I received this question from a handful of people this past week and figured I’d post my answer publicly.
“I’m really starting to fall for someone… and it’s been a while since I’ve been in a relationship. Is there anything I should be watching out for? Common traps that people fall into, etc.?”
There’s nothing like the exhilarating rush of new love. Your brain is being flooded with huge hits of happy chemicals and it can feel like you’re high around the clock.
What are they doing? Are they thinking of me right now? Whatever they’re doing, I hope they’re happy. What would we fight about long term? Am I already being too clingy? How do our names sound together? Should I not have texted them that thing yesterday? Where would our ideal vacation be? Do they like the same hobbies as me?
Our minds run rampant doing mental gymnastics about our new love interest.
To help you keep your feet (somewhat) grounded during this new and exciting phase, here are three things to remember when you’re falling in love with someone new.
1. You’re allowed to be excited
Yes, you are going to be distracted as thoughts of them race through your mind… and that’s totally fine.
Going into a new relationship is an exciting transitional period. You’re allowed to be happy/giddy/distracted/joyful about it.
Instead of resisting it or trying to rationalize it, embrace it. Let the excitement run its course through your body. Every emotion you experience is there for a reason, and this blast of excitement is likely there to teach you that “This one matters. You care about this one. So lean into it.”
2. You’re allowed to feel some anxiety
Along with the rush of excitement that comes with a new love interest, you’re also likely to feel some combination of nerves and/or anxiety.
Opening up to a new partner can trigger a lot of fear, worries, and anxiety in people. Maybe you worry that they’re too good to be true, or that they won’t like you back. Love is a risk… it always is.
And just like the excitement we just touched on, you’re also allowed to embrace the anxiety. You can welcome it into your body and tell it “You have a home here. Thank you for looking out for me.” That’s not to say that you’ll necessarily want to let that emotion run your mind and all of your thoughts… but there’s no point in denying its existence in your body.
3. Don’t let your life fall to the wayside
Some people have a tendency to drop their friends, family, obligations, and interests when they start seeing someone new. I understand how seductive this pattern is (after all, you want to see them/touch them/taste them all the time!) but it isn’t serving you or the building of your budding relationship’s foundation.
It’s important to keep doing the things that make you happy that aren’t tied to your new significant other. If 100% of your emotional fulfillment comes from your new partner, you could eventually start to resent them for taking up so much of your time and they could begin to feel stifled by you, knowing full well that they provide the majority of your happiness. We all need multiple pathways to joy and fulfillment… and while there’s nothing wrong being with a partner who you feel happy to be around, you should also experience joy from other sources in your life.
If this point is particularly difficult for you, proactively reach out to one or two of your closest friends and explicitly tell them “Hey, I’m starting to fall for this person and I want to make sure that I keep being me and I don’t get completely sucked into it… and I also value our friendship and want to continue to invest in it. Can you help keep me accountable to hanging out with you every week or two, just to make sure that I’m not just spending time with (your new love interest’s name)? That would help me out a lot.”
Keep doing the things that make you you, and keep seeing the people who you feel lit up by (in your relationship with your significant other and outside of it)… and your relationship will thank you.