So you’ve found yourself with the opportunity to take things to the next level. Congratulations! Now for the tricky part: Figuring out how to make this relationship a successful one full of mutual respect when you’re more used to raw emotional trauma. You’re determined to implement your personal growth and prove something to your friends and family, but it’s hard when all you have to look back at is a slew of obvious personal failings, friends with partners they hate, and divorced parents. But this time, you can start fresh despite having no lived experience in or around a healthy relationship. Here’s how:
See what other people are doing.
Take a look around. A lot of people are capable of having healthy relationships, how hard could it be? Observe them and take note of communication styles that vary from the ones you once knew (speculation and yelling).
Try talking out your fears of inadequacy with a trained professional and see where that gets you. You might actually learn a thing or two about how to move forward with your life and relationships, even though you haven’t borne witness to anything they’ll describe.
Unfollow early 2000’s nostalgia accounts that overly romanticize whatever it was that Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie had going on.
Seeing those pictures of them lip-locked and wearing each other’s blood in vials around their necks thing might seem super cute and romantic, but perhaps consider the possibility that you are micro-dosing mind poison every day by looking at those.
Be somebody else entirely.
You might have often been told by others to “just be yourself”. For once, try not doing that. Pretend to be someone who has a wealth of experience with relationships that absolutely rock. Fake it till you make it!
While having the opportunity to begin a relationship is exciting, remember that the ones you have had and witnessed were pretty much terrible and you should try a new approach. It’s hard to know what to do when you don’t have much to refer to, but if you try some of these tactics, you should be well on your way to a stable, loving relationship that you can actually maintain for weeks and even months to come.