If you find yourself in a new relationship, you’re probably wondering what you can do to start off on the right foot.  We all bring some kind of baggage with us into our new relationship, but there are ways to minimize that baggage.  A new relationship brings with it new potential, possibilities and the joy of discovering life with this new person.  When it comes to that discovery it’s not just of who we are, what we need, but it’s also about discovering the world with this person.  That’s why I (still) love to go new places with my boyfriend.  It’s about forming new memories, and being somewhere together that maybe neither of us has been.

So what can you do to move things in the right direction?  To start, you can leave the past in the past.  A big mistake that people make is that they bring all of their fears, concerns and even past negative relationship experience into their current relationships.  If you’re constantly comparing your new partner to your old partner, you’re always going to be disappointed.  Especially if they’re not actually doing any of those negative things.  If you’re really struggling to let go of those scenarios, I would encourage you to reach out to a counselor, as there might be something more serious going on.

Along the same lines – don’t make comparisons.  This doesn’t just mean are you comparing your current partner to your ex.  But also don’t compare your relationship to that of your friends.  No two relationships are the same.  I have a few friends who are in very traditional relationships and have kids, houses etc.  I am in a long distance relationship and much of our time spent together is having mini-vacation-like weekends.  It’s certainly not as traditional, but does it make it any less of a relationship?  I would argue no, but it’s easy to get sucked into comparing what I have to what someone else has.

The last piece of advice I would like to give you is really important.  In any relationship, the other person needs to know that you’re serious about them and the relationship.  The way to do this is to be vulnerable.  Yes – I said it.  The v-word!  This is one area that I don’t always excel.  For me, I still worry that I will get hurt.  But this goes back to my first piece of advice as I was hurt pretty badly in the past.  But when you date someone new showing your vulnerability can deepen your connection and build trust.

Maybe have those really hard conversations with your partner early on.  Not too early, but early enough to know that you can open up to them and that they won’t run away.  During this time, you can share your fears or your hopes for the future.  Or whatever you want.  Vulnerability is a gift to your partner and it allows you to get to know them (and they you) on a much deeper level.  Relationships, as I’ve said 100 times, aren’t easy.  They require work.  A lot of people think they can just meet someone and not do anything to make the relationship work.  But that’s not reality.  Make sure you put as much work into your relationship as you do into other aspects of your life.  You may be surprised how much fulfillment it can bring to you.

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