holding hands

It is always exciting to enter into a new relationship. It is the culmination of long weeks spent hunting for a date with someone who is not a complete bonehead, dancing uncertainly around each other or playing the equal part exhilarating and exasperating game of will-we-won’t-we. That said, you should know what to expect once you actually start down a new romantic path. It will not be a perfect fairy tale, but it will not be a disaster waiting to happen either. Here are the things no one tells you about starting a new relationship.

Dating is awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes boring.

Hollywood suggests that dates end up being one of two extremes. Either they come to a dramatic end with one person storming off or it is instant magic. The reality is normally somewhere in between. Most dates, thankfully, do not end with someone getting a glass of wine emptied angrily over their head. There are not many dates that end up on the other end of the spectrum either. Instead, the vast majority of dates, especially in the early stages of dating, have long pauses as both people hunt desperately for the next topic of conversation and end up asking their date something along the lines of, “So…do you like cats?”

Dating someone you really like and connect with makes this better, but there will still be lingering awkwardness in your dates as you learn what subjects each of you would prefer not to talk about or what buttons not to push.

You will both still want space.

If you look at a new couple’s Facebook page, you will likely notice that they are together in each and every picture. This can suggest that new couples spend or worse should spend all of their time together. In reality, you are going to need some time to yourself. No matter how much you may love the other person, you are not going to want to have them around all the time. You will want to have at least a few minutes to yourself here and there, and your partner will make the same request of you. How much time your significant other wants alone may depend on whether you are dating an introvert or extrovert, but you can expect the request to come regardless.

Finding time for each other is not always easy.

Even though you will need your own space, you are going to want to spend time together. If you did not, you would not be in a relationship in the first place. The rest of life’s responsibilities, however, do not end when you enter a relationship. Instead, you will have to work around life in order to spend time together.

It is true that if you truly care about something, you will find time for it in your schedule. That said, finding time for your relationship does not always mean you will be able to find several hours for a lengthy dinner followed by a romantic walk or snuggling on the couch. Sometimes, making time for someone means grabbing a quick 30 minute lunch or going to the grocery store together.

You have to relearn how to communicate.

People communicate differently. If this were not the case, there would be no such things as misunderstandings. Instead, everyone communicates in a slightly different way. Those little differences, however, can add up quickly in a relationship. As such, you will have to relearn how to communicate every time you enter a new relationship. You will need to learn your partner’s love language as well as all their little quirks and habits. Do they show affection through words or gifts? Do they tend to close themselves off when they are angry, or do they want to rant and rave at anything that will hold still long enough? It will take time to figure it out, but you will have to learn if you want the relationship to survive.

People might treat you differently.

Some people see single people as unfortunate or deserving of pity. Others think that people who enter relationships are fools tying themselves down. As you encounter people like this, you may find that they treat you differently once you are in a relationship. Certain family members may act like it is about time you finally entered a relationship. Some friends, on the other hand, may think you are an idiot for giving up your singlehood.

Not all of the changes, however, will necessarily be bad. Those who are in happy relationships themselves may find it easier to relate to you once you are in a relationship of your own. Similarly, you may meet new people as you and your beau are invited to events that are for couples instead of singles.

You will have to work to preserve time with other friends.

When you first enter a new relationship, you might find that it is all-consuming. You want to be with the other person all the time, or they want to spend every minute possible with you. During the honeymoon phase, this is normal. Do not, however, give into the desire to forget about the rest of the world. You need to make sure you maintain your other relationships as well. No one appreciates the sense that they have been cast aside for someone better, and that is exactly the impression you will give your friends if you stop talking to them all of the sudden after you enter a relationship. It might make for a busy time, but be sure to keep spending time with your friends as well as with your partner.

The beginning of a new relationship is always exciting, but do not expect it to be effortless. There will still be hurdles to deal with and learning to do. The beginning of a relationship, on that front, is no different from the rest of it. It takes hard work, but with the right person, it is more than worth it in the end.

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