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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner y’all. Its time to talk about what needs to be done before you get into it with your new boo!

1. Set your boundaries

Rule of thumb, this is the most important rule. However, this is the rule that is talked about the least (seriously, I wish I learned this before I ever dated). Never let anyone, especially a partner, do things you are not comfortable with. Make it clear what your boundaries are before you get involved with someone. Let it be known if there are any triggers you may have (if you’re comfortable), expectations you have for the relationship, and make sure the both of you are on the same page. If there is a fear that your partner may not approve of your boundaries, then that is a sign that you should not be with that person. Period.

2. Communication is key

This is a no brainer: you have to communicate with each other. Establishing and making it known what the needs for the relationship are makes it easier for both parties. Additionally, talking about possible issues is so helpful for the relationship. According to Suppression Sours Sacrifice: Emotional and Relational Costs of Suppressing Emotions in Romantic Relationships, bottling up resentments and holding onto small things can cause the happiness in the relationship and in yourself decline. This goes deeper than problem solving in your relationship: it is understanding each other on a deeper level. Communication affects the way partners interact with each other, the sex life, and the overall mental health of the relationship.

In other words, drop the ego. Suck it up and just chat it out! The silent treatment is so dead.

3. Space is necessary

Puppy love is cute and all, but you need a balance. Your partner should not be the only priority and the person that is the center of your universe. It can become very overwhelming and isolating when someone is taking up all of your time. Or more specifically, it can be an intense feeling when you accidentally suffocate your partner. It is so easy to lose yourself when you’re infatuated with someone, but it is so important to remember who you are, who you were before, and remember people need time apart in order to keep things healthy.

Also, stop with the sharing of social media passwords or phone passwords (unless it is consensual). People need to live their own lives and if you cannot trust your partner, then that relationship needs to be evaluated. Its okay to not trust others with your relationship but your partner? That is a different story. You must be with someone you feel comfortable with.

Do not freak out if your partner does not respond to your text throughout the day or send you a snap right after you respond. Its is okay guys, BREATHE.

4. learn about love languages

This is something I think people tend to overlook A LOT. Everyone has these two things when it comes to love languages: there is one people like to receive and there is one that they use to express their love for someone. Sometimes people have more than one love language when its comes to giving and receiving. They can be the same as the giving and receiving as well.

For example, lets say the love language I like to receive (the one I expect from my partner) are words of affirmation and genuine quality time. Lets also say that the love language I would give to my partner can be gift giving and words of affirmation, once again. These acts of affection are important in a relationship.

It is so important to have a conversation with your partner about what do they expect from you as a partner and vice versa. If there are conflicting love languages, there is always a way to compromise so the relationship is not overwhelming (or underwhelming).

5. understand the 50/50 and the 40/60 rule

Not familiar with this one? It’s kind of new if you ask me. Through my own experience in relationships, there needs to be a balance. This rule is mainly for the spontaneity in the relationship. Sometimes you and your partner need to give and receive the same amount of energy in a relationship, and sometimes someone needs to take a step back. The concept of 50/50 is great of course and each member in a relationship does need time to show that they are on the same page. But, in order to make things exciting, sometimes someone needs to take more initiative.

This is great for making both parties to feel validated because, let’s be honest: it feels good when our significant other takes the time to plan a night out or a romantic evening. Just have this conversation and let the surprises begin!

6. there is a difference between secrecy and privacy

I’ve been a victim of chronic DBD (if you know, you know) and I had to unfortunately learned this the hard way. In a day and age in which social media plays a large role in how we view relationships, this rule can be confusing for many. The difference between the two is simple. Keep in mind that these may not necessarily be accurate for every relationships due to circumstances (strict parents, fear of harm from loved ones, ect).

Partners who are trying to keep you a secret will be minimal when it comes to your relationship. They will not bring you around their friends and family and they probably won’t mention you to them. They might even tell you to not post them or mention them on social media.

Partners who are private about their love life are different. They’ll post about the relationship here or there (sometimes on private stories), but ultimately will not hide the fact you two are together. Family and friends will certainly know about you. Do not let the fact an individual does not post you all the time affect how the value is presented in a relationship. But if someone refuses to do anything because of the excuse of “I do not use social media” but is on it, take it with a grain of salt.

Not to say posting your significant other is a bad thing, but it should not be the thing that defines your relationship. However, do not be a fool when someone does not post, because it can mean so many different things depending on the circumstances.

Relationships need to earn trusting members, and the only way to do that is if there is clear communication.

At the end of the day

Please, do not forget the most important rule: Be yourself and protect it! Love is such a strange yet wonderful thing, it can truly change the way we view the world. Remember to be kind on yourself, work on yourself, and ultimately allow yourself to understand what is it that you want.

Always remember, have fun and stay safe!

Sources

Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., English, T., John, O., Oveis, C., Gordon, A. M., & Keltner, D. (2012). Suppression Sours Sacrifice: Emotional and Relational Costs of Suppressing Emotions in Romantic Relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(6), 707–720. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212437249

Christina (Chrissy) is an independent social media analyst in the Pilsen and Little Italy area of Chicago. She specializes in helping small BIPOC businesses and community organizations improve their brand image through media platforms such as Tiktok and Instagram. She's a first generation college student and is currently a Senior at UIC studying Communication and minoring in Public Health. She is planning to graduate in the Fall of 2022!
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