New Relationship Dating Advice Everyone Should Follow

Navigating the dating scene is complicated.

Anyone who says they’re a dating expert in the 21st century is a liar. Dating has never been more confusing. At the same time, it’s also never been more accessible. Thanks to this great invention called the internet, meeting people is easy. It’s finding the ones who are worth the effort that’s the hard part.

While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we’re definitely able to help. We’ve answered your top questions about dating, new relationships, and everything in between.

How to start dating

Dating can definitely feel like a daunting task. Plus, quite a few people are likely feeling a bit rusty in the wake of the pandemic. (“How do I talk to people again?”) But if you’re ready to put yourself out there, here are a few helpful tips to make the most of it.

  • Add variety: If your same tried and true tactics for meeting people aren’t working, it might be time to switch it up. Don’t be too closed off when it comes to what you think you want. Being open to different experiences gives you an opportunity to meet people you normally wouldn’t.
  • Stay independent: Trying to glue yourself to another human right off the bat puts you at risk of distancing yourself from friends and family. Keep your regular schedule, and don’t try and mold your life around someone else’s. You don’t want your relationship to be your sole source of happiness.
  • Respect yourself: Stick to your values. Treat yourself how you want your partner to treat you. And don’t forget to do things for yourself, too.
  • Communicate: Being direct is important at the beginning of the dating phase. You won’t know everything about a person right off the bat, so being straightforward and polite will save you a lot of headaches down the line.

How long to date before a relationship

Every relationship is different. There isn’t any hard and fast rule for how long to date before you’re “in a relationship.” But most people agree that somewhere along the lines of five to six dates is a solid amount of time.

At that point, people generally know if they’d like to date each other or not.

Starting a new relationship

Congratulations, you’re in a new relationship! Everything probably feels like sunshine and rainbows at this point, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Focus on the present moment: It can be easy to get hung up on past relationships, exes, and everything in between when you start seeing someone new. This is totally normal! Try your best to live in the moment with the person you’re with instead of dwelling on the past.
  • Make sure you like the person, not the idea of being in a relationship: It’s easy to feel safe in a relationship, but it’s critical you actually like who you’re with. Dating for the sake of dating will always wind up with someone eventually getting hurt.
  • Talk face to face: While texting is great, save the big conversations for in-person. You owe it to them to have these conversations with each other, not through a screen. It’s a sign of maturity and that you’re serious about them.
  • Red flags will stay red flags: Everyone wears rose-colored glasses when they first start dating, so it makes the red flags easy to miss. But rest assured, once you spot them, they probably aren’t going away. Don’t bury your head in the sand thinking the red flags will magically disappear.
  • Actions speak louder than words: Anyone can talk a big game, but very few actually walk the walk. You should know how your partner feels about you from the get-go. If they keep making promises they can’t seem to keep, you’re going to want to reevaluate ASAP.

How to make a relationship official

This is the point in dating when you can breathe a sigh of relief. No more guessing—you’re officially in a relationship! When you make a relationship official, you’re agreeing on some of the pre-established dynamics of your relationship.

It does, however, mean that you’re going to have to talk about some more pressing issues. Things like sex, fidelity, and your future together will start coming into play. Dive in so you’re both on the same page early on.

What to expect from a relationship

Again, every relationship is different. There are a few universals you should expect from every relationship (and if you aren’t getting them, move on).

  • Affection
  • Compassion
  • Respect
  • Consideration
  • Time
  • Interest
  • Generosity

First relationship dating advice

So you’re in your first relationship. While everyone and their mother is probably giving you advice, we recommend just a few things to stick to that will make everything go much more smoothly.

  • Be honest: Whether it’s with yourself or with your partner, being honest is crucial. Trying to skirt around issues in your relationship or change yourself will never end well.
  • Trust your instincts: If you’re not getting a good feeling about the relationship, your gut is probably right. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Cut your losses and move on. Never stay in a relationship because you feel like you have to.
  • You’ll feel heartbreak in some way: This could be via a break-up or just something your partner does that hurts your feelings. It’s going to happen. Accepting this fact will make it easier to reconcile with.
  • Go slow: It can be easy to go full tilt when you first start dating, especially if it’s your first relationship. Just relax and go with the flow as best you can.

The 4 stages of dating

1. Initial meeting and attraction

This is the “double take” phase of dating that happen first. It’s seeing someone for the first time that makes you do a double take. You feel that first spark of something special, and you want to introduce yourself to them.

This can happen literally anywhere, but your curiosity is definitely piqued at this point.

2. Interest and infatuation

The second stage of dating focuses more on superficial attraction. You’re not diving super deep just yet, and everyone is still putting their best self forward. There usually isn’t much conflict during this stage, as the rose colored glasses are definitely still on.

Thoughts tend to focus more on things like, “How can I get them to like me more?” This stage can last around three or four months. Conversations eventually get deeper, with many asking themselves “Is this the right person for me?” or, “Where is this relationship going?”

3. Becoming a Couple

Now we’re at nitty gritty. The honeymoon phase has worn off, and you’re starting to see each other fully — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The big milestone of the third stage of dating is establishing trust. Intimacy is getting deeper, and you’re more open with your partner.

There also might be more conflict during this stage, as couples tend to start problem-solving more. Thoughts and feelings are expressed more openly, and couples tend to be more relaxed with each other at this point.

