For most people, their first relationship is somewhere in middle or high school. That’s the average age of the first relationship when you are under peer pressure to date mostly.
However, that does not mean that just because you are young you cannot have a meaningful relationship, it’s just more likely that you are both guided by hormones and not very adept at questioning the skewed dating scene we see in schools and in society in general.
Things like red flags, abusive behavior, and patriarchal sexism might not be a very strong part of your vocabulary yet but as you grow up, in time your first relationship will serve a number of lessons to you.
It is also important to know that it is not a milestone to date someone in school, your first relationship at any age is just as valid and special, you are never too late or too early or a leftover. You are right on your time and as and when you feel comfortable is the right time.
Why Is The First Year Of Relationship The Hardest?
It is important to note that the first year of the relationship might look the hardest for both partners. As much as a couple will feel the adrenaline rush, they will also be difficulties along the way as it will be an entirely new experience with a new person and building something from the scratch, that too, an intimate relationship means a lot of emotional work.
With two people committing to each other, many aspects of their life need to conjoin. This means that both the partners have to equally contribute towards the relationship and pay heed to each other’s needs and wants to keep the harmony intact.
25 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Relationship
On that note, if you are starting your first relationship, here’s a comforting note to you from me, consider it a letter from a friend, a list of tips for your first relationship, things I wish I knew.
1. It’s not a big deal
Of course, it’s a big deal as it’s you dating for the first time ever, all the nerves and softness is a huge thing.
However, what I mean is, it is not the axis on which your life rotates. Don’t make it the singular reason of all things in your life, you were a person before this relationship and if it were to end, you will still be a person.
2. Be your authentic self
Taking a leaf out of the previous point, be the person you are, in the relationship.
While being somebody else, a version you think they would like better may bring short-term bliss, but it’s one of the most common first relationship mistakes, in the long term if they are not falling for the real you and your likes and dislikes it will eventually fizzle out.
3. Emotional harbor, not emotional dump
It is only normal that two people come into a relationship with their own set of expectations as well as emotional baggage.
However, a bit of important first relationship advice is to understand the difference between seeking support and comfort and dumping all your emotional baggage on them with no prior conversations, which would stifle the relationship.
4. The golden rule of Reciprocation
If it’s your first relationship, you might be swept up by romanticism and might feel all giddy doing all things for them, but it is a good idea to step back and analyze if you are getting as much in return, if not, its time for your first “lets talk” and its nothing criminal.
Related Reading: Reciprocal Relationship: Meaning, Types, & Tips
5. Don’t ignore the red flags
Whether it’s your first relationship with another girl or you are going on having your first boyfriend, red flags can always be there and they will not turn pink eventually.
Take off your rose-colored glasses and take a stock of the situation as it is. Have a conversation and if things don’t go down well, you have to let this one go. Trust me, there will be better times.
Trying new things with a new person sounds and is in fact a fun experience but always remember you do not have to give everything a try, it’s not a rule, especially as it comes to intimacy.
If you think you don’t feel comfortable with something, you don’t have to do it.
7. Take it slow
One of the most important first relationship tips is that you don’t need to cop out all the milestones in time, take your time with it, go at whatever pace works for you and your partner.
8. It will not be like movies
The movies have warped our perception of all emotions and it’s not your fault if you want your relationship to feel like a movie. I know I did, but much like most of life, your first relationship will not be a movie.
It will be much of an imperfect surprise and you will learn to appreciate it.
9. Don’t guard yourself too zealously
It is your first relationship after all and it is completely fine to be cautious and on guard. However, do remember it is supposed to be an experience, a learning curve, moreover, it is supposed to be fun. Let yourself go, be cautious, not closed off. Trust your guts for once.
10. Don’t neglect life
Even if it’s your first real relationship, don’t get tunnel-visioned into this. Don’t neglect your friends and family and other things you enjoyed, you always need them around. You cannot live happily for long, completely dependent on one person.
