Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

This is your first ever relationship…how to be a girlfriend without losing your sense of self

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Purdue chapter.

So, you’re new to the whole relationship’s thing. Beginning your first ever relationship may be scary or just confusing. I remember thinking “Okay what am I supposed to do now?” right after I started my first relationship. Being single for so long can really skew your views on what a healthy relationship looks like. It can be difficult to navigate your way into a routine with your partner or establish boundaries. But this is also such a fun, new, and exciting time.

To start, (and I know this is super corny) be yourself. It’s so important to establish yourself at the beginning of the relationship because if you are not 100% authentic, you will have to constantly play a role and that can get old super-fast. I know as girls sometimes it can be tempting to play into the “chill girl” persona, but I’m telling you here and now please do not fall into this trap. You will most definitely regret it later on. Just show up as yourself because that is who your significant other chose to be in a relationship with.

Don’t play hard to get. I’m the first person to admit that sometimes games and being slightly toxic can be fun and exciting, but you are in a relationship now. You achieved your end goal of acquiring this man or woman. Stop playing games. If you keep playing hard to get once you are already in the relationship, hate to say it but you are probably going to get dumped. This just comes across as you not liking your partner and that’s no way to start a new relationship. It’s important to show your affection and move on from all the games.

Establish your boundaries. This was the hardest thing for me to do because I’m naturally not a confrontational person, but you will learn that regardless of who you are dating, boundaries are a necessity. You have to speak up when your partner does something that upsets you or makes you uncomfortable. Trust me on this one. If you don’t come out right in the beginning and speak your mind, your partner will either take advantage of that, or your negative feelings will continue to grow. It can be as simple as saying “Hey I just wanted to let you know I don’t feel comfortable with you liking other girls’ bikini pictures”. I know finding the courage to say these things can sometimes be hard, especially when you just started dating, but you got to rip that band aid off because it will continue to bug you and that will put a damper on the relationship. Don’t bend your morals and values for anyone.

Last but not least, be confident in yourself. Whoever gets to be in a relationship with you is lucky, act like it. You are worth so much and sharing that with another person can be amazing. If your partner doesn’t make you feel valued, drop him/her. Don’t settle for someone that doesn’t make you feel good. Sometimes your crush is simply not relationship material and that’s okay, but you can’t force anyone into a relationship. You shouldn’t have to push someone to be with you, they should be ecstatic at the idea of you being with them. Confidence is attractive. Don’t let anyone dim your shine. Remember you are so special and worthy of a happy and healthy relationship.

Now I by no means am telling you that you need to be in a relationship. Staying single can be extremely rewarding, important, and also so much fun. I’m such a big advocate for single life. However, as someone that avoided relationships at all costs for 19 years and finally found an amazing guy, I can tell you that being in a relationship is so special. Every relationship has its ups and downs, which is totally normal, but it’s very rewarding having a healthy balanced relationship. Having someone to share life with is one of the best feelings in the world. I hope this helped and good luck ladies!

Tori Rytell is the events director at the Purdue University chapter of Her Campus. She serves as the club treasurer as well as the events coordinator. Tori writes about a variety of topics with focuses on self-care, beauty, entertainment, and relationships. Aside from Her campus, Tori studies political science and business communications with a minor in law and society. Tori is involved in Greek life on campus. In her free time, Tori loves to take her dogs Stella and Max on long walks, watch Netflix reality TV shows or Suits, and spend quality time with her friends.