4. Long-Term Commitment

At this point, you should know your partner’s values and what they’re hoping for in the future. You should also have some kind of relationship with their friends and family (if feasible).

More often than not, you’re actively planning your future together at this point. Conversations about children, career goals, money, and lifestyles are happening. It’s also important for couples to each evaluate their emotional intelligence at this point before making a long-term commitment to each other.

9 Signs That Your Partner Doesn’t Prioritize You

1. You get flaked on—a lot

Things come up, but when things always seem to come up, that’s not a good sign. People will make time for their priorities. If you’re not at the top of the list, that’s definitely a red flag.

2. Special occasions don’t feel special

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and everything in between should be a big deal between you two. But if they come and go without hardly any celebration? Yikes. There should be something a little special to make it feel different from any other day.

3. You still feel kinda single

Is your partner still keeping their “single schedule”? As in, are they still doing the same stuff they did before you met and not making extra time to see you? Your partner is clearly putting their lifestyle before you.

4. Your partner doesn’t try and meet your needs

Expressing your wants to your partner is a normal part of any relationship. But if your partner isn’t doing anything to try and meet those needs? Time to move on.

5. Your partner still acts like they’re single

No posts of you guys on social media? Are they still consistently going out to places without you? Yeah, not great. You deserve more than being a side piece.

6. Labels freak your partner out

Talking about the parameters of any relationship is essential. But your partner being spooked at the thought of being “in a relationship” means they aren’t ready to commit. This is more normal at the beginning of the relationship, but if it keeps up, that’s a bad sign.

7. The two of you don’t fight

You’re probably reading this and feeling confused. Fighting is a bad thing, right? Not the case. Fighting means actively fighting for your relationship and wanting to make it better. It’s essential. If you aren’t fighting, they likely don’t care about your future together.

8. Your relationship feels primarily physical

Physical attraction isn’t a bad thing. But when your entire relationship is purely physical, that’s a warning sign. There should be more to your relationship than sex.

9. You haven’t met any of your partner’s friends or family

Not meeting important people in your S.O’s life is usually a sign they’re trying to keep it quiet that they’re dating anyone. If they really cared about you, they would want you to meet everyone special to them.

9 Signs That Your Partner Puts You First

1. They protect your time together

A great sign you’re a priority is that your time together is the number one focus. That can mean anything from not flaking out on you to not looking at their phone while you’re together. It shows you that they think you’re worth it!

2. You’re included in their interests

While being a carbon copy of your S.O isn’t the play here, take note if they want to share interests with you. Including you in parts of their life that you’re not involved in is their subtle way of saying they want to see you more.

3. They still try and impress you

A little wooing now and then goes a long way. Still making an effort to impress you every now signals that they think you’re worth the extra effort.

4. They’re protective of you (but not overprotective)

You can’t put a price on someone having your back in a relationship. But they will also recognize your own strengths and allow you to stand up for yourself when appropriate.

5. They notice the little things

Do they remember your favorite flavor of ice cream? What your go-to comfort TV show is? Or maybe why you wanted to be an astronaut as a kid? All good signs that even the smaller details are important to them — not just the big stuff.

6. They listen to what you say

You’d be surprised how few people engage in active listening anymore (thanks, smartphones). If they’re fully immersed in what you’re saying, that means they’re locked into spending time with you—and enjoying it!

7. They’re curious about you

Asking questions is the ultimate sign that they want to get to know you better. People don’t want to know people better that they don’t care about.

8. Your opinions and beliefs are respected

Even if you have differing opinions, you should never feel belittled when you’re with them. Adults are able to discuss their differences without name-calling. Being able to have tough conversations without blowing up is a great sign.

9. They’re transparent

Honesty is the best policy, right? If they’re open with you from the get-go, take note. Relationships will show everything about a person, given enough time. Being transparent from the start proves they trust you.

Should relationships be easy?

The short answer to this question is both yes and no. Allow us to elaborate.

Every relationship is going to take effort. Even the best relationships require work to maintain. There’s going to be talking through problems, compromises from both of you, and pushing each other to be your best selves. In short, that’s work. And of course there’s the not fun work, like fighting and disagreements that will inevitably happen.

That being said, a relationship should never feel like a complete uphill battle. You should also never change who you are to get along with your partner. If either of those things are happening, then the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.

Your partner should be encouraging you, and you should both be working on your relationship with equal amounts of effort.

How to get a girlfriend

These tips can easily apply to anyone in the dating scene. Here are our top ways to snag a girlfriend (or date) in no time.

  • Get set up by a friend: Your friends know you best, which means they’re a great resource. Plus, they’re able to vet any sus people out of the dating pool. See if you can grab coffee with a friend of a friend sometime.
  • Dating apps: Maybe you’ve shied away from dating apps because they feel too superficial. But don’t 100% rule them out. With so many options, you’re sure to find an app that feels more like you. Try it out!
  • Explore your hobbies and interests: Having something in common is a great icebreaker to meeting someone. Head up to the gym, join a team, sign up for a club — whatever gets you out there meeting new people that you already have something in common with.

Navigating relationships and dating can be tricky, no doubt. Just stay grounded throughout the process without compromising your values, and you’re bound to be in for smooth sailing.

Still have more sex, dating, and relationship questions? TikTok will probably give you better answers than your Sex Ed class ever would.