There’s a tendency when things are going well in a new relationship—when you’re excited and things are moving forward the way you want them to—to get swept up in all the forward momentum and excitement. Part of growing closer to someone is creating a space for them in your heart, in your mind, and in your life. So it’s only natural to start thinking about the future and what space they might take up there too.
Don’t do it.
Well, ok, I’m not saying don’t do it at all. (Indulging in a little fantasy about a possible future with someone can be fun, and maybe even healthy.) Just don’t let that possible future be your main focus. Otherwise, you may find yourself missing out on all the of wonderful things about the moment you’re in.
Instead, consider these ways to enjoy the pleasures of your new relationship and the moment you’re in now:
1. Be present.
It may sound simple but when you care about someone, one of the best things you can give is yourself. During the early stages of a relationship, when you’re still getting to know your partner, it’s important to pay attention to the present moment.
Ordering food at a restaurant, relaxing on the couch, or talking in the car may seem like small insignificant things but they’re also part of what brings you closer together. You may learn what position your partner loves to lounge in, notice a habit they have of bouncing on their feet when they order a meal, or learn that they once drove cross-country to help a friend move. These are the details that make up a person, your experience with them, and the life you’re building together.
2. Notice the little things.
Being present makes the person you’re with will feel cared for, but it’s also rewarding for you. At the dating site Zoosk where I work with the design team, we often talk about the concept of ‘first comes like’ moments—those moments in a relationship that happen before love. They’re the moments where you notice something about your partner that makes you smile, laugh, or feel curious and you realize that there’s something there you want to see more of. Maybe it’s finding out that they cry at sad movies or admiring the way they walk across a room. You never know what it could be. But later you may look back at these moments and realize they were really the beginning of your journey towards love.
3. Find the romance in everyday occurrences.
This is one of the best parts of the beginning of a relationship—discovering the small joys in a quiet evening in, deciding to ignore the dishes together, laughing over the antics of your friends, or being comfortable enough with someone to use the bathroom with the door open. (Gasp!) There are a lot of dynamics that change when you become a couple—not every dinner is going to be a special, date night event. And, eventually, you may even lose a little of that ‘just met someone’ excitement. But there are new discoveries to be made about each other that can be exciting in a different way. Experiencing small, mundane moments together can lead to a new level of intimacy and closeness that’s incredibly rewarding.
As your relationship progresses and you grow together as a couple, you may discover that things like romance, thoughtfulness, and even love don’t always look the way you expect them to. Sometimes caring about someone can be as simple as going out of your way to pick someone up, watching a TV show you don’t like, or sending a text to say ‘I’m thinking of you.’ Starting a relationship is a big step, but make sure you don’t forget to enjoy the little steps along the way. It will make the journey a whole lot more fun.