You’ve been single for the past two years. Loving life, hooking up with the guy from your math class with the Clark Kent superman glasses, going from casual hookup to causal hookup until – BAM! – it hits you like a ton of bricks. He hits you like a ton of bricks, and suddenly you’re not single anymore. You want to commit to this person but don’t exactly remember how to be a good girlfriend and have lots of anxiety about your new relationship. Here’s how to ease that anxiety and help you transition into your new way of life.

It’s Okay To Be Nervous

It’s okay to have doubts about your relationship and doubts about your ability as a girlfriend. You’ve been single for a while, doing you, and then suddenly there’s this awesome new person in your life. You don’t know how to act or are nervous that you won’t be the girlfriend they deserve. Totally understandable and common! There are probably a million doubts and negative thoughts running through your head. You’re worried you’re distracting him from his friends and he doesn’t like spending time with you. You’re worried that he’s settling. You’re worried that you won’t be a good girlfriend. The best way to calm those nerves is to be upfront with him. Talk to him about your anxiety and your insecurity. Don’t let your fears and doubts get in the way of your relationship. Be upfront and honest with him and he will likely do the same with you. Communication is key through the good times and the bad times.

This Isn’t A “Hook Up”

It’s so easy to stay in the rut of talking to multiple guys at once even if you already have a main hookup. Though it may be hard at first to cut ties with your old flames, it’s necessary. Your boyfriend probably will not be comfortable with you staying in contact with your former love interests, nor should you want to (unless your relationship is open). It’s scary to think about not having a backup in case you break up or losing all of your “black book” contacts, but it’s so necessary. You need to get out of the funk of the casual hook ups and accept the fact that you like this person and are committed to them.

Fights Are Natural

In a casual relationship, if your hook up annoys you it’s on to the next one. It’s not that easy when you’re in a more formal relationship. You can’t just break up with him after your first fight or the first time that sex is a bit awkward. Be realistic in accepting the fact that your relationship is not perfect. There will be times when disagreements arise and the best thing to do is accept that they are happening and move on from them. Don’t latch on to events and actions and use them when fights occur. Without being argumentative, stand your ground on issues and situations that matter to you. Fights happen, but too much fighting and disagreement can put a strain on any relationship. Try to develop a way to handle disagreements and fights that satisfies both of you.

Don’t Sacrifice Independence (Too Much)

Being single is awesome because you can literally do whatever you want when you want. You can have a beer at 10:30 in the morning or sit in your underwear until 5:00 in the afternoon. There’s nobody who can stop you from “doing you”. The hardest part about going from single to in a relationship is the realization that you are losing your independence. You probably will freak out when you realize that you have somebody to answer to and have to make decisions with somebody else in mind. However, you can still “do you” in a relationship. It’s tough initially going from “I” to “we” but once you get over the mentality, you can still have a lot of independence regardless of your relationship status. Talk to your significant other about boundaries and independence. They will likely tell you right off the bat what they feel is okay and what is not okay. Healthy relationships involve a healthy balance between personal growth and growth as a couple.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Compromise is the key in any healthy relationship. It’s important to understand that you can’t always get exactly what you want. There should be certain things that you are and are not willing to compromise on. Make these clear and always stand your ground on issues that matter to you. Learn to deal with situations as they come up in a respectable manner and keep in mind your partner’s feelings when reaching a compromise. A compromise should benefit both of you and should be made with both your interests in mind. It’s all about discovering what you are willing to compromise on and sacrifice. If you value communication and want to speak to your partner on the phone or see them every day, make this clear. If this might not be possible try to reach an agreement, whether that means seeing each other at least twice a week or texting your partner if unavailable to speak on the phone one day.

Your Past

Let’s be real. You’ve been single. Your friends are used to you bringing home guys or talking about failed first dates. Suddenly everything changed and now you’re committed to your partner. Though friends may give you a hard time about not being single anymore and settling down, ignore the hate. If you really like the person you’re seeing, you shouldn’t care about what anyone else says about you or your relationship. There will be people who may attempt to weaken your relationship and drive you two away from each other. Ignore the “haters” and stay positive. People will joke about your drunken moments or your past relationships. Your new man will probably find out about your Halloween hookup freshman year of college through your best friend and your thumb sucking habit that you kicked at age 12 from your mother. Accept the fact that he will learn about your past. If your partner wants to be a part of your future, they should accept the fact that the past is the past. They should laugh at the funny drunk stories and support you through the break up stories. You’ll learn about their past as well. Focus on making new memories together.

All In All

Though it may seem scary at first and you may think you have no clue how to be a good girlfriend, try to silence the fears and doubts. You’ve found someone who you love spending time with. Why let the anxiety ruin what could be a great thing? Try to leave behind past baggage and start fresh with this relationship. You’ve had a ton of fun being the single girl and can still have a ton of fun now that you are in a relationship. Though it might be an interesting transition at first, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and the person you are seeing. Stay calm, keep an open mind, and good luck!