What Happens In Your First Serious Relationship

When you begin your first serious relationship, it is important that you pause long enough to recognize that this new partnership is an accomplishment. All relationships require learning, growing, changing, and questioning. But your first serious relationship is especially overwhelming. It may be the first time you think about having kids. It may be the first time you imagine being monogamous or settled down. It may be the first time you no longer imagine a future solely for yourself.

From sexual awakenings, to a new understanding of the love you deserve, to finally feeling secure and safe during a ~lover's quarrel~, your first serious relationship can be beautiful. It helps teach you what relationships look like, and helps you discover previously untapped emotions. Allowing yourself enough vulnerability to trust another person to that extent requires great strength.

This list isn't really focusing on the less exciting aspects of your first serious relationship. Yes, you may cry a lot because you are simply feeling a lot of things. Yes, you may get nervous when you commit to another person for the first time. But you will also experience a second home, a new confidence, and a new best friend. Here are a few things that happen in your first serious relationship:

1. You Start Organizing Your Schedule To Regularly Make Time For Another Person

This is the first major life change that you will experience when you enter a serious relationship (assuming it isn't a long-distance one). Suddenly, you have to prioritize another person in your life if you want the relationship to grow and your partner to feel important. You can't flake out on dates, you can't only go out dancing with your friends, you can't spend every night as a homebody. When you have a busy work week, you will want to give your one free night to your partner — instead of your friends or your laptop.

2. If You Are In A Relationship Where You Have To Think About Unplanned Pregnancy, You Consider Different Birth Control Methods

If you are a woman in heterosexual relationships that have so far only been casual, you may only use condoms as a birth control method. Since you may not be monogamous and thus would already be using condoms to practice safe sex, you decide not to use any hormones or long-acting reversible contraceptives (like IUDs). When you enter a serious relationship (that's also monogamous), it may be the first time in your life when you are prompted to consider a birth control method that allows you to ditch condoms.

3. You Become Comfortable With The Term 'Partner'

For some folks entering their first serious relationship, it can take a minute to get used to calling somebody a 'boyfriend,' 'girlfriend,' or 'partner.' Plus, in those early stages of dating, it can be pretty awkward figuring out how to introduce that special person to your friends. But in your first serious relationship, you are no longer uncomfortable giving that title to someone in your life, and you are confident that is their role in your life.

4. You Aren't As Weirded Out By PDA

Some folks really can't stand public displays of affection. A makeout sesh at a bar — or even holding hands on a busy street for more than five minutes — can make them feel self-conscious or uncomfortable (and there is nothing wrong with that, by the way). But sometimes, when people enter their first serious relationship and discover a kind of intimate connection that they haven't yet experienced, PDA can feel like a necessary aspect of expressing one's newfound love and excitement.

5. You Leave Things At Each Other's Homes So You Can Spend The Night More Easily

This coincides with a serious relationship since it is a precursor to moving in together. Allowing another person to leave extra clothes, face wash, a toothbrush, etc. in your personal space means that you've decided you want this person integrated into your daily life. Their personal belongings aren't clutter, but things that you want around if it means that your boo can be around more often, too. You likely won't experience this feeling of a "second home" — to the point of having a personal drawer in another person's bedroom — with anybody besides a relative until you enter a serious relationship.

6. You Stop Worrying About Little Things Causing A Breakup

In more casual relationships, small tiffs or pet peeves can be extremely anxiety-inducing — does this mean your partner is going to ghost you? When you first find yourself not worrying about a disagreement over movie times ending your relationship, it will be a surprise and a beautiful relief.

7. You More Deeply Understand That You Are Worthy Of Love

We shouldn't require a relationship to know that we deserve love. But knowing that you deserve love, and actually experiencing the love that you deserve are two different things. When you begin your first serious relationship, it will be fabulously overwhelming. Realizing that you are capable of connecting with another person on so many levels — sense of humor, sexual chemistry, worldview, ideology — and realizing that you can make another person light up can be life changing, regardless of how the relationship evolves.

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