You’ve met someone new and potentially wonderful, now what? Here are the six most important tips to help you navigate the next levels of commitment and relationship. Following these tips will not only help clarify who is not a good match for you, but also foster and promote relationships that have potential.
1. YOU DON’T NEED A “BIG TALK” If you want to know what he or she is thinking, or to learn about your individual goals and perspectives, you don’t need a confrontation. You will find out as you get to know each other.
Commitment and togetherness don’t happen in one big intense conversation. Pressing that, “Where are we headed? What are your intentions?” button will not result in clarity. In fact, it will lead to disconnection because your partner will feel your anxiety and demand. They will feel that you have given up yourself that you need them for something. Instead: focus on the development of your bond, sharing honest feelings, ideas and values in an open honest way over time. That way you will know how each other feels and your partner will be attracted towards continuing the relationship or taking it to the next level. Feeling strong in yourself as a person will allow you to approach relationships not from need, but from your honest ideas, feelings and desires.
2. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE AN OVER-COMMITER
This means that until you’ve both communicated your intentions to each other, holding him/her to certain standards of what your idea of committed relationship represents, or putting all your commitment into the new relationship will not work. Your ideas about commitment must be MUTUAL. “He’s my boyfriend already in my mind” doesn’t count. For example, “You haven’t agreed to be exclusively dating me, but I don’t like that you’re not available to me all the time by phone” is an expectation outside what you’ve mutually agreed upon. Ask yourself if you are committing to this other person more than they are committing to you. Instead: don’t make any other person the center of your Universe. It doesn’t matter how sweet, wonderful or perfect he/she is or how great the connection is, until you both have agreed about the level of commitment you want, keep your energy open. See other people or, at least don’t create a scenario where you live, eat, breathe and exist only for this person to the point of anxiety and frustration! Let yourself have a life outside them. Friends, hobbies, work, family and me time should be priorities.
3 YOU DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT
Sometimes we feel pressure in a new relationship to meet all of the needs of a new person. We want them to like us so much, that we can pressure ourselves to be perfect and then end up feeling disconnected and anxious. We say, “If only i can convince you how awesome we could be! If only I can show you how GREAT I can be!” Not only does this not work, it has an opposite effect. Trying too hard conveys to the other person that we need validation from them and lack a sense of self esteem. Instead: Just being yourself as a vulnerable and open person is all you need to do for a strong loving person to want to connect to you. Do seek to improve yourself and your way of relating to others, but don’t make this your project to gain someone else’s love. After all, if they don’t want to be with you as you really are, then do you want them in your life?
4) FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE
We all know this nugget of wisdom: when we focus on what is good or what is right, it creates more of the same! Believe it or not, other people want to make us happy even in the first stages of relationship and if they feel like the connection makes us happy (instead of disappointed) it will make them want to invest more into the relationship. Harping on all that is wrong won’t work. Instead: Focusing on good parts of the connection “I appreciate you..” is important because emotional spikes and spines can come up in the first stages of relationship, especially if we are trying to avoid getting hurt. Part of us wants to get out of having THEM hurt us, so we may let negative expectations get the best of us, “I’ll blow up this bridge so that you can’t do it for me!” Focusing on the positives creates trust and the desire to evolve.
5) COMMIT TO YOURSELF FIRST
Nobody is committing to you if you’re not committing to yourself and loving yourself. Another person wants to give their heart, time and energy to the part of you which is committed to yourself and your own dreams. Example: feel the difference between, “I hope you can give me a wonderful life and lots of love.” versus, “I’m committed to having a life where my needs are taken care of and love is a part of my life. That’s important to me.” The second one shows that your visions and priorities are committed and strong, whereas the first one feels more like, “I expect you to take responsibility for giving this to me… I can’t get it on my own. I’m more committed to getting what I want out of you than I am to myself.”
6) HAVE FUN
Take your mind off the “goals” for a moment and just enjoy each other’s company. Do you find yourself stressing every interaction? Instead: Imagine your best friend in your mind’s eye. If it wasn’t fun to be with that person and if every conversation was a chore or an upsetting contest of wills, you probably wouldn’t want to spend as much time with them or talk about feelings and perspectives. This same thing is true of all relationships. Have a little fun because relationship commitment isn’t just a set of goals to get to, it’s a journey. Have fun on that journey.