How To Build A Strong Connection With Someone You Just Started Dating

By Jessica E. Bennett|Updated June 17, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Audrey Kelly, LMFT

Being in a new relationship is an exciting time because there’s so much to learn about each other. The stronger your connection with someone is from the start, the easier it can be to overcome challenges along the way. It’s vital to build an environment of trust, honesty, and intimacy for a relationship to continue in the long run.

That said, it’s not a good idea to try to control the other person. Sometimes relationships simply won’t work, no matter how hard you try. Accept that not every person you date will be compatible with you or feel the same way you do in the relationship. These skills will be useful when you find someone who wants to help you build a strong connection and become your life partner.

Embrace Your Single Life

Developing Strong Connections Can Be Difficult
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The sooner you can be the real you around your partner, the sooner you can potentially form a deep connection. That means being okay with who you were when you were single. Just because you’re in a relationship now doesn’t mean the rest of your life needs to go on hold.

Oftentimes people who are happy being single are great in relationships. It reduces the relationship’s pressure if you have other interests and are fine without spending all your time with one person. If you depend on one person to entertain you and make you feel good all the time, it can eventually put too much strain on everyone involved.

Keep spending time with your friends, volunteering, and participating in things you did before you met your new partner. They can learn so much more about you when you’re willing to share other parts of your life. Ask them to join you every once in a while, and also be sure to participate in things on your own. They won’t love everything you love, but a respectful partner will support your interests.

Not giving up your life for them also sets boundaries. If you get together with your family every Sunday night, put your phones on silent, and play board games, keep doing that. It shows them that you take certain rules and traditions seriously. This example also shows that you care about your family. Having family as a core value is important to many people, and you’re not only saying it—you’re living it.

Of course, this goes both ways. Respect your partner’s boundaries as well and try to also support their interests. Even if you don’t want to participate in all of their hobbies, show a willingness to try new things. Showing interest, even if you don’t ever come around to it, shows that you care. There’s a lot you can learn about someone based on their interests.

Practice Open Communication

If you’re a quiet person, that’s perfectly fine! Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in the middle, you can make conversations work to your strengths. Here are a few ideas you can use to communicate more effectively with your partner.

Ask Questions And Give Honest Answers

For introverts, it’s often easier to listen than it is to do all the talking. Ask lots of questions and show your interest in what they’re talking about. Be curious about their past and their future. If you want to build a deep connection, getting to know them is a big step in the right direction.

Here are some questions you could ask:

  • What are your biggest dreams in life?
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are your favorite childhood memories?
  • If you could have three dinner guests, dead or alive, who would you choose?
  • What are your core values? And why?
  • What are your religious beliefs?
  • Who would you say has had the biggest impact on your life? And why?
  • Do you have a favorite hobby or sport?
  • What would a perfect day look like for you?
  • Where do you want to visit in the next ten years?

Even if your partner brings up topics you don’t know anything about, and you don’t know how to ask a question about it, you can use this little trick: All you have to say is, “Tell me more.” They’ll be able to fill in the blanks with the parts that interest them. This will give you a jumping-off point to ask more questions or change the subject if you don’t have anything to add.

Extroverts, on the other hand, will likely find it easier to talk. Share personal things about you that aren’t common knowledge. Share your dreams, desires, fears, and life lessons. The other person will appreciate learning about you.

Once you feel a little more comfortable, be sure to flip the equation. If you’ve done most of the listening, share things about yourself. Try to go into more detail than you might normally. If you’ve done most of the talking, be sure to ask about them. Let them talk without interruption.

Being able to share respectfully will start building trust. Even if they have different views than you, be open to what they have to say. You may not agree in the end, but if you’re able to disagree respectfully, they’ll take notice, and it goes a long way towards connecting on a deeper level.

It can be hard to open up if you’ve been hurt in the past. Don’t let those past experiences define your future. Even if your last partner was disrespectful when you were vulnerable and shared your feelings, that doesn’t mean this new partner will be the same way.

Body Language

Beyond verbal communication, physical or nonverbal communication is important as well.

Being open and receptive to another person requires you to be an active listener. Your body is a good indicator of whether you’re listening as well as you think you are. Often without thinking about it, our bodies are acting out our thoughts.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable in a conversation and want to tune it out, your body might show it. You may hunch your shoulders, slip back into your chair, and cross your arms. Faced with a threat, closing your body would be a realistic protective stance. Yet, other people will recognize and feed off it, even if they aren’t doing so consciously.

2012 study found that people are more likely to act when they see other people in “emotional” poses. Participants in the study were shown pictures. Some were of landscapes, some were of people in static poses, and some were in emotional, active poses. The participants’ hand muscles were observed as the pictures were shown to measure their motor response. Seeing other people in an emotional state primes us for action.

The more positive and relaxed you can be in any interaction with your partner, the better. That doesn’t only apply to fights. You haven’t known each other for very long, so you might still feel nervous around them. The more you use calm, positive body language, the calmer you are likely to look and feel. The way we look on the outside does have a big impact on how we feel inside.

Here are a few positive body language signals you can use:

  • Smile
  • Make eye contact
  • Nod
  • Have good posture
  • Uncross your legs
  • Uncross your arms
  • Face towards them
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Relax your hands

Connecting with a new partner is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Not only does your body language matter in the physical aspect of that equation, but it also matters how you interact with your partner’s body too.

Respect Their Body

Even the lightest touches can say a lot about how you feel for someone. A light kiss on the cheek, brushing your legs together under the dinner table, or holding hands are simple acts of affection that can go a long way towards building a strong bond between the two of you.

The elephant in the