Pursuing someone is the easy part, but maintaining the relationship requires conscious effort and some hard work. To the folks who have been in a few relationships here and there, you probably have a good idea of what you’re looking for. You have expectations, boundaries, and an idea of what matters to you, I get it. I’ve been in a few relationships, and although each one failed for different reasons, each one was a lesson. Now I’m faced with a different challenge: being someone who says they don’t know how to be in a relationship. So how do you navigate through a situation where you’re with someone that doesn’t know what being in a committed relationship is like? It’s one thing to date, but it’s a whole different ball game when you’re actually in a committed relationship. Furthermore, defining what is considered a committed relationship is fluid. When first entering a new relationship, it’s important to unpack what the dynamics looks like.

Communication

This concept is easier said than done. The way you communicate with your partner creates the foundation for how you two will navigate through the difficult times in the relationship. If you are an open book, but they’re more reserved, acknowledge that. Recognize the reasoning behind that. The relationship you have with someone should be designed to make them a better person, not completely change who they are; some get these two statements mixed up. Even the way you communicate can have an impact on the dynamic between you two. If you love talking on the phone, but they prefer to text or chat on Facebook messenger, then figure how you two can find a healthy middle; if relationships were easy, no one would be single.

Boundaries

If you see value in the relationship you have with the person, then things will take time. For folks who have been in many relationships, they might be more open to let their guard down, but for folks where this is a new concept, they’re still adjusting. Give them time to figure out this transition from being single to in relationship, and even more, from experiencing a little fling relationship to experiencing a serious and committed relationship. Many things adjust when it comes to relationships, so if you’re the type of person that has their life revolve around their relationship, while your partner is the type of person that has their relationship compliment their life instead, then it’s important to understand there may be some boundaries that come with that. You two have nothing but time, so take advantage of that, and stop expecting your partner to get where you are in the relationship overnight. I know what I WANT from my current relationship, but what’s more important is what WE NEED from it.

Love

This little 4-letter word has some weight to it. First and foremost, don’t say you love your partner unless you actually mean it. Secondly, love is measured and defined differently, so be understanding if you and your partner are not on the same wavelength; there’s a chance you’re feeling something strong for your partner and they may not be able to reciprocate that. Also, if you find difficulty in saying it, then show it. If you’re dating a person that has never felt love and/or has never been in love, don’t rush them. Trust that when the time is right, they’ll be able to express how they deeply feel about you. Until then, like I’m doing right now, take the time you have with them to show them how important they are to you. Bring the same value to their life, as they bring value to yours.

I’m not perfect, nor do I want to be. I do not know everything, and I’m okay with not knowing everything. My way of thinking and living is not the end all, be all standard. I’ve been hurt in relationships, and I too, have caused hurt in relationships. I’ll admit I know what I think would be an ideal relationship, and I say that loosely. But I have come to terms with how my thoughts can be my definitive expectation, and also a way for me to create self-sabotage in my relationship. I’ve never heard of an easy relationship, and honestly, I would never want one. And with adding a person who feels they do not know how to be in relationship into the mix, easy will be the last thing to describe a relationship with them, and that’s okay. Let’s be honest, no one knows how to be in a relationship, we’re all trying to figure this thing out. Adapt to your new relationship, adjust to the dynamics within in, and acknowledge the struggles that may pop up. The rest will take care of itself.

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