New relationship must-dos

Sep 21, 2011 at 11:45 a.m. ET

New relationships can be fragile. They're full of passion and excitement, but they also involve a learning curve no matter how many couples you've previously been part of. To help you navigate the unknown territory of new love, we've put together some helpful tips aimed at making your relationship last. Read on to get the goods on our top four new relationship must-dos.

couple taking on couch

1Learn to compromise

Everyone likes being right but always wanting to have the last word and never being willing to give in can seriously hurt your relationship. That's why learning to compromise is the first – and most important – item on our list. At its core, compromise means coming up with a solution that works for both of you. It may not be ideal and you still may rather go the route you were originally angling for, but if you each give a little (rather than digging your heels in), you'll likely hit on a scenario that's acceptable and that doesn't leave one of you feeling slighted.

You can only compromise if you listen to each other and actually put some effort in to reaching a workable solution to the problem. If you need to take a timeout to calm down mid-argument, do it. The clearer your head is, the easier it will be to reach a compromise.

2Be honest with each other

Seems obvious, right? We've all heard the saying that honesty is the best policy, but it's not always easy to be open with your guy about everything that you're feeling. Honesty is important for two reasons:

It builds trust: If you hide things or don't tell the whole truth, it will be hard to stay connected.

It fosters good communication: Honesty means saying what's on your mind and letting your partner know how you really feel, whether it's good or bad. The more you can communicate openly, the better your relationship will be.

3Don't ditch your friends

When you're in the beginning stages of a new relationship, it's easy to forgo spending time with friends in favor of just hanging out as a twosome. While quality time spent together is essential, shutting down your social circle just because you're now a couple is not recommended. Friends make life fun regardless of whether you're in a relationship, and it's important to continue seeing friends (both your own and any mutual pals you and your man have). Friends offer comfort, distraction, perspective among many other beneficial qualities you shouldn't take for granted.

4Remember it's OK to argue

Once you have your first big fight it can be easy to feel like you're not as compatible as you first thought or that something is wrong with the relationship. While it may eventually come to light that you're not meant to be, do know that every couple argues and that it's a perfectly normal part of being together. Disagreements happen but it's how you handle them that matters. Here's our quick guide to follow:

  1. Stay focused on the issue at hand.
  2. Listen to each other.
  3. Ask yourself whether it's worth getting worked up over. If it's not, drop it.
  4. If you feel yourself getting heated, take a time out.
  5. Try to find a solution rather than walking away angry.

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