So you did it: you met someone, they stayed, even after they realized how “quirky” you are, and your cats like them. From single to taken, it feels strange but good. You’re ready to take it to the next level: a real relationship. You are committing to be with this person for as long as you are together. It could be for 5 months or 50 years – you don’t know the future.
Sounds kind of daunting? Of course it does. Transitioning for being single to being in a committed relationship can be rough on some; no matter how prepared they think they may be. It’s comparable to taking on a side job when you already have a full time job, or starting a new business plan when you already have quite the full plate.
Luckily, at TBR we are here to help. Given that taking on a new relationship is quite similar to taking on a new business, here are 5 savvy and sensible ways to transition from being single to being in a relationship:
1. Budget your time
Time is a commodity, and you don’t have a lot of it. Take on your budding relationship as seriously as you would a new side job or a small business plan.
If you are saying goodbye to your single days then you are in all likelihood saying goodbye to a certain amount of time – the time you spent doing your own thing. You probably won’t be getting through season two of Orange is the New Black that quickly, or remodeling your bedroom. You put a value on your time and spend it on what is important to you, and now a lot of it will go to your significant other.
If you care enough about someone to give up singledom, you probably care enough to reassign some of that time to them, as difficult as it may be. If you have 12 hours worth of activities or commitments to get done in 6 hours, how do you decide what gets done and what gets pushed back? People and activities that are important to you or your future take up time. You need to be prepared to reassign some of your time, even if your single friends are disappointed with not having a monopoly on your Friday nights anymore.
2. Treat it like a merger
This one is going to sound a bit callous but it truly will save you some stress later on down the road.
When companies merge, they have to think about the employees, liabilities, assets, and financial issues. Think about your relationship in a similar way. You’re becoming a “we” but have to make sure you’re not losing your individual identity and goals – while gaining certain benefits. What if one person is bringing in a lot of assets or, conversely, a lot of debt? It’s good to talk about where the lines are; who is dealing with what, and what is getting put under the “we” umbrella. Financial issues should be disclosed, as well as expectations.
If you or your partner has someone in your lives that is going to affect your relationship later on – like a crazy ex, judgmental parents, possessive besties, or a stalker- it’s best to be upfront right at the start, to prevent uncomfortable surprises.
3.Get your money right
Straight to the point: noone wants to be in a relationship with some one who can’t keep a handle on their sh*t. Those people are fun to party with, hang out with, maybe even casually date – but getting into a relationship with someone who hasn’t got a handle on their money just isn’t right. It may not be a business deal, but you’re still bound to get burned.
Would you want to be locked in with someone who parties away the grocery money and lives off no-name brand perogies for a month, or who is constantly scrambling to pay rent? Most of us will struggle with money at some point, but it’s a lot easier to deal with when it’s just us on our own.
Getting your money situation together, making a budget, or just living within your means makes a huge difference in your relationship, and your life in general. I once met a guy who drove a nice car, bought expensive clothes, and lived as though he made over six figures even though he didn’t make close to that. When it’s all smoke and mirrors it’s not as fun as it looks to be in a relationship with that guy.
4. Set boundaries and get on the same page
Depending on the individual personality types of yourself and of your partner, this may be a big conversation or a small one. Boundaries are important to people, but many of us often don’t realize they exist until someone crosses them.
If you grew up an only child in a dual income home, your personal boundaries are going to be a lot different then your partner who grew up with 5 siblings. You can save yourself hours of teeth grinding by simply telling your partner that no, you aren’t comfortable with them using your tooth brush or nail clippers. Making sure you’re on the same page about why these boundaries exist helps ease the conversation a bit.
Your relationship is just starting, so it’s probably not time for the kids and suburbs talk yet, unless one of you is in dire need of a green card or something . But seriously, topics related to religion, morals, values, culture, family, or sex should be discussed to ensure you are on the same page. That conversation is imperative to any new relationship.
5. Get a second opinion
Get a second opinion, and a third, and a fourth. Whether or not your new partner is relationship-worthy should not be a group decision, but getting the opinion of others is a great idea. Before you get serious with someone, introduce him or her to your friends and some family members.
Your friends and family know you well, and you might get a perspective you never thought of before. They can either give the thumbs up or share concerns over your decision and that’s what they’re there for. They may even shed light on something you hadn’t noticed or considered. Your soon-to-be significant other is likely going to be seeing a lot more of your friends and family, so it’s great if they get along, and awesome to get their stamp of approval.