- Having standards and boundaries is always important. You may ask, what exactly are standards and boundaries? Standards are your personal values—what’s important to you—and boundaries are the lines that you draw to protect those personal values. These boundaries protect you from unwelcome behavior. If you don’t know what your values are, I suggest that you invest time in finding out what is really important to you so you know how to handle different situations in your relationship with poise. For instance, what do you do when you agreed to a date at 8:00PM and the man shows up late at 8:30PM after he had called or texted you about his delay? Upon his arrival, after he explains how he got stuck in bad traffic, take his hand, look at him in his eyes, and tell him, “I understand, but I appreciate when people respect my time. Anyway, how are you?” Then engage in conversation by paying him a compliment, like saying, “I like that shirt you’re wearing, it looks good on you.” Don’t bring up his tardiness again, it won’t do any good to nag him about it. Let it go, and let yourself smile, laugh, and enjoy his company. Gently letting him know your boundary of punctuality shows him that you are a woman of character. Then he knows that in order to continue dating you, he will have to leave earlier next time. As a man, he wants your admiration and respect. There will be more things like that to discover in the relationship, so it is very important to set your boundaries when something doesn’t feel right to you or violates your personal code. Make sure that you communicate it in a clever and gracious way instead of a nagging or offensive way. Nonetheless, stay confident and assertive about your values.
- Invest time in self-care. It’s always important to take care of yourself, and it makes a difference when you make an effort to put your best foot forward. You can get a mani/pedi and make your hair and makeup look nice and put together. In my opinion, mascara is a must to make for good eye contact, which is very sexy. I love my lipgloss for goodnight smooches. It shows you care when you dress your best whenever you see your man. Don’t get too comfortable, like wearing sweatpants and flip flops, too early in the relationship. Make sure you always smell good. When you know you look fabulous, you feel good about yourself, and that self-confidence is sexy.
- Be open minded and choose to have fun. Be willing to go out and explore new things outside of your comfort zone. For example, go biking or have a picnic. You can experience culture going to museums, theaters, and operas. Take the initiative to share your hobbies with your man and try his out. If he likes baseball, but you don’t, take a chance and experience it with him. Don’t go with a negative attitude, but instead think about it positively and look forward to getting to be with him while he enjoys one of his favorite things. It shows that you are willing to compromise to make the relationship work. Then, he will be happier to accompany you to one of your special interests that might be new for him, like watching ballet or opera. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and good relationships need to be fed every day.
- Be kind to him and yourself. Stop criticizing yourself, especially in front of him. For example, don’t say things like I’m fat, I’m ugly, I don’t like my nose, my butt is too big, and so on. Avoid saying negative words, or even thinking them. When you are confident in being kind to yourself, you can support your man with kindness. Encourage him when he shares his doubts about his job or a big decision he has to make. You don’t need to tell him what to do, just give him affirmation that he knows what is best and that you believe in him. That builds trust and strengthens the bond in the relationship. Show him affection with eye contact and touch, holding his hand and giving him kisses and hugs.
- Prepare your man a special meal after you’ve already been dating for about two or three months. After he has taken you out to several lovely dinners, different events, and other dates, it is time for you to prepare a lovely dinner for him. It can be whatever meal that he and you like, as simple as spaghetti with marinara sauce and a good bottle of wine. Also, you could try cooking together—maybe he will help you to chop some vegetables and uncork the wine bottle. If you can’t cook, you can still make it a special meal by ordering his favorite food and serving it on a nicely prepared table with candles, adding a good bottle of wine. As you share your delicious meal, share both of your dreams and desires for the future. Enjoy each other’s company, and always remember to laugh and have fun!
Above: photography by Vincent Chavez
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