Mutual respect is one of the most important foundations for a strong, healthy relationship. Respect means seeing each other as equals, treating them with dignity–even in conflict, empathizing with their needs, trusting them, and giving validation. This should be afforded to both partners.
I CAN’T SAY THIS ENOUGH! Communicate about what you’re experiencing and what you need. Listen as your partner does the same. A calm, rational approach to communication can eliminate a shitload of fighting and drama. Practice non-threatening behavior, negotiation, and fairness. Keep each other on the same page and create an open environment to talk about issues as they come up.
I see a tendency in younger relationships to become isolated from the world once you have a relationship. The two spend every hour together and many sacrifice fulfillment in other parts of their lives because it has been replaced by a new love. Alternatively, try to keep a level head. Don’t cut off your friends and family–your partner isn’t going anywhere! Having a strong support system in life comes from a myriad of people you love, not just a single one. Moving at a steady, healthy pace will help you to savor each milestone of increasing intimacy and connection. There is no rush.
Provide support for each other’s ambitions, goals, endeavors, and day to day challenges. This is an important form of validation and generates positive esteem cycles in your relationship. Being a supportive lover helps to ward off (though won’t eliminate) negative emotions like jealousy and entitlement.
Have FUN! Relationships can bring love, wonder, and new learning experiences into your life for you to enjoy. Savor them! No relationship will be without challenge, however. There will be struggle, there will be conflict. Take time to work through rough periods, but overall, your take away from relationships should be primarily positive. If you are more frequently hurt, confused, or upset, reflect upon whether or not this is the relationship for you.