A new relationship can be a time of great excitement, passion, butterflies, and anticipation of what’s to come. Or… it can be a disaster, and over just as quickly as it started.
I’m sure we’ve all been there. It’s a terrible feeling to get caught up in all of that excitement and emotion one day only to have it all taken away from you the next.
So how do you avoid this unfortunate scenario? I’m going to show you the 8 things you need to do to make sure that your new relationship starts off of on good footing and continues as smoothly as it can.
The Keys to a Happy New Relationship
She was sitting on the couch next to me stroking her hair nervously and looking softly into my eyes. We had been lovers for a few weeks now, and had liked each other for even longer. But nothing had yet been set in stone.
She looked down for a moment and told me that one of her guy friends was coming to visit. She asked me if I was okay with the fact that he was probably going to sleep over. I knew what that meant. But to dispel any confusion, she added that they had hooked up a couple of times in the past.
For the most part, hearing tell of a girl’s sexual escapades would leave me unfazed, even if I was her consistent lover. But with this one… I was affected very strongly by her words.
I immediately told her that I wasn’t okay with this random guy from her past spending the night with her. Then I told her how much I cared about her, and how long it had been since I was in an official relationship. And the next minute, she was my girlfriend.
The conversation then progressed into a discussion of our limited future. She was moving away in a few months. She was devoutly religious and knew that our relationship wasn’t sustainable for the long term.
But she was determined to make sure that we were both happy during this fleeting time together. And I hadn’t realized until much later how valuable that conversation actually was. We were both able to meet each other halfway and understand the exact parameters, expectations, and goals of the relationship.
It made for a very happy, healthy relationship; and it made for a sad, but clear end when the time came.
It was this conversation and the lessons that I applied from it to later relationships that really taught me about setting the tone in the beginning for a healthy dynamic with a girl.
And that is where we begin today.
#1: Set Expectations from the Beginning
The easiest time to set the tone and expectations for anything is in the beginning. And relationships are no different. Everything that you expect from her as a girlfriend, as well as everything she expects from you, should be discussed and laid out at the start of a new relationship. These are things like:
- Dates/scheduling and calling expectations
- Hanging out with people of the opposite sex
- Staying over
- Birthdays and/or any relevant special occasions
- General views on relationships and where each person is coming from
This may seem overly thorough, but trust me… it’s not. The single greatest killer of relationships is ambiguity. I’ve seen people deeply hurt each other just because they simply didn’t know; they didn’t know about each other’s pasts and about each other’s relationship vulnerabilities.
This doesn’t have to be an awkward or business-like conversation. The way I suggest framing it is something to the effect of “Hey Babe, since we’re together now I just wanted to talk to you about what we both expect out of this relationship. I just want to make sure that we’re both happy and getting what we need, you know?”
She will probably love you for it. That’s because in a new relationship you should always…
#2: Learn How to Integrate Things that are Important to Her
You would be surprised how many guys enter relationships with girls and then just continue with their lives business as usual, or only integrate her into the things that they do.
But the reason she agreed to be in a relationship with you in the first place is to share her life with you. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend every waking moment with her. Nor does that mean that you have to do everything she does.
But you should learn how to partake in at least one thing that’s important to her. If she loves cooking, have her over and cook a meal with her. If she loves dancing, take her out to a salsa class. The point is to find ways to make sure she knows that you want to be a part of her life, and to make an effort to do so.
#3: Learn How to Deal With Conflict
Chase wrote a great post on bridge building a little while back. Bridge building is the idea of asking someone questions about how your actions made them feel and then addressing each of those emotional concerns one by one then offering a positive solution.
You should bridge build in order to ensure that your girl not only feels heard during arguments and emotional discussions, but that you are genuinely addressing the root issues and not just what’s on the surface. Remember: women are masters of subtext; they very rarely say what they mean.
They are more likely to be quiet or upset and have you coax it out them with a long series of questions than directly tell you how they are feeling. And in order to feel fully satisfied, they have to feel that you came to the conclusion on your own rather than them having to tell you each and every little detail.
This is probably the most important skill to learn for your relationship arsenal. If you can learn how to properly handle conflict and problem-solve in a constructive way, your life will be easier and your sex will be better.
