Once you're past the dating stage and rooted firmly in relationship territory, it's time to implement some strategies for keeping your new twosome on track. To help you and your guy make a smooth transition from hooking up to shacking up, we've put together a few of our best tips aimed at making sure your new love lasts.
KEEP THINGS INTERESTING
No one wants to fall into a dreaded relationship rut, and although you don't have to worry about that happening in the beginning stages, it's still a good idea to do what you can to ensure you steer clear of monotony (like getting takeout from the same place every Friday night). The best way to avoid a rut is to keep things as interesting as possible and consistently try new things together. Routines aren't all bad, but it's when you find yourself doing the same things week in and week out that you run the risk of relationship boredom.
Try new places to eat and go for coffee.
Try at least one new date idea every month (something that neither of you has done).
Make meals you've never tried.
Take day trips to towns or cities you've never been to.
GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
When you're first in a relationship, all you want to do is spend every waking minute together (often in bed), but despite your new love, it's also important to have interests outside of each other. The time you spend apart allows you to reflect on what's happening and gives you time to fully process your feelings. Spending too much time together doesn't give you any time to miss each other and can eventually be a drain on the relationship. Carve out some solo time by hitting the gym, going for a long walk or jog, seeing your own friends and doing the activities you love that your guy may not be into.
BE OPEN TO DISCUSSION
Communication and being willing to discuss anything that comes in the relationship is key to making a new relationship work. If you don't talk about what's bothering you, it won't go away – it will just get bigger and more frustrating. Whether it's sex, family, finances or just his inability to let you finish a sentence, if it bothers you or you feel it's hindering the relationship, you need to be able to discuss it openly and honestly.
Generosity is usually something that comes easily in the first blush of love – he's taking you out, buying you flowers, calling all the time and you're making him dinner, stocking your fridge with his favorite foods and agreeing to watch more baseball games than you'd like. But somewhere down the line, the generosity seems to wane. Keep your new love strong and vibrant by continuing to be generous. You don't need to spend a fortune, though. Generosity can be as simple as rubbing his back after a hard day, knowing when he needs a sounding board or spending the day doing something he wants to do because you know he needs a boost.
It's inevitable that if you're in a relationship, you're going to fight, but if you want yours to last, you're going to have to fight fair. This means listening to each other, being open to discussing even the more uncomfortable or frustrating topics and being flexible when things don't go your way. If you can't resolve your arguments in the early stages of a relationship, you aren't going to have much luck doing it as time goes on. Fight fair now so you can learn from each other and figure out the best ways to compromise when disagreements arise.