The start of a brand new romantic relationship is exciting, but it can also be stressful. Sure, getting to know each other and the rush that comes with the honeymoon phase is great, but there are definitely things you should try to be aware of during this time of rushing hormones. Keep these six useful tips for a new relationship in mind as you begin to navigate interactions with your partner. This advice can help turn a blossoming relationship into a long-term one.

1. Maintain Your Independence

When it comes to relationship advice, one of the best tips to keep in mind is how important it is to maintain your independence. Your partner should never become your whole life. You’ll end up losing yourself this way, along with the potential loss of cherished family and friends. Taking time to get to know this new person in your life is necessary, but it should never become all-consuming. Make sure you continue to engage in hobbies, spend time with the people in your circle, and indulge in self-care. You are a whole person with your own feelings, needs, and priorities. Always keep this in mind when pursuing romantic love.

2. Keep Contact Balanced

Sure, your new love interest makes your heart go pitter-patter, and you probably want to talk to him all the time. However, you should resist the temptation to spend all your waking hours texting or talking to him. This creates a pattern of imbalance. If you’re giving this person all your energy, you won’t be able to attend to the other things that matter in your life. Maintaining your independence will become impossible. Instead, save some talk for your in-person dates. Take care to balance your time between all of the essential parts of your life. Also, be sure you’re not the one who is always reaching out first and making plans. There should be a balance between communication and taking initiative as well.

3. Diversify Your Dates

When first getting to know someone romantically, you’ll want to mix things up when it comes to dates. You’ll want to see how your partner acts in various situations and settings. Make sure some of your outings include friends or co-workers. If a guy just wants to “Netflix and chill”, you should be concerned about his intentions. Look for someone who seems to genuinely enjoy spending time with you in all sorts of ways. Not only that, doing the same thing all the time becomes boring and is a sure relationship ender.

4. Stay Alert for Red Flags

Along with the Netflix and chill trap come other red flags you should stay alert for. Make a list of your priorities in a partner as well as deal-breakers. Knowing what matters most to you is the first step to recognizing when something isn’t right. Always pay attention to your intuition. If something feels off, it probably is. Address any red flags as they occur. Ignoring them only prolongs the inevitable. It’s possible that talking through some issues could lead to changed behavior, just be aware that patterns of behavior rarely change. Be prepared to walk away if you encounter deal breakers. Your self-respect and comfort are paramount when it comes to relationships with others.

5. Communicate Directly

No one can read your mind. A new relationship is a time when you’re getting to know each other. It will require a great deal of direct communication to avoid misunderstandings and to make sure you’re on the same page. Avoiding difficult conversations can lead to heartbreak and frustration. Talking things through has the potential to resolve issues you may encounter. Just be sure to look for changed behavior. Words alone are meaningless.

6. Talk About Sexual Health

Knowing how to turn a guy on and being vulnerable with your body can be awkward. Approaching sex with a new partner can also be incredibly exciting. However, before you even get down and dirty, you’ll want to be sure to first talk openly about sexual health and your expectations. This is one conversation that shouldn’t be put off.

These new relationship tips should help you get off to a great start. Have fun exploring this developing connection, but be sure to take care of yourself as well.

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