Whether you’re already married or living together or just getting to know each other, romantic relationships can be very exciting. The first relationship a person experiences can also be a great learning opportunity.
Now whether you’re thinking about getting into your first relationship with another girl or boy or you’re well experienced when it comes to romantic relationships, there are some key pointers that you can always keep in mind when it comes to love.
What makes the first year of a relationship so difficult?
The first year of romantic relationships is a difficult phase for a lot of reasons. Simply put, it is a completely new experience for the couple. In addition, it is a phase where a couple, either married or unmarried, begins to adjust to each other.
This is the phase when a person is slowly becoming a very important part of your life. It’s a period of discovery where you find out about each other’s habits (good and bad), their opinions, their family, friends, etc. This adjustment phase is what makes the first year difficult.
At what age do people have their first relationship?
The answer to this question varies from country to country and is heavily dependent on culture. According to theAmerican Pediatric Academy survey, girls start dating at around 12 years, and boys start dating at a slightly older age.
Therefore, the average age of first relationship is around the beginning to middle of the adolescent stage of development.
However, some people prefer to remain single (perhaps it is embedded in their culture) even beyond their 20s. This group is more inclined towards enjoying their independence and reaching a financially stable position in life rather than entering into early relationships.
25 things you wish you would’ve known before your first relationship
Now that you have a basic idea about why the first year of romantic relationships can be the most trying period and the average age at which people experience their first romantic relationship, let’s take a look at 25 things you wish you knew before your first relationship.
1. You need to be satisfied with yourself first
Whether you’re married, in a live-in relationship, or have just gotten into a romantic relationship, having a partner who encourages and validates you is great. But that shouldn’t be the only source of your self-esteem. To be satisfied in a relationship, you need to be happy with yourself first.
If you don’t feel good about yourself, you can’t expect to be happy or satisfied with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or lover. So working on yourself first is essential.
For a first-time relationship, because it is such a new experience, it is normal to be apprehensive about how much information you want to share about yourself with your lover. But, it happens, and it’s alright!
It’s not a great idea to reveal all the intimate details about yourself from the get-go but, it is crucial to show vulnerability. It’s all about balance.
However, this also opens up the possibility of hurting each other. Therefore, for first relationship advice, this pointer is essential.
6. This will be a learning experience
When you first get romantically involved with someone, it’s a thrilling experience. Somewhere in your heart, you may hope that you two end up together forever. However, there’s a possibility of things panning out differently.
So, if your first ever relationship ended in a breakup, it’s okay. You can learn from it. You can analyze what you liked, what you disliked, your preferences, and much more.
7. Your life shouldn’t be completely centered around your partner
This is another key takeaway from first romances. It’s not just about making time for your friends and relatives when you first get romantically involved with someone; there’s more to it.
Life isn’t going to stop because you’re in love.
You may be a student, or you may be employed and have other responsibilities too. Those are important too. Forgoing these other important things for the sake of your relationship is not a good idea at all.
Dishonesty might smoothen things out in the short term but might make you unhappy and affect the relationship in the long run. This even applies if you’re just dating someone and getting to know that person.
Human beings have evolved a great deal since the beginning of time and with that comes enhanced abilities to sense and perceive things around them.
So if you have a bad feeling related to your relationship that keeps growing over time, acknowledge it and do something about it.
10. Respect yourself and your partner
This is one of the things to know before getting into a relationship. If you don’t feel like you’re being respected by the person you’re with, it’s probably not worth your time. But, on the other hand, it’s equally essential for you to respect yourself and respect your partner.
When you have self-respect, you get a lot of clarity about where you stand, how you deserve to be treated, and what is and isn’t worth your energy and time.
With the extensive information available nowadays about the types of abuse people can encounter in relationships, you need to be aware. So be on the lookout for signs of emotional, verbal, mental, financial, or physical abuse.
There is no justification for any abusive behavior. However, ignoring these red flags won’t make things better for you or your partner.
As mentioned earlier, vulnerability is important for romantic relationships to grow. It is a risk you both take as and when you sense that it’s right. But, it’s also important to pace yourself.
If you rush into major decisions about the relationship, you might regret it later.
16. You can’t change your lover
One of the most important tips for your first relationship is that you need to be realistic about your expectations. Being with someone in the hopes of changing that person may, unfortunately, end in disappointment.
Moreover, change occurs from within. So if you’re going to be the agent of change for your boyfriend, partner, or girlfriend, the change may not be authentic.
This point is aligned with the fact that every individual is different. Therefore, as important as it is to have the same core beliefs, values, and morals, you and your lover will most probably not agree on everything.
People have opinions, and these opinions differ. Disagreements about minor things are expected and normal. A few bickering here and there aren’t uncommon.
This is not only important for couples who are married or in a live-in relationship; this applies to all romantic relationships. As important and wonderful as it is to be together, having that “me-time” is also important.
Time with yourself helps you grow and recharge or rejuvenate. The me-time helps you engage in your hobbies, spend time with friends or have some self-care time.
20. Your partner isn’t responsible for your happiness
For your first real relationship, try to keep in mind that you aren’t the center of your partner’s world and vice-versa. As much as they can hype you up and appreciate you, your lover cannot be the only source of your happiness.
Both people involved in the relationship cannot just rely on each other to be happy. That puts a lot of pressure on the respective partners and can damage the connection.
21. Healthy boundaries are important
One of the most important first relationship tipsto remember is that boundaries are essential. When you’re with someone, you both slowly understand some things you like, and you don’t like.
For instance, you might not like any public display of affection; or your partner may not like to hang out with your friends every weekend.
When you realize these things, it’s important to let your partner know about your boundaries and vice-versa honestly and respectfully.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.