#4: Use Operant Conditioning
Even if you become an artist of conflict resolution, there will be times when your girl will just have deep-rooted bad habits or will do something to actually challenge your masculinity. You must always maintain your masculine frame.
If your girl has some hard case habit, you must learn how to implement operant conditioning into your relationship. Operant conditioning is essentially “punishing” her for her bad habits and rewarding her for her good ones.
Now, the punishments of operant conditioning aren’t actually punishments in a strict sense. You don’t do anything bad to her. You don’t even yell at her or scold her (doing this can ironically strengthen the habit, as she figures out that behaving poorly can get a rise out of you and lead to drama and maybe even passionate sex).
Instead, with operant conditioning you remain completely calm and take away something she enjoys.
You say something like: “You know Sophia, I really don’t like the fact that you get so drunk that you stumble and vomit every single time we go out. I’ve tried to bring it up to you before, but things haven’t changed at all. So from now, every time it happens, I’m not going to kiss you for the entire next day that we hang out.”
Obviously you know what your girlfriend likes (or you should at least learn), so you should have some idea of what to take away. But some general things that I believe all girlfriends like are:
- Kissing and cuddling
- Having a meal cooked for them
- A favorite TV show
- A favorite restaurant or dessert spot
You can even use time spent together as a positive thing that you take away. Though, I do advise you use this one with caution. Unless she has a habit that’s really bad or she really likes you, it may hurt things more than it helps them if you don’t set the right frame in using it.
#5: Discuss the Orbiters
Every guy’s tastes in women are different. And it’s an important exercise for any man to think about what he wants in his women beyond physicality. This realization should come from a combination of reflection and real life experience.
Personally, I love confident girls. I love girls who aren’t afraid to be themselves, live out loud, be silly, and not care what anybody thinks. I love girls who can hold their own around men while still maintaining their feminine energy.
However, I’ve learned that inherent with this kind of female personality is a mountain of orbiters – especially if the girl is attractive. But any kind of cute girl is bound to have at least a couple of orbiters in this day and age.
And while the presence of orbiters may not necessarily be threatening, it can be a nuisance to have to deal with them taking away the time and resources of your new relationship. So if you find yourself with a girl who has more than a couple orbiters, it’s definitely something to discuss.
Most confident girls tend to have mostly or all guy friends. These can be very tricky waters to navigate. I usually start the discussion by telling the girl the nature of her orbiters. Most attractive, confident girls aren’t stupid – especially not emotionally. They know that most of these guys just want to get in their pants.
So unless she values them in some substantial way, I:
Discuss reducing the time she spends with them or even axing them completely. But it’s important to say that I never do this from a weak frame. I never do this from a frame of insecurity or paranoia. I just do it from a frame of building a strong, happy relationship and not stringing on guys who probably have no chance with her.
Talk about having guy friends hang out with the both of us. If you’re a girl’s boyfriend, she should have no problem introducing you to her guy friends. This is a great way for the orbiter to get to feel like he’s spending time with the girl while getting a loud and clear message that there’s a stronger man who gets to take off her clothes at night.
Finally, as a new boyfriend, you must know the difference between orbiters and legitimate male friends. Some girls have male friends who they legitimately value and who they have genuine friendships with.
Even I, someone who doesn’t believe that there can be male-female friendships 99% of the time, have a couple of female friends whom I greatly value in non-sexual ways. Would I hook up with them if the world was ending? Absolutely. But they offer far too much value in my life in other ways than sex. Moreover, why risk a great friendship when I can go out and cold approach and bring new, sexy girls into my life who have no history or connection to other parts of it?
Hah, I’m laughing as I write this because this is exactly how women think. They’re constantly weighing your value as a potential lover vs. all of the other value that you bring to their lives.
So if you do have a girlfriend who has a legitimate guy friend or two, respect that relationship. This is the time to be understanding and recognize the value that these legitimate friends bring to her life.
#6: Meet Her Friends
When a girl gets into a relationship, the first thing that all of her friends ask is “When can we meet him?” And assuming that the girl cares about you, she’s bubbling up with excitement to show you off to all of her friends.
And it’s your responsibility as a new boyfriend to take an active interest in meeting them. That doesn’t mean you have to love them or see them all of the time, but it does mean that you need to at least make an effort.
