keep growing as an individual while separately building your relationship, and encourage your partner to grow too.
Relationships are about more than love and sex, and building a life together. They're about making two individuals the best they can be.
Life is unpredictable, and people change.
No matter what happens for the two of you, or your relationship, your goal should be to make certain that both of you are better, happier people than when the relationship began.
Don’t expect your partner to be everything.
Let them give you what they can, and what they want to.
A romantic relationship does not mean that this person MUST also be your best friend, therapist, running buddy, chess partner, etc. You might get some of those too, be careful not to pressure your partner about this.
It's important to have friends outside of the relationship, and those friends fill those gaps in what you need. This keeps your social world complete, and takes a lot of pressure off your partner too.
Communicate your plans for the future.
A good romantic relationship is based on a few simple things- friendship, romantic connection, attraction, sexual connection, enjoyment of each other, the ability to spend time together, and trust.
Those are the foundation of a romantic relationship - and nothing else.
If you’re wanting more than that- perhaps marriage, children, and a house - then the list grows substantially.
Suddenly there are new important things you need from your partner, like;
- shared values,
- the ability to commit,
- the desire to live together,
- the desire to have ( or to not have ) children,
- compatible religious views,
- similar lifestyle,
- parenting approach,
- career commitment,
- financial goals…
It even matters that your families like each other.
It is important to know what you want, and discuss that with your partner. You need to know what they want too. If you haven't been open about your goals and expectations, you may both be in for a surprise.
A relationship is about making two people's lives better, and it enables both of them to accomplish things that they can not accomplish easily alone.
Before you lock yourselves in the car together, make sure you're headed for the same destination.
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