One of the most fun, and fragile, times in a relationship is when it’s new. Not “new” in the sense of a first or second date, but “new” in the sense of getting to a point and place where both of you have realized that you like each other enough to start seriously dating—and you’re ready to build from there.
In order to make the transition from casually dating to exclusively seeing one another as smooth as possible, make sure to do the following things.
1. Establish a title
Although some people don’t want to put the pressure on themselves by putting a title on their relationship, there is a benefit that comes with doing so. When you meet someone with “Dr.” in front of their name, you know that they have a certain amount of expertise; you know what to expect. The same thing applies to “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”. It helps you to know what you and yours are doing. It also sends a message to others about the kind of boundaries that need to be respected too.
2. Date regularly
Casual, by definition, means something that doesn’t have a clear purpose. But when you’re in a relationship, there now is one. This means that when it comes to dating, the consistency needs to pick up a bit. Why? Because the purpose is to spend more time together in order to get to know one another. Better.
3. Communicate consistently
Hopefully, both of you have lives. This means that it’s not reasonable (or even healthy or recommended) every hour on the hour. But if the two of you go days without so much as a text, why? A new relationship needs attention, consistently so. Make sure to make time.
4. Talk about expectations
Some people find themselves unnecessarily frustrated in their relationships, not because they are incompatible but because expectations are not being met. And oftentimes that’s the case because they were never shared in the first place. There’s no time like the present to share what you both want and need in order to feel good about where the two of you are going. So on the next date, make that a part of the agenda.
5. Find out each other’s favorite things
A part of being in a relationship is about learning things about one another. One of these things should definitely be what you like/love. Chocolate ice cream? Pink nail polish? Mocha lattes? And what does he like? Ralph Lauren shirts? Rap music? Baseball games? The more you know, the more you both can work to nurture the relationship.
6. Set boundaries
All relationships need boundaries in order to be healthy. After talking about expectations, this is the next thing that should go on the list.
7. Tell close friends
You might not want to tell the entire world about your relationship just yet, but do at least share it with your closest friends. And not too long after, make the time for them to meet your new man. You’ll need their insight, support, encouragement and also advice during the challenging times (and all relationships have those).
8. Wait…before talking about it online
On the other hand, you might want to pump your brakes a bit when it comes to announcing it to the world on your social media accounts. Although it would be awesome if everyone had y’all’s best interest at heart, not always will that be the case. Your ex, his ex…just make sure that the two of you have a really solid footing when it comes to loyalty and trust before comments start pouring in.
9. Jot down each other’s birthdays
Birthdays are big deals. Make sure you both are aware of when each other’s is.
10. Let your ex know
Your ex. If your relationship ended badly, you probably can skip this step. But if it ended pretty amicably, it’s a good idea to give him a heads up. One, to let him know that your heart is a good place. Two, to let him know that if he was planning on making another play for it—now is not the time.
11. Pump the brakes on sex
Sex triggers a hormone in people known as oxytocin. It is created to make people bond. So, if you have sex too early within your relationship, it could cause you to think that you’re “more in love” than you might think or your mind or emotions are ready for. Right now. Plus, sex has been known to complicate many situations. It’s awesome BUT there is plenty of time to be having it. Pump the brakes before taking that wild ride.
12. Avoiding making comparisons to other people
It’s both tacky and counterproductive to compare each other or even your relationship to others. Yours is special and unique. Treat it as such by not using some sort of measuring stick.
13. Make some (future) plans
Fail to plan, plan to fail, right? Everything, including relationships, needs goals in order to keep moving forward. Yes, this includes plans for dates but also where you’d like to see your relationship heading in six months to a year. These types of conversations don’t need to happen all of the time. A couple of times a year should be sufficient.
14. Have fun!!!
One of the reasons why the best relationships form out of friendships is because friendships are a lot of fun! As you’re figuring your relationship out, don’t forget to laugh a lot—and to create the kind of atmosphere for joy, happiness and pleasure.
15. Take it one day at a time
Taking things one day at a time is one of the best ways to keep pressure from consuming you. So make sure that you and yours make an agreement to do just that.