And as a corollary to meeting the friends, she may invite you out on a double date or two. I don’t know what it is about double dates when girls get into new relationships, but they love them for some reason. So be prepared to go on at least one double date with your new girlfriend.
#7: Make Her Feel Special
This one can be a little tricky since we don’t really have traditional dating anymore. In the previous decade, girls would complain that guys would take them out on special dates and do cute things for them during the dating and courtship phase but then would give these things up once an official new relationship started.
And for girls, this is an even bigger issue in this day and age. Nowadays, hookups and sex come from one night just as often as one date. And guys and girls are constantly in this ambiguous space where they’re hooking up with other people, but don’t know if they should be, but don’t want the other person to hook up with other people, and just hang out casually but never go out on dates, and are afraid to call whatever it is they’re doing “dating”.
And by the time most of these “situations” become actual relationships, a guy and girl may have been hooking up and hanging out for so long that the guy no longer feels compelled to do anything particularly special for the girl.
But if you want to make your new girlfriend happy – regardless of how long you’ve been hanging out with her – do special things for her.
These don’t have to be big things. In fact, I actually think that little things tend to be more powerful oftentimes. Just give her reminders that you care about her and are not going to take her for granted just because she is now your girlfriend. These are things like:
- Cute notes
- A goodnight text
- A surprise snack (chocolate never fails)
- An impromptu adventure
- Saying something to lift her spirits
There are many more, but you get the idea. Just because you’re a strong man doesn’t mean that you can’t do cute things. Being in touch with your strong side and your soft side will lead to a balanced, healthy relationship.
And of course, doing bigger things is important every so often. Take her out on a special date or give her a special present so she doesn’t feel like the relationship is on a downward trend or that you’re not doing “the things you used to do”.
All girls want to feel emotionally special. At the root of a girl’s very being is the need to feel strongly desired by a man. This is sort of difficult for a lot of men to understand because they don’t relate to this feeling on such a fundamental level. But if you can empathize with her, and fulfill this deep-seated need, you will have an emotionally happy girl on your hands.
#8: Keep Improving Yourself
Women don’t want to be with a man who stagnates or simply maintains the status quo. It’s hard for some guys to accept, but girls agree to start a new relationship with you not only because of what they see now, but also because of the potential of where they see you going.
And if you want to make sure that the relationship continues to progress and evolve, you must continue to progress and evolve as a man and as an individual. You must:
Continually learn how to conquer your fears.
Start to be more aggressive in the appropriate areas of your life.
Find a passion that you want to dedicate at least some of your life to that is more important to you than silly girls.
Walk a path that centers you spiritually and helps you understand that life is fleeting and constantly changing, and all you can do is act and adjust.
Fail. Fail. And then fail better. There’s no improvement without failure. You have to internalize this belief as you continue to upgrade yourself.
It seems unfair to some guys, but you must keep improving yourself because your girlfriend is relying on you to help her improve as an individual as well. As I always mention, women are the ultimate mirrors. Not only are they mirrors in an emotional sense, but they are mirrors on a grander life scale. The kind of girl you’re with – from what she wears to what she believes in – will very often indicate the state of your life.
It’s funny that we tend to attract exactly what we are. So if you’re attracting girls who are a bit wanting in terms of kindness, drive, or personality, then maybe it’s time to look in the real mirror. If you’re attracting girls who make you want to be better as a man, then you know that you’re in a good place, but still have work to do.
This is the man’s burden. It’s what we were designed for. You can fight it or gripe about it, or you can accept it and do something about it. Your relationship – and your self – will only benefit from the latter.
And yes, this does include being a great lover. Most men don’t view sex as a skill, but sex is absolutely a skill just as much as anything else. You can improve your own abilities, and you can always get better at addressing your girl’s needs. Ask her about her desires, her favorite positions, her fantasies – and deliver on those things. Nothing can improve the quality of your relationship more.
For a relationship without great sex is just a friendship.
If you take care to follow these 8 precepts, you should be just fine in your new relationship. You should be able to meet expectations, handle conflict, and keep both of you happy and fulfilled as you move toward a brighter tomorrow.
And congratulations as well! It’s going to be a great ride.