Have you ever gotten butterflies at the start of a new romantic relationship because you like this person so much you just don't want to mess it up? The truth is that if this is the right person for you, there are few ways you could actually mess things up, but it doesn't hurt to have the best new relationship advice on hand anyway. "A new relationship is full of potential, possibilities, and discover—not only of our partners but of ourselves and our needs, wants, and desire," says Andrea Syrtash, a dating and relationship expert and author of He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing).
And Carmelia Ray, celebrity matchmaker, online dating expert, and chief dating advisor of WooYou App, agrees that this "honeymoon stage" is an important period in your life. "It's a special time to create unforgettable memories together and a time where many couples feel as if they are falling in love," she explains. With that being said, we asked both experts to divulge the biggest pieces of new relationship advice they give to their clients so they can actually enjoy this period of getting to know each other (and spend less time stressing). As Syrtash says: "Long-term relationships are work, but dating shouldn't feel like it." With that in mind, here are the nine things to keep in mind when you're starting out with a new S.O.
Keep the past in the past.
"A big mistake people make when dating someone new is to bring all of their fears, concerns, and past negative relationship experiences to their current relationship," says Ray. She explains that in the more than 26 years of speaking to singles, she's heard that they do not want to hear about their date's past relationships on first or second dates. She insists that you should be keeping your thoughts and conversations focused on the person you're currently dating and on getting to know them. (You shouldn't be interrogating them on their past, either.)
Don't make comparisons.
It's easy to instantly start comparing your relationship or your partner to other relationships or partners, but it won't do you any good and it will upset your partner, Ray says. She says to ask yourself these questions: Are you in the relationship to compete with someone else? Are you in this relationship to impress other people? Or are you in the relationship because you like the person you're dating?
Actions speak louder than words.
"It doesn't matter if someone is talking about taking exotic trips next year if he or she is unavailable now," says Syrtash. In this case you want to make sure you're reading actions rather than believing every word that person says. On the flipside, she says when your partner introduces you to family and friends, chances are that this person sees you in their life for the long haul.
Be vulnerable, even though it can be scary.
"The thought of being vulnerable is a scary proposition for most people," admits Ray. She says that it's how you show your true self, at the risk of being hurt. When you date someone new, showing this side can deepen your connection and build trust. "Vulnerability can be a gift to the person who's wanting to know you on a deeper level," she explains.
Don't embellish the truth or brag.
"Bragging is a huge turn-off for both men and women," says Ray. "It's not necessary to feel the need to continually impress your partner, especially if they already like you." You can be proud of who you are without listing all of your life's accomplishments.
Stay in the moment.
Reminder yourself that being in a new relationship is a time of discovery and curiosity (and a lot is going to be new all at once). "To alleviate pressure, remind yourself to stay present and open," says Syrtash. And this goes for being true to yourself and trusting your gut instinct. It doesn't matter if someone is perfect on paper if they end up not being the right person for you.
Refrain from being needy.
"A little bit of jealousy can be considered cute and healthy," says Ray. "But making demands on your partner of their time and restricting them from doing things they were doing before you started dating is a red flag." The expert says that it's common for couples who are newly dating to spend a lot of their free time with each other and give up some of their usual time with friends and family. However, avoid constantly texting, calling, or making demands to see your S.O. because you'll stress them out and may cause your partner to peddle back.
Don't give up time with family or friends.
Ray says that in a new relationship it's common for couples to drop some of their usual activities and cancel on friends to see their partner. "Remember that attraction is also created by the anticipation of seeing your partner and by creating some distance," says Ray. "When you always drop everything to be with your new partner, it may set the expectation that your previous commitments are secondary to who you're dating." She says to keep yourself busy and honor your plans with friends as you adjust your schedule in moderation.
Listen and stay curious.
"Listening is a skill and a communication tool most people don't do very well," says Ray. When you give your partner your undivided attention, it allows them to feel both heard and appreciated. When you show curiosity about who they are and what they're up to, it not only indicates your interest in their life but makes them feel unique and special.
When you feel as though you're ready to take the next step, ask your partner these key questions to dig deeper.