If you have been single all your life and you find yourself fantasising about a life with a partner, read on, because I wish I had stumbled across such an article before I was swept away in the whirlwind of ‘the first relationship’.
For individuals who have never been in a relationship, their perception of one would be akin to the dreamy romance we see in movies, deceiving and unrealistic. That was myself a couple of years ago, and as a young teenage girl, I felt the desire to be pampered and cared for. As such, I pretty much jumped at the first opportunity I had at a plausible relationship. Oh, don’t get me wrong, our feelings towards each other were mutual, but I did not stop to consider the other aspects that were equally important. Here are 4 things I wished someone had told me before I said ‘yes’ to him:
1) Ask yourself: Do you see a future with him/her?
This is probably the most important consideration, because if you don’t see a future with him/her, chances are that you would not take the relationship seriously – who wants to invest time and effort into something that has no future guarantee? Many factors could come to play in this area, it could be family’s disapproval, differing religion or values, distance, life goals, anything that makes it certain that it wouldn’t work out in the long run. Do not make the mistake of investing feelings and sacrificing emotions for something temporary – you don’t want to be forced to tap out in the middle of the game when you could have said no from the very start.
With that being said, there are individuals who believe it is perfectly fine to date for the sake of discovering what you would like in a partner, because this ‘experimenting’ is essential to finding the right one. Well that might be true, it is important to make sure the person you are dating is not the type that values long term commitment and invests all his/her emotions in the relationship, or this failed experiment might burst up in flames and you could find the shards of glass embedded deep within both parties.
2) Consider how well you know him/her.
It is important to be friends with him/her for a few months so that you know their personality, habits and hobbies, before deciding if you actually like him/her or if you simply like his/her looks. First impressions are inaccurate half the time because everyone tries to look and act their best in front of whoever they are interested in, so remember to look beyond the appearance.
3) It is not as easy as it seems.
While I was still a ‘relationship virgin’, I pictured being in a relationship as something fun and blissful. I thought “How nice it is to be able to just call him up to watch a movie with me when none of my friends are free”. Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of effort and the degree of sacrifice I had to give to make a relationship work. A healthy relationship is a two way street, yet the couple should be ‘one’. It is something that requires the effort of both parties, and both individuals should share their ups and downs with each other, so much that they are ‘one’, completely inseparable. This was a huge change for me. I felt like I had to juggle my other commitments and make sure I sufficiently cater to his emotional needs. I also had the habit of keeping my troubles to myself which partially fractured our relationship. Before committing yourself to a relationship, be prepared for the commitment and sharing part of your life with the other and vice versa. Be prepared to do certain things you might not like, and be prepared for disagreements and cold wars. It is not as easy as simply having somebody to ‘hang out with’.
4) Make sure both of you have the same idea of what a relationship is.
It is important that both parties expect a similar degree of effort and attention from each other, and it is even better if both parties have similar ways of showing care towards each other. In the case of my relationship, both of us had very different perspectives of what a relationship should be. I am an individual that will keep my priorities in check, for example, academics and my other commitments. Even though my then-boyfriend was important to me, I would attend to these other commitments if I had to. However, it differs for him, as he would prioritise me first above all his other commitments. This might seem like any girl’s dream; being put first, but it was harmful for the relationship as the degree of care seems uneven. As such, it is important to be on the same page as your partner. There are couples with extremely busy schedules, and they can end up meeting only fortnightly and still keep their relationship going strong as ever.