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New In a Relationship? Here are the Things You Should Not Neglect.

by Rachel Yeoh. |

DISCLAIMER: This article is written from a woman’s point-of-view, but the suggestions stated can be applied to both genders.

New love is like rainfall after months of enduring the sun’s scorching heat. It is refreshing, exciting, and intoxicating. You are enraptured by everything they do and... you laugh at all their lame jokes.

While this new love is experienced by a majority of people at a certain point in their life, there are (generally) two types of people that will distinguish the outcome of the relationship.

  1. The Let’s-See-How-This-Goes

  2. The You-Better-Not-Waste-My-Time-I’m-Getting-Old

Though this guideline may be more suited for those who are in category 2, those in category 1 might find it useful if the relationship has developed into something deeper. What do I mean by something deeper?

Aiyo, marriage lah!

For you love birds out there, here’s a guideline on how to be less-infatuated with ‘the most amazing person I’ve ever been with’ and start the relationship with your eyes wide open.

1. Don't Neglect Yourself

I do not agree with the term, ‘My Better Half’ or ‘My Significant Other’ because YOU are a whole, significant person. A healthy relationship consists of the whole of you and the whole of your partner. It should be the base where you grow and blossom together to be better versions of yourselves. At the height of your romance, try your best to still have time alone with yourself. When you do, go through a checklist on how you are doing.

Consider these questions:

  • Do you feel good about yourself?

  • Do you feel your self-confidence growing or depleting?

  • Do you still have your independence?

  • Do you have the freedom to voice your opinion?

  • How much are you compromising in this relationship?

  • Are you being respected?

  • Are the boundaries you set for yourself respected?

  • Are you being genuine or are you putting up a front to be more attractive?

  • Do you love yourself enough to say ‘no’ if red flags abound?

Lose yourself to the music, the moment - but don’t lose yourself in the relationship. Too many people find themselves lost and empty when a relationship ends, some lose the ability to function without their other-half, others lose the essence of who they are all together.

2. Don’t Neglect Your Friends

You’ve heard the modern sayings like ‘Sisters Before Misters’ and other similar phrases; and honestly, this should be a mantra for those who are just starting out in a relationship. Keep your man close, and your girlfriends closer. If your man expects you to give up your friendships for him, darling, let me tell you that it is a red flag he is putting up and you my friend, should be putting up a white flag on the relationship.

Why are friends so important, especially at the beginning of a relationship?

Not all friends are created equal. I am talking about your close friends (they may be your family members), those who know your bad habits, share your embarrassing moments, and still love you unconditionally anyway. These friends are your eyes when you are swept away by new love as they uncover blind spots and tell you what they think of your new partner objectively. They will journey with you through ups and downs. No relationship rides on a high all the time and if that guy is worth keeping, then best believe they will tell you to shape up!

3. Don’t Abandon Your Hobbies

Your hobbies were there before you met him and your hobbies should still be there, after. Of course, you’d probably have to reprioritise your free time with your hobbies for your new man, balance is key here.

The crux of a great relationship lies in both your ability to maintain a sense of individuality. It thrives when both of you are contributing a part of yourselves into the relationship. Being involved in hobbies makes for good conversation and creates ground for mutual respect for each others’ strengths. If the hobbies you enjoy are enjoyed by your partner as well, then spend time together doing it. Just don’t give it up if your partner has no interest in it - unless it is illegal...

4. Don’t Forget to Ask the Tough Questions

I don’t like to be assuming or guessing where a new relationship will go. If I were to rock the boat, I want to do it close to shore, when the romance is just starting out. If I fall off the boat, my feet will still reach the sand on shallow water, and I won't find myself in the middle of the ocean, amidst the storm after the relationship has progressed for a few years. It is my hope for you to rock the boat when you are still close to shore.

The questions below are difficult and might cause your partner to look at you funny. But hey, if you are done dating wackos, then maybe you should just cut to the chase and take the risk. If he is not up to that challenge, it is up to you if you want to keep him or not.

These are some questions you can ask your new partner:

  • Why do you want to be in a relationship with me?

  • Are you looking for commitment in this relationship?

  • What is your greatest accomplishment in life?

  • Do you have close friends that you can count on when the going gets tough?

  • What is your perspective on finances and debt?

  • What does love mean to you?

  • What is your religious / spiritual view?

  • What is your stand on premarital sex?

  • Do you want to have children in the future?

  • What areas can we improve on in this relationship?

  • Where do you see yourself in 10 to 20 years?

Do not be offended when the answers do not match your preference. Both of you have the right to your opinions and it does not mean that one is better than the other. Of course, the relationship will be surer-footed when you share the same values and goals. Most of the time, opposites attract; but I've heard a saying that after marriage, opposites attack.

While this is not a foolproof method for things to last, it is an act of maturity you can take before you give your whole heart away. So girls (and guys), if anyone stops you from doing the 4 things stated above, strut straight out of it as if there is a red carpet to the Grammys in front of you, and sing Beyonce’s Best Thing I Never Had. If your man (or woman) ticks all the boxes you have made as non-negotiables, then remember to invest well in it.

Love is a verb, you’ll find out soon enough when the relationship progresses and the butterflies in your stomach disappear. In time, you’ll understand why you should not neglect the above at the beginning of your relationship.

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