Or should we call this blog post, “How we managed not to crash and burn during our first month of dating?”
Whatever you want to call it, we survived the early stages of our relationship when honestly, the odds were NOT in our favor. For those of you who don’t know how or where we met, make sure to read our blog post about wether or not long distance is a deal breaker here. You’ll be able to get all of the tea on how, where, what, when, the whole thing.
Now let’s get back into the real topic.
Building a solid foundation early on when meeting a potential partner is so very important. We don’t and can’t all move at the same pace as one another; therefore, respecting each other and working together is important. We personally have never had a problem with respecting each others pace. If anything, we embraced our differences.
To give you guys an example of where we stood when we met, Hannah was more emotionally closed off. When it came to dating, she wasn’t familiar with being vulnerable while I had known vulnerability all too well. I could have pressured her into talking to me, but seriously? what good would that do for us? Instead, I waited until she felt more comfortable.
Building a solid foundation early on is vital, but it’s never too late to start building.
In a world full of disrespect (yes, people will try you) how can you make sure you are being respected and building a strong foundation? Well, we’ll share what we did to create such a solid foundation.
#1: Let’s just say, we have always listened to each other with our ears and not our mouths.
We both can be long winded chatter boxes. During the early stages of us dating, we always made it a point to listen with our ears and not our mouths. What we mean by this is, instead of us cutting each other off while we’re talking, we always just listened.
When you’re getting to know someone, can you honestly afford to not listen?
When meeting someone new, whether that is a potential partner or friend, try to avoid interrupting them while they talk. A conversation works both ways. They talk, you talk, they talk, you talk. You get the idea. It is also important to remember that, while a conversation works both ways, one of you guys may not want to talk at any given moment. This is okay too. The key is respecting each other’s voices.
#2: Practice your patience…because girl, Hannah sure needed a lot of it for me.
I am a shy, introverted and anxious person. This can be a triple threat for anyone not willing to practice patience. When we first met, Hannah moved at a pace 3x faster than what felt comfortable or even doable for me. I could have completely chickened out of moving forward with her, but we practiced tip #1 so much that we always met somewhere in the middle. I tried to push myself out of my comfort zone little by little, while she practiced patience. Reflecting on your pace is important when building a foundation. Keep in mind that not everyone will want to move at your pace. This doesn’t mean they aren’t equally interested though.
When in doubt, meet somewhere in the middle.
Like I mentioned, I was a snail when Hannah and I met. I had little to no dating experience, I was awkward and just generally always uncomfortable. This had nothing to do with Hannah as a person, but my lack of exposure to dating. In the beginning, I was reserved and always tense and Hannah could see this. We knew that if we wanted to make it work, we would both have to meet somewhere in the middle. Hannah could have given up because I wasn’t moving fast enough, but she actively applied tip #1 and #2. Differences are inevitable, which is why practicing this tip is not only important, but necessary.
#3: Save the judging for the judges, not your relationships.
Wow, did we just say that? Okay, so Hannah and I live in a judgement-free zone. Of course, we joke around about judging each other, but we don’t actually judge one another. In order to create a dynamic where the two of you can openly talk about whatever it may be, there has to be little to no judgment. If either one of us felt judged at any moment early on, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today. Judgment is not a healthy thing to practice in a relationship.
Instead of judging, ask questions to better understand what is being shared.
We asked 50 questions a day during our early stages of dating. Actually, we still ask 50 questions a day. Our point is, ask questions. Try to understand the other persons point of view, respect their point of view, and don’t judge them if they say they only like to watch cartoons. Let them watch their cartoons! #dontbeahater2018.
#4: Why be selfish when you get be selfless?
In our humble opinions, there is no room for selfishness when practicing healthy habits in a relationship. It might even be considered to be a red flag in the beginning. We make it our business every day to be selfless with each other. I mean, I can be selfish with my chocolate ice cream or my fries, but listen, that’s different. Practice apologizing, being open, and being honest and understanding. If you tend to lean more on the selfish side, try to take yourself outside of your own head and consider your loved one for better results in communication and an overall healthier dynamic.
#5: When conflict arises, don’t try to win, try to resolve.
Feeling the need to win every argument is common. Actually, this response is so automatic that most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. Disagreements and differences will happen, as mentioned earlier, they’re inevitable. However, you don’t need to be right and you don’t need to “win” the argument. Argument may seem or feel like a competition, whoever scream louder wins, or whoever proves their point first wins. NO! Guys, your partners, friends, and family are not your enemies, they’re people who love you. It can be easy to forget this when you’re in the middle of a screaming match, but try not to lose sight of reality.
When trying to build a solid foundation, try to ditch the need to be right.
When in the middle of conflict, being right should not be your end result, resolving the issue at hand while also respecting and listening to your partner should be the end result. Hannah and I have disagreemets just like the next couple. We aren’t much of the screaming type, but we always try to actively listen to one another. When faced with conflict, we genuinely just want to resolve the issue in a way that works for both of us.
Let’s recap for a moment.
We know that building a solid foundation from the start can be tough. It takes consistent work on both ends for it to be successful. We practiced communication, patience, lack of judgment, selflessness and conflict resolution to build our foundation. We aren’t saying these tips will work for everyone but they can be healthy tools for maintaining and creating any relationship.
In the end, being mindful and a little or a lot of self reflection can really take your relationships to the next level.
Until next time,
Ariana & Hannah