Jumping into a new relationship can be one of the scariest experiences in life, especially after being single for such a long time. It’s easy to get comfortable with being single. You can practically do whatever you want without thinking too much about what your significant other or might think or act. There’s so much freedom that comes with being single and it seems scary to start something that can change that. If you’re afraid or are having millions of doubts about starting a new relationship, trust me, you’re not the only one. Fortunately, here are a few tips and reminders that can help diminish your fears and prepare you for the ride of your life!Pace Yourself
There is absolutely no rush to get into a relationship! If you feel like you’re not ready, that is completely okay. A romantic relationship is a significant part of your life that can affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally, so try not to be hasty about that decision. Once you feel ready enough to embark on this new journey, remember that there is no hard deadline when things should be said or done. So, unless you’re 100% sure, hold off on that “I love you” or even having sex. Your S.O. should understand and respect your time and space, and you should never feel pressured to say or do anything. Keep a steady pace, you’ve got nothing but time.
If you do feel any kind of pressure to do things faster than you’d like to, ask yourself why you feel this way. If it’s coming from friends or family members, try to express to them that you are simply doing what makes you comfortable. Everyone is different and everyone goes at their own pace. If they don’t understand, that’s okay, they don’t have to! But, be sure to stand your ground. The only thing that matters is that you’re content with the flow of your relationship. If the pressure is coming from your S.O., don’t be afraid to talk to them about it. Simply having a conversation can go a long way, so be sure to express your honest thoughts and feelings. If your partner(s) still refuses to listen, that might be a red flag. Anyone who wants to be in a relationship with you should be more than willing to respect your wishes.
Learn to communicate EVERYTHING
If you’ve been single for a long time, you’re probably not used to having to share so many details with one person. Sometimes, being candid with a person can make you feel vulnerable. But I promise you being completely open with your SO is probably the most significant key to a happy relationship. Be honest about everything, even things you might think are small. Tell them what bothers you, what makes you happy, what’s on your mind, your fears, your strengths & weaknesses, and more. Once you allow yourself to be transparent with your partner(s), they will most likely be open with you.
If vulnerability makes you uncomfortable in any way, you are definitely not alone. I’ve been single for my entire life up until about three weeks ago. One thing I learned about myself is that I am deathly afraid of making myself seem weak or fragile. Although I’ve known my boyfriend since elementary school, my feelings for him have changed so I sometimes feel like I can’t show him all aspects of myself out of fear of him seeing me in a different, less flattering light. The only way I could eradicate that fear is by remembering the simple fact that we were friends first, and he already knows who I am and has seen all of me, and he STILL likes me. I mean if he’s not running away by now, chances are he’s in it to win it. Also, I needed to learn that vulnerability does not make me weak. In fact, being vulnerable simply means that I am strong enough to let my guard down and let someone else in, which takes more courage than anything else. So, never be afraid of being genuine with someone you like. If you communicate and are open with your SO from the beginning, they will decide if they’re willing to accept all of you and start a relationship.
Always Take Care of Yourself First
Self care is and always will be super important! Just because you’re in a relationship, that doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about yourself. When jumping into this relationship, you might feel like things are no longer about you and that you have to be more considerate of someone else. Yes, you should be mindful of your S.O. but that doesn’t mean you have to completely neglect your wants and needs. You always come first! You can’t have a healthy relationship if you are are not healthy. So, remember to prioritize yourself in any circumstances, and that doing so doesn’t make you selfish! You’re simply showing yourself love and, in turn, preparing yourself to genuinely love someone else.
You Are Still YOU!
Most people think that being in a relationship means you have to give up part of yourself for your significant other. WRONG! You must maintain your individuality! You cannot completely sacrifice your hobbies, other relationships, or your own beliefs to meet the needs of someone else. The two (or more) of you should bring all of yourselves to the table and learn to accept each other and grow together. If change does occur, make sure it is for the better instead of becoming a completely different person for the sake of another. Penn State University freshman Erica Morse states that “[a relationship] shouldn’t be 50/50.” In other words, it should be all parties bringing 100% of themselves to create a healthy relationship.
If you get to a point when you don’t feel like yourself anymore, take a step back and give yourself some time to reset. Take a few personal days, do the things that you love, and remind yourself of who you are. Once you’re ready, talk to your S.O. and try to share the activities you enjoy with them. Let them become apart of your life so you never feel like you have to completely ignore the qualities that make you who you are.