11. You might get hurt
If this is your first relationship, you are still learning and getting comfortable with the complex process of loving and being loved.
You might grow each other out, become incompatible, and leave, you might get hurt, keep that somewhere at the back of your mind and approach the relationship as a fun experience that might come to an end someday.
12. Don’t be too concerned about their past
It might be your first-time relationship and not for them, if they are your first love but you aren’t theirs, it is normal for insecurities to creep in.
However, try to deal with them in a healthy way, you are a different person. Tell yourself that, every time you find yourself thinking, are you as good as their ex? Do they love you as much?.
13. Don’t take them at face value
Don’t get lost in all the fuzziness and warmth in your relationship and get heady. It is a special feeling, I know, hormones are weird, make you giddy, and honestly a little stupid.
Look at the actions, if the I love you is not getting translated into actions that make you feel loved, don’t excuse that.
14. Respect them and their boundaries
You have to respect the person that they are.
Of course, it is alright to make space and expect them to try to fit in too but if you expect them to change their personality, I have a piece of news for you, you should sit down and think about whether you actually do want to be with them or an idea of them you made up and want now.
Check out the video to understand the boundaries every relationship must have:
15. Have realistic expectations
Once again, I know it’s your relationship and you have certain expectations, but keep them realistic, you cannot expect to come in like magic and make your life perfect, they are not a deal on late night tv shopping, they are a whole complex person.
16. You cannot change them
You can’t change who a person is, neither will they change their life decisions for you. You cannot make someone want to marry or settle down or have kids if they have decided not to and have made it clear already.
17. Don’t put your future on the back burner
Doesn’t matter if it’s your first relationship at school, college, or whatever age, do not ever put your future plans behind a relationship. It might be difficult but if your vision of your future is not aligning with your relationship, it’s time to have a talk and if you fail to find a solution, think about a temporary or a permanent break from it. Approach it softly, but don’t shy away.
18. It’s normal to have a disagreement
You will not agree on everything just because you are in love, it might be your first jolt in your first relationship but you might have a ton of arguments on anything from a favorite sandwich to what you think of a certain person and as long as they are not irreconcilable differences, it’s the most normal thing.
19. You can choose whenever to leave
If at any point you don’t feel like you want to be here right now, it makes you feel bad or you just cannot handle it, it is okay to leave. You can take a short break, you can break up, whatever you do in your relationship is only your business and your partner’s. It is also normal to love a person and still desperately want a break from the situation.
20. Retain your ‘me ‘time
It is very easy to get carried away in your first relationship and lose yourself into it but save some of your time for yourself. Do what you love and what makes you happy outside the relationship. It keeps you balanced and authentic as well as independent.
21. All your feelings are valid
Whatever you are feeling is valid, no matter how insignificant or overdrawn or stupid you think it is, it’s not. You deserve to be heard and comforted and gaslighting is never a good sign.
22. It’s not their responsibility to make you happy all the time
A relationship is not a happy pill, they are not magic. They can give you love, warmth, and support but they cannot and do not have to be your therapy or sure shot of happiness. You are responsible for that.
23. Age difference can matter
If your partner has made it clear that they do mind the age difference and sometimes even if they don’t, it will matter. They will graduate before you, have a totally different set of friends, and might have different priorities.
If your first relationship does have an age gap, just be prepared for that.
24. Communication is the key
Towards the end we go cliché, communicating with your partner is everything. If it’s your first relationship, you might feel awkward initially but try to get over that. Have conversations about all kinds of weird, intimate topics, ideologies, beliefs, and get to know each other. It helps a lot.
25. You will get over it
Finally, if it does end as it might, you will be fine. Heartbreaks are horrible and you might feel this is the end of everything and cry and bawl. Do that, you need it but always remember, you will get over it. Heartbreaks heal and leave fond memories or long-lasting lessons, welcome both, they will help you.
These are only a few things to know before getting into a relationship. Most important is to understand that all relationships are imperfect and need work and that all relationships are valid but never underestimate your own feelings either.