If life were a movie, you would meet someone at a farmers market and fall madly in love. But life isn’t a movie. These days, finding your forever partner takes a lot of work and patience.
In fact, many of us have turned to dating apps to help us meet singles in our area. Unfortunately, dating apps aren’t always effective. Sometimes you meet someone who isn’t ready for a serious relationship or just isn’t a great fit.
Thankfully, there are things you can do after swiping right to weed out those who aren’t right for you and grow a relationship with the person who is. This article offers six pieces of advice to help you start off on the right foot with someone new:
1. Don’t Make Comparisons
Comparisons are rarely helpful. In fact, just the opposite can be true. They keep you from living in the moment and getting to know the person in front of you.
If you just swiped right, you may be inclined to compare this new person to an ex. That urge will probably grow after a few conversations with them, or after meeting them in person. And while you should definitely take note of any red flags, don’t go looking for them. After all, just because this person has brown hair doesn’t mean they’re going to cheat like your ex who was also a brunette. Do your best to get to know this person without blinders on so you can figure out whether or not you’re compatible.
2. Talk About Sex Early
Talking about sex can be awkward — no one is denying that. However, it’s a conversation that needs to happen to ensure you’re both safe and comfortable. And the sooner you address the elephant in the room, the better.
Don’t be afraid to talk about sex with this new person. Ask if they have any likes or dislikes in the bedroom. And make sure you know their preferred birth control method, whether that’s using condoms or birth control pills.
You should also ask when they were last tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Believe it or not, STIs are incredibly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people in the United States have an STI. To protect yourself, and your partner, make sure you’ve both been tested recently.
3. Be Open and Vulnerable
Speaking of talking about sensitive topics, it’s also important to get comfortable with being vulnerable. Opening up to someone new can be scary. But the truth is, it’s the only way to really get to know a new love interest. For a relationship to thrive, both parties have to be vulnerable and honest. They have to share their fears, dreams, and insecurities to figure out if they are actually a good match.
With that said, you don’t have to tell this new person everything during the first conversation. Make sure they’re worth opening up to before sharing personal information. It might take a few dates to know for sure. Be open, but care for your heart, too.
4. Discuss the Future
Some people make the mistake of waiting months to discuss the future. They think you should wait until your relationship is further along before bringing up topics like marriage, kids, and future goals. But the truth is, these are conversations you should have before your relationship progresses.
For instance, if you want kids and your partner doesn’t, that’s something you should know as soon as possible. Because let’s face it, if you knew that information after the first date, you probably wouldn’t go on a second one. Or at the very least, you would not get too serious about starting a life together.
After swiping right, make sure you talk about the future. Ask what their five-year goal is and whether they see a family in their future. The answers to these questions will help you get to know this person so you can determine if they are right for you.
5. Meet Their Friends
You probably don’t need to meet a potential partner’s friends right away. But you definitely shouldn’t wait months, either. Friends play an important role in our lives. In fact, they’re somewhat a reflection of who we are as people.
That’s not to say you should judge someone by who their friends are — but it’s something to take note of. For example, if their friends are mean or rub you the wrong way, that says a lot about who they are. After all, why would they hang out with people who are disrespectful?
6. Set Clear Boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and your partner at the beginning of the relationship. This ensures you stay true to yourself.
Before your relationship blossoms, sit down and figure out what is important to you. What behavior will you absolutely not tolerate? How do you want to be communicated with? Knowing these answers is one thing, though. You have to communicate them to your partner.
Make sure they know your boundaries and non-negotiables. If they aren’t willing to follow them, that just means they aren’t the one for you, and it’s time to move on.
Starting a new relationship can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. Figuring out who someone is while opening up yourself is a lot of work. And there’s the chance that it might not work out, even after giving it your all. But don’t give up. Instead, set boundaries, ask questions, and follow the tips above to ensure you’re with someone who loves you for you.