The saying goes that there is a first time for everything and, as we all know, dating is no different. Almost everyone will, at some point in their life, have a first crush, a first date, a first relationship and a first time… doing other things.
However, when all these firsts happen will differ from person to person. Not everyone makes their way into the foray of dating and relationships at the same time and so, occasionally, you might find yourself dating someone whose experience is far less than your own, or perhaps even non-existent.
So, what do you need to think about when dating someone who has never been in a relationship?
They will probably be scared
Getting into a new relationship is scary even for those of us who might have been lucky enough to have few, but for a newcomer to the world of dating, it’s likely to be terrifying. Most people will be scared of doing or saying the wrong thing or might even not know how to process the way they feel at certain times. Love is a complex and overwhelming sensation and so it can really send people’s heads spinning.
The other thing to note is that relationships in the real word and the relationships people see in movies and books are completely different. People going into their first relationship might have built up ideas and notions from these fictional romances that will be incompatible with real life. This can be disappointing, but more importantly it can simply be jarring and scary.
Try to take these things into account when dating a newcomer to the world of relationships. However, there’s no need to cut them too much slack. While it’s worth be sympathetic to their feelings and fears, there is still no excuse for misbehaviour on their part. Be kind, but don’t let them get away with not being the partner you need just because they’re a first-time dater.
You may have to teach them how to be in a relationship
As we already mentioned, relationships in the real world aren’t quite the same as the ones people see on the silver screen or in their favourite romance novels. Real relationships require hard work, dedication, communication, and a whole list of other things that some people may not realize or may not know how to do properly.
It is not your responsibility to tutor a person in dating like they’re your full-time student, but if you’re in a relationship with someone who is new to dating and you would like to carry on seeing them, then you might find yourself having to explain a thing or two. Again, you shouldn’t have to teach your partner how to be a decent and loving person, but you might find that they are more nervous about public displays of affection, or that they’re unsure of what to call you when around other people. These are small issues that can usually be solved by a little loving encouragement and guidance.
They might go too fast or too slow
Getting into your first relationship is usually too things – scary, as we’ve already mentioned, and exciting beyond belief. Depending on which of these two powerful emotions wins out over the other, there’s a very real chance that someone going into their first relationship will rush things due to excitement or take things suuuuuper slow because they’re frightened.
This is a tricky situation to sort out.
Let’s break it down.
What to do if they’re going too fast
Let’s make one thing absolutely clear, if you tell someone that you’re uncomfortable with how the relationship is going, their response should always be concern and a willingness to change things. If you sit your new partner down and tell them how you feel and they get defensive, angry, or annoyed, that’s probably a sign that they’re not right for you.
If, however, they do want to change, then things might work out. They might be sad or nervous that they’ve done something wrong, but try to explain how you feel and then discuss together how to do things better going forward.
To be honest, the right thing to do with someone who is new to dating is exactly the same as the right thing to do with someone who has been in a hundred relationships – communicate. You might just have to support the newcomer a little more through the process.
What to do if they’re going too slow
Take a guess…
Yep – talk to them.
The process is pretty much the same here, except that the chances of there being a negative reaction will usually be lower. People go slow in relationships because they are sacred, so there is a good chance that a simple conversation and a bit of encouragement will be enough to solve the problem.
Having said that, if you bring up the issue and the person you are dating says that they aren’t comfortable moving any faster, then its important to respect their boundaries and figure out how you can both make the relationship work. If you find that you can’t reach an agreement, then maybe it’s not working out. It’s always better to leave a relationship than force someone into a position that they are uncomfortable with, after all.
In the end, communication is key
When you do something for the first time, there are bound to be things you don’t know and questions you want answered. Dating is no different. So, if you’re dating someone who is a first-timer in the relationship world, just be prepared for your partner to go on a bit of a learning curve. As much as possible, try and ride that wave with them and, hopefully, you’ll come out of it stronger than ever.
Make sure to talk to them, encourage them, and be open and honest with them. But also expect the same in return. Just because you’re dating someone who is new to romance doesn’t mean that the relationship should be one-sided. Try to get into the habit of communicating well and regularly with each other on an equal footing, and then build the relationship up from there.