You have a new man in your life, and your couple persona may be very different from your single self. Integrate your new boyfriend into your world like you would a versatile piece of clothing into your wardrobe. He should complement most aspects of your lifestyle without clashing with major factors in your life. Work on building a fantastic relationship, but don't replace your friends with your boyfriend or lose yourself in your love for him.
Lay down a good foundation. The trajectory of a new relationship is determined by the foundation laid in the first few months. To set the proper tone for a healthy relationship, talk about your life goals and dreams with your new mate and listen to his. Take things slow, though, and make sure you are on the same page before introducing external factors like friends and family to the equation.
Learn to compromise. Your relationship should not be a dictatorship. Engage in activities you both like to do, but also take time to participate in some things that he enjoys and you're not so keen on. He should do the same for you. And who knows -- you just might discover your hidden beach volleyball talents.
Learn to communicate with one another. Find out where both of your communication strengths and weaknesses lie and adjust them so your styles complement one other. Don't yell or use insults to get your point across; take a few minutes to cool off if you're angry, and then talk through problems when you're both calm. Check your attitude at the door and be as honest and open as you can. Avoiding misunderstandings means avoiding arguments.
Introduce him to your friends. Make a special date to introduce your friends to your new man. Host an intimate gathering that promotes a friendly energy, or go out together to a sporting or other casual event. Do the same with his friends. Lay a good foundation for the important people in your lives to get along.
Don't neglect your friends. Just because you have a new love doesn't mean you should drop your friends like a bad habit; there is room in your life for both. While it's fun to get everyone together, be sure to schedule quality time with just your friends, away from your new man. Making time for your friends is healthy for your friendships and your relationship.
Let someone else speak. Just because you are in love doesn't mean people want to hear your long soliloquies about it. Your friends may indulge your love confessions once or twice, but that will quickly get annoying. Don't be self centered; ask your friends what's going on in their lives.
Don't lose your identity in your love for your mate. Schedule some time for yourself to do things you like to do. Go get a manicure, shop or exercise, or simply relax and reflect. Encourage your boyfriend to do the same. Maintaining a strong sense of self is a vital component of a successful relationship.
Lark Brooklyn has been writing since 1996. She has written articles for “Kill the Mic," "This is Real Music" and “Music Fashion Magazine.” Brooklyn is a Follett Fellow, a Rosebud and Weisman recipient and a Hollywood Shorts Emerging Filmmaker. She holds a B.L.S. in creative writing from Southern Illinois University and a M.F.A. in film from Columbia College Chicago.