If you’ve been mature dating and have found someone you’d like to enter some sort of more meaningful relationship – congrats! – you need to ensure you stay independent as things progress. Sure, relationships are all about sharing meaningful connections as you get to know someone, but don’t fall into the trap of becoming too entwined too quickly.

A relationship should enhance your personality, not overwhelm it, so don’t take the dangerous path of co-dependency where you forget your friends and are unable to make plans without your new significant other. Follow these 7 tips to help you along your mature dating journey, and thrive as a couple with your new date:

Rule 1 – Be a good friend

Close friendships can tumble down the priority list as you move from getting mature dating advice into a new relationship. It’s all too easy to neglect your friends for the new person in your life, but is that really a good idea? You might be getting much wanted love and support from your partner, however, ultimately this is different to the support you get from your friends who have been part of your life for a long time.

Nobody can get everything they need from just one person so don’t relegate your friends to the bottom of the list; you never know when you might need to call on them. Make a point of seeing your friends frequently without your other half in tow, and check-in with them regularly. Make an effort to be there for them when they need you.

Rule 2 – Spend time alone

Make sure you make time for just you! While mature dating it’s likely your dates are at set times and locations, but once you’re in more of a relationship it’s often the case that you simply spend time happily in each other’s company.

This is a healthy part of any relationship, but a little solitude is sometimes necessary to collect your thoughts, completely relax or engross yourself in a hobby of your own. Me-time is incredibly empowering and prevents you from becoming stifled by a relationship that’s too close, too soon.

Rule 3 – Make Plans Without Them

Life is all about finding balance; from mature dating to learning new skills, to seeing your not-so-close relations! When you’re in a new relationship it’s tempting to include your new other half in all your plans, but it’s a good idea to do some things without them.

Shoot off with a few friends on holiday, visit your family or simply go for drinks with an old friend. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so don’t feel bad about leaving your partner to their own devices for a while – inevitably they’ll also fill their days with fun activities if you do.

Rule 5 – Stay financially independent

Before things get more serious and you think about moving in together, you need to make sure you remain completely financially independent. In mature dating, you’ll both have been surviving financially before, without each other, so there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue.

Of course, you’ll want to spend money on treating you and your partner for dinners, gifts, holidays away and other fun activities, but always ensure you’re comfortable and spending a manageable and sustainable amount. Differences in wealth or income are inevitable, but don’t get swept up into something unreasonable – your partner should respect your financial sensibility.

Rule 6 – Keep up your own hobbies and interests

Being in a relationship shouldn’t mean you have to give up things that are important to you. Don’t just replace hobbies and interests – which are quite likely to be a significant part of your life – with things that your partner likes doing.

Having your own thing to learn about, excel in or simply enjoy, is always very attractive quality, while mature dating or in a relationship. A bit of clever time management will enable you to get a fix of your favourite pastimes and still have energy and enthusiasm for joint activities.

Rule 7 – Trust your partner

As you’re scheduling some ‘me-time’ into your diary, encourage your partner to do the same. The fact that you don’t get clingy or needy when they want to spend some time with their friends or family is a sign of trust.

Don’t check up on them every five minutes when they’re out; give them their space and enjoy your time spent without them, as you hope they would. By the same token, don’t reach for your phone and sneak out to make a quick call home when you’re out with friends either!

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