First dates are usually filled with light conversation. You talk about movies, music, books, TV, how many kids you have or what you do for a living. If you’re feeling daring, you might talk politics or religion. If you’re really feeling the connection, you might dive a little deeper and start talking about more personal things.
But there comes a point where you go from light and fluffy conversation to deeper talks. As you move beyond just trying to figure out if you like each other and into the stage of knowing you want something more with each other, there’s information that needs to be shared with your new partner.
Starting a new relationship can be difficult, as it takes a great deal of time and effort. If important details are omitted during those first few formative conversations, you could be looking at a rocky road ahead.
Starting with a strong foundation of friendship and trust is important when you’re building a new relationship. A foundation built on honesty can mean the difference between a healthy relationship and one that leaves much to be desired.
Consider these keys to an honest and successful new relationship.
Share the reasons why your last relationship ended
It’s not only fair, but also important for your new dating partner to understand what caused the breakup of your last relationship. This is especially true if you’re to blame. Your honesty and candidness will be appreciated.
Showing this new person that you’re remorseful about your past actions allows them to see how you’ve learned from your past and wish to do things differently now, if you were to blame. And if you weren’t to blame, being able to speak openly without getting overly emotional about what happened lets the new partner know that you’re not still hung up on your ex.
Plus, by sharing your past relationship challenges, you could avoid repeating them. You make your partner aware of what could trigger a problem for you, while also making yourself more aware of potential issues. This allows both of you to work together to avoid recreating old relationship patterns and problems.
If this new person doesn’t stick around after your outpouring, chances are they weren’t “the one” after all. Don’t worry — your match is still out there waiting for you!
Discuss what you’re looking for in this relationship
Try not to paint a false picture of your expectations. Your new friend might feel flattered to hear that you see a “lifelong mate” in them but be honest about wanting to take things slowly if that’s where your head is. And if a lifelong relationship isn’t what you’re looking for, or if you want commitment but not marriage, speak up and say so. The only people this chases off are the ones who don’t want the same thing you do — and that’s a good thing.
Explain your feelings about what you want from this relationship. If you feel you need to, justify your reasons. Maturity and clear honesty goes a long way in getting the most out of any situation.
Be prepared to give the same things you expect so both parties are treated fairly. Remember that a relationship is a two way street. If you aren’t willing to give it, don’t ask for it. But you also need to be open to your partner’s requests and desires for the relationship.
Divulge your strengths and weaknesses
It’s natural to want to put your best foot forward when being courted by someone new, but the easiest way to lose that person’s trust is to portray yourself as somebody you’re not. Show a willingness to reveal your weaknesses, as well. Vulnerability goes a long way in inspiring the trust of others.
Let your new partner know that you don’t always have the best advice, but you’re the best listener in the world! Explain that you sometimes require encouragement to pursue something intimidating that you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t.
By letting your new partner see that you are not only aware of where you fall short, but that you’re willing to admit to those weaknesses, you also show them that you are open to improvement of both yourself and your relationship. It also lets them see that you can handle constructive criticism, a very important trait in making any relationship work.
Avoid sacrificing your morals or standars for love
Even if you feel your new love interest is the biggest blessing, it’s important to be honest about certain issues you can’t tolerate or those that might be deal breakers. Trying to pretend you’re okay with something that bothers you will only bring about resentment and frustration — both of which lead to misery and very likely, a breakup.
Once you get things out in the open, there’s a choice. If the love is real, the person will understand and respect your position. They’ll either work to change the issue you’ve identified or acknowledge that they can’t or won’t and be willing to let you go gracefully.
It’s important to express your emotions when your new friend does something you don’t like so it’s clear that you don’t want it to happen again. While you can’t change someone else’s behavior, and you can’t make them want to change, you can set boundaries around what you’ll live with and what you won’t. It’s also important to enforce those boundaries.
Remember that your beliefs make you the person you are. Avoid becoming somebody else for the sake of love! No one, no matter how much you think you might love them, is worth sacrificing yourself, your desires, and your boundaries.
The sooner you address potential issues in an honest way, the closer you’ll be to building a strong, healthy relationship with someone special. Honesty is always the best policy! If being honest doesn’t give you the results you want, maybe it wasn’t meant to be, and something better is in store for you!
Wendy Miller is a Single Mom Coach & meditation teacher. She helps moms use mindfulness and meditation to create the life they really want. She lives in Florida with her two sons, where she homeschools while solo parenting, while surrounded by what feels like a zooful of animals.
You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. You can also sign up for her newsletter where she offers more insights, tips, tricks, advice, and information to help single moms find purpose, creativity, passion, and peace.
You might also enjoy:
Let’s Get Serious: 14 Questions to Ask Before You Define the Relationship
You might think “What are we?” is the most important question for defining your relationship. But is it?
Be Reasonable: Setting Realistic Relationship Expectations
We all should have some expectations in a relationship. But what’s reasonable and what’s totally unrealistic?