1. Mingle with new people. Once you enter a serious relationship, you’ll be introduced to a slew of new people. Their parents. Their grandparents. Their cousins. Their friends. So get ready to socialize.
2. Care about someone other than yourself. If you adopt a puppy, you need to be willing to walk it, play with it, and feed it. And if you start dating somebody, you have to be willing to go out on dates, pay for cute little presents, and text from morning until night.
3. Tell everyone you’re taken. You shouldn’t refer to your partner as a friend. You shouldn’t hide your relationship status from the world. You should be eager to tell everyone about this amazing person you’ve found.
4. Compromise. It doesn’t matter how much chemistry you two have. There will eventually be an argument. When that happens, it’s better to have an adult conversation about the problem and compromise than to trade insults until your faces turn blue.
5. Stop flirting with other people. I don’t care if you have a “playful” personality. If you’re going to date someone, you can’t act inappropriately with other people. It’s not fair to your partner and it’s not fair to the people you’re leading on.
6. Set aside time for them. If you’re so busy with work that you don’t have time for any fun, you probably shouldn’t date. You need to make time for your partner, even if you only see them for a few minutes after you get off of work every other night.
7. Communicate. Believe it or not, your partner will want to hear about your day. If you keep important details hidden from them, they’ll be upset. You need to feel comfortable talking to them about everything–even the things you’d normally keep to yourself.
8. Be present. Even though you love your alone time, you can’t lock yourself away once you’re in a relationship. When you’re upset, you should talk to them about it instead of shutting them out. Really let them into your life.
9. Put in effort during sex. You shouldn’t get on your back and expect your partner to do all the work every single time you slip beneath the sheets. You have to put in your fair share of work. Otherwise, they might as well use their hand.
10. Try new things. If your partner has a hobby you aren’t really interested in, you should still give it a try. And if they love a show you hate, you should still be willing to watch it with them.
11. Help them out. You can do whatever you want at your house, but if you make a mess at your partner’s house, it’s only fair to help them clean up. Don’t force them to do all the chores when you’re practically living there with them.
12. Take the relationship seriously. If you have a fight, try to work through it. If they ask you about the future, give them a well-thought-out answer. Make sure you take the relationship, and your partner, seriously.