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Single Taken Complicated: Early Relationship Advice

Single Taken Complicated: Early Relationship Advice

Hello, my pretties,

Just the other day I had the great pleasure of meeting my old friend Nikki for a (damp) hike through Short Hills and an early dinner at Oddbird. All I could think about was handcrafted cocktails, fried chicken, and oysters but all she could talk about was her new boyfriend, her new boyfriend’s dog, and her new boyfriend’s haircut. Nikki recently met Adam and they were in that stage of their relationship where everything is new and amazing and your partner radiates light like a gosh-darn angel and craps out unicorn cotton candy.

Many refer to this stage as “The Honeymoon Stage.” It’s that point where you’re still discovering every fascinating detail about your partner and they can do no wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for Nikki and Adam but I’m also concerned. I can admit it, the so-called “Honeymoon Stage” is exciting and it feels as though your heart is made of hummingbirds but it’s also a semi-serious relationship stage where many couples make some pretty serious mistakes.

Mistakes are easy to make at this point in the relationship: you want to spend all of your time with this person, they are always on your mind and your wee heart does a quick pitter-patter every time they like one of your photos on Instagram. They are the coolest person you’ve ever met, it’s the best sex you’ve ever had and suddenly you find yourself systemically planning out the details of your wedding day while listening to ‘Timeless Love Songs’ on Spotify. The problem with these seemingly small mistakes that couples make early in the relationship is that they can inevitably grow into long-term problems.

The romantic in me (that I hide deep down) wants to throw Nikki a stupid shower, make glittery pink cupcakes and whistle to my animal-friends to help me get dressed every morning but we all know that Lily Hush is just a little too realistic and logical for that.

So instead, I’m going to do what I do best: I’m going to make a list.

Lily’s Early-Relationship Advice to Avoid Long-Term Relationship Issues:

1) DON’T put your own life on hold.
This is easy to do: you stop making plans with friends and family, you skip out of work meetings early, you continuously miss games with your co-ed soccer/baseball/ultimate frisbee league. The reason you are doing this is so you can seem more available to your new love, but guess what? Being less available and still moving on with your own independent life is not only uber-healthy for you and the relationship but it’s also incredibly attractive to a mate. Don’t drop everything you love to become readily available and ultimately passive, you are sure to regret it.

2) DO set up healthy boundaries.
Sometimes when things are moving quickly and everything is new and exciting, it’s easy to let things slide or to avoid a red flag or two. Maybe you don’t want to upset them or create a problem and be “that guy.” I say, be “that guy,” get the uncomfortable conflicts out of the way so you can continue to discover if you’re on the same page. Don’t say something is ok or not a big deal if it’s not ok and it is a big deal. Make it clear who you are, what you believe in and how you wish to be treated. Setting up healthy boundaries is not about you being difficult, it’s about promoting growth within your relationship. If you never speak your mind in the beginning than it is inevitable that when you finally put your foot down (and you will) you’ll be met with confusion and possibly hostility.

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3) DO take time away from the relationship.
This is difficult to do so early on but it is oh so important. Sometimes we become so consumed by the rose-coloured glasses that we fail to truly see the relationship in a real way. This is why taking time away is so beneficial. Go dancing with your friends, take a day for yoga and meditation on your own, visit your parents and tell them you love them. Do something for you. Maybe while you’re away your heart will grow fonder, and maybe it won’t. This realization can be difficult to digest but trust me, the fact that this relationship isn’t going to work out is much easier to stomach a few weeks in rather than a few years. Can I get an Amen?

As per usual, whether you’re single, taken or it’s complicated: I’m rooting for you.

Until next time,
Lily Hush

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