Starting a new relationship? It’s a time filled with excitement, nerves, butterflies, and expectations. The beginning of a relationship plays a major part in whether it lasts. Effective communication, maintaining your own identity, and leaving the past behind are all important pieces of relationship advice to consider when embarking on a new relationship.

Don’t dwell on the past
There’s a fine line that can easily be crossed when discussing former lovers. Unless you are both completely comfortable with talking about it, leave the past just there – in the past. This includes digging around behind his back (hello, Facebook!). Just like you, he had a life before he met you. Consider previous relationships a stepping stone of unique experiences preparing each of you for one another. Focus on the present and future, rather than find reasons to not make the emotional investment.

Why rush?
Avoid rushing into the relationship too soon. A great first date does not automatically signal a serious commitment. Pushing boundaries too early shows signs of being clingy or possessive, whether it is true or not. It is okay to voice an interest in moving forward together without approaching it as an immediate necessity. Value your own time without your new partner and you won’t be so dependant on them.

Learn to adjust
Any longterm couple knows the value of mutual compromise. Nagging about irritating behaviours is not the best way to approach or deal with an issue. Explain the problem, such as leaving dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, rather than yelling at them as though they are a child. He may dislike the way you leave dishes in the sink overnight, where you do not see it as an issue. Both of you should put in an equal amount of effort and compromise. In the end, you may end up picking up his socks while he does the dishes every night. No matter what, a little compromise and adjusting is the sign of a mature relationship.

Communicate often and effectively
The silent treatment may have seemed to be an effective way to communicate anger when you were a teenager. But in order to make a relationship work, there must be effective communication between both partners. Speak up when there is a problem, and do not hold in frustrations until they boil over. At times that there is a real argument, stick to the real issue rather than nitpicking him as a person. No one wants to feel insulted or inferior to their partner due to poor communication. Respect each other, even during disagreements.

Don’t sacrifice yourself
A common mistake that many women in a new relationship make is adjusting for the man too easily. From pretending to like the same things like sports, to downplaying their own interests or goals, the key to growing a strong relationship is being yourself. And don’t forget your friends at the start of a new relationship, either.

What’s your best relationship advice for a new relationship?