5 New Relationship Growing Pains and Ways to Beat Them

A couple in a new relationship talking outside and laughing.

When a new relationship begins, there’s excitement, passion, and lots to discover about your partner, but, with everything moving so quickly, inevitably there will be some bumps in the road. If left unhandled, these growing pains could spell long-term problems for your relationship. Don’t worry they’re easily fixed. We made a list of the most common problems young couples face and tactics you can use to beat them, so you can get back to focusing on what’s important: each other.

The Pain: Too Much Time Spent with Friends
Everyone loves their friends, although some partners might say too much. While you may have just committed to exclusivity with your partner, you might still be acting like you’re in a relationship with your friends. Consistently prioritizing your friends over your partner is a bad precedent to set for your relationship.

The Solution: Date Night
Put aside one night a week to spend with your new partner. You’re not abandoning your friends, and they’re not going anywhere. It doesn’t have to be a whole day affair, but even a home-cooked dinner with wine and Netflix without phones can go a long way towards improving the security of your relationship. The important part is to make it happen each week. It will build the trust between you and your partner and make them feel valued.

The Pain: Jealousy
Whether you’re subconsciously flirtatious or you have a lot of attractive friends, the last thing you want is to make your partner jealous. Jealousy can easily uproot a new relationship. If you’re partner’s feeling insecure about your feelings towards them, handle the issue quick before it causes a rift.

The Solution: Reevaluate and Reassure
Jealousy arises from insecurity, but before you play the blame game take an honest look to see if you’re giving your partner a reason to be jealous. If you’re close platonically with your exes or are a naturally flirty person, don’t be surprised if your partner is wary. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it would feel if the tables were turned.

Assure your partner that you’re available to hear their feelings. If you’re in touch with your exes platonically, explain the situation to them and discuss distancing yourself from the friendship until your partner feels more comfortable. If you’re naturally flirtatious, consciously try to dial back your behavior when chatting with attractive people. Above all, be in communication with your partner. Figure out what their triggers are, so you can work together to get past them.

The Pain: Lack of Time
If you’re used to the single life, you may be used to booking all your hours with work, hobbies, family, and friends… which doesn’t leave a lot of time for your partner. Relationships take time. The last thing you want is for your partner to feel neglected, because your 20 other priorities overrule them.

The Solution: Use a Calendar and Schedule Accordingly
If you don’t already have a calendar, get one. I recommend Google Calendar, because it’s easy to use and sync to your devices. Now plot out all your obligations and color code each obligation: work, friends, family, hobbies, errands, and partner. See which activities are taking up most of your time. The visual aid will give you a realistic view of your priorities. Figure out what you’re doing too much of and trim it down. Allow more flexibility in your schedule. Your partner likely has a busy schedule of their own, so respect that and allow time for them. Bonus tip: lunch dates and running simple errands together are great ways to squeeze a few extra minutes of quality time when you’re on the go.

The Pain: You’re Too Close
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some new couples fall in the trap of spending too much time together. This can lead to one or both partners getting sick of each other, neglecting friends and family, or a codependency, none of which are good for the long-term.

The Solution: Be Your Own People
To beat the pain of getting too close too quickly, both of you must maintain separate identities. Have your own friends and hobbies. Make an effort to spend time separately. This doesn’t mean don’t spend time together, but spend time together within reason. As a couple, naturally your lives will become intertwined as time goes on. How much is too much? Well, that’s up to you. It’s sort of a balancing act, but if your friends and family complain that they never see you, it might be time to reevaluate.

The Pain: Fear of Vulnerability
Many people have trouble sharing their feelings openly. It can be tough to open up with a new partner, especially if you’ve been hurt by someone close in the past, but opening up is essential to developing a strong relationship. If this emotional intimacy isn’t nurtured the relationship runs the risk of being devoid of closeness and fizzling.

The Solution: Lead with Trust
If you have concerns, considerations, or fears, share them with your partner. Trust that they’ll be supportive of your feelings. People that are afraid to be vulnerable fear revealing weakness. The truth is very few people won’t use your vulnerabilities against you, and opening yourself up will not only strengthen your relationship but also your sense of self. Relationships are built on the trust that comes with opening yourself up and relying on your partner for much needed support. It’s not weakness; it’s partnership.

The beginning of a relationship can be one of the best parts of being committed. But as with most commitments setting a strong foundation is key to long-term success, so these tips hope to help you set it right.

Alex Bocknek

Alex Bocknek is the senior editor of The Date Mix and works at Zoosk, the online dating service. He’s also a recovering music critic and an aspiring fiction writer (probably lost) on the way to an independent bookstore near you. He can be found occasionally musing about politics, philosophy, and love in the modern world.

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