What to Expect in Your First Serious Relationship

A man and a woman dating in their first serious relationship
Your first serious relationship will be a mix of emotions: excitement, nervousness, and utter joy.

It’s official!

You’re now committed to your first serious relationship and you’re completely head over heels in love.

Excitement and utter joy burst in your heart but at the same time, nervousness and fear make your knees tremble as questions race through your mind.

What now? How do you go about this relationship with your first boyfriend or girlfriend?

It can feel like stepping into unchartered territory especially if you’ve been single for some time or have only had casual dates.

This time it’s different and you want to make it right.

To help you navigate through this new and thrilling journey, we’ve listed nine aspects of change, expectations, and needs that you will face in your blossoming relationship.

You will be going through different stages as you build your relationship and each couple will have a unique adventure but these major points will help you be prepared as you take your first step.

1. Time Management

As a single person, maybe you’ve been highly independent and in control of your life, especially your time. But that changes once you get into a serious relationship with your first boyfriend or girlfriend. Your time isn’t all for yourself any longer.

You’ll plot your schedule with your partner in mind and often you’ll have to give up some things to prioritize them. That might mean fewer nights out with friends and less time by yourself.

Even if you wish you could spend all day with them, reality hits and the best you can do is manage your time well. Quality time is what counts in the end.

2. Enjoy!

Being in love is a wonderful experience. Enjoy your firsts in a relationship, from first date, first kiss, first trip, first movie, and everything in between.

Don’t be pressured by expectations or be discouraged by mishaps. Just be yourself and take things as they come. Take time to be comfortable with your new partner and have fun. Rosy days are not every day, so make the most out of them.

3. Develop Communication Skills

An indispensable crash course for your first serious relationship is Communication 101. Communicating effectively and respectfully is one of the most needed skills when committing yourself to a partnership.

Simply sharing how your day went, and expressing your feelings and concerns is part of communication. You will also have things to agree or disagree about, misunderstandings, and mistakes that will need discussion.

Developing empathy, listening well, and understanding each other’s way of expression will go a long way in keeping your relationship healthy.

A woman drinking tea with her first boyfriend
Committing to a serious relationship with your first boyfriend is an important stage in your dating life.

4. You’re Still Getting to Know Each Other

You may feel like you’ve finally found your soulmate and everything is in sync. But suddenly, you discover their favorite band is your hatest or that they have a mannerism that is your worst pet peeve.

It dawns on you that they are not exactly who you thought them to be. Instead of sounding the alarm, keep calm and realize that you don’t know everything about them yet.

It will take a lifetime to know each other deeply in all your complexities. Your partner is a great mystery that you are just starting to unfold, and so are you for them.

Spending time together, sharing stories, and experiencing different ups and downs will help you appreciate and love each other more. Over time, you’ll be able to accept and live with each other’s differences. What an adventure that would be!

5. Fights and Misunderstandings

When you’re at the honeymoon stage in your first serious relationship, everything feels perfect and you’re almost convinced that nothing could ever go wrong. Except that it does and that’s normal.

You will have your bad days and your relationship will have its share of storms. Quarrels and misunderstandings, from small annoyances to major issues, will be a regular ingredient in your growth as a couple.

This is where communication, acceptance, and the practice of forgiveness prove to be crucial. Without these tools, it will be difficult to resolve fights, whether petty or not.

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6. Be Prepared for Challenges

Aside from misunderstandings, what happens in a serious relationship are challenges. When you’re just starting out, there’s so much room for you to grow and that usually happens through overcoming trials.

You may have temptations to be unfaithful to your commitment. Career or family may get in your way and push you to make radical choices. You might have to be separated by distance or time because of work or studies.

Whatever challenges there may be, know that they are inevitable—not to hinder your happiness but to allow your love to flourish and for you to grow individually. Some of these challenges might be your relationship firsts, but they’re necessary to know if yours is truly for the long haul.

7. Gifts and Surprise Dates

Romance might feel natural when you still can’t get enough of each other. But it can also be an excuse to take for granted intentional sweet gestures.

Effort is what makes a relationship work and it is needed especially to express your love. You can give them gifts even when there’s no occasion or add a surprising twist to your regular date night.

Knowing you are loved not just through words but actions gives one exceptional joy and a sense of security that solidifies a relationship.

A man carrying flowers to a woman
Efforts to make firsts in a relationship romantic and memorable will truly be appreciated by your partner.

8. Keep Watch for Red Flags

Even if you’re madly in love with your first boyfriend or girlfriend, emotions will die down at one point. You’ll then be left with the reality of who your partner is, both the good and the bad. Be objective about their behavior, especially those that show hints of abusive tendencies.

When emotional, mental, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse are present in the relationship, it’s better to get yourself out sooner rather than later.

9. Make Time for Interests Outside the Relationship

One of the pitfalls of the honeymoon phase is putting your partner at the center of your universe. It might feel like they’re the only ones you need in your life and your happiness depends on them but that’s actually one of the biggest lies of romance novels.

Your partner is your most intimate companion but in the end, they alone would not satisfy you. You need to have balance, keep your own space, and develop healthy relationships with others so you can love well.

Encourage each other to pursue your own interests and hobbies, meet friends and family, and have regular me-times.

Don’t be afraid that your first serious relationship will be doomed because of spending a reasonable time away from each other. Doing so will enrich each of your individuality which will eventually benefit your relationship.

Falling in love is a rich and mysterious adventure. Even more so when you truly commit yourself to someone special. These nine points are not comprehensive but being familiar with them can help you navigate your first serious relationship.

There will be changes, surprises, smiles, and tears along the way. The journey won’t be perfect but it will be worth it. So saddle up and prepare yourself for the romantic ride of your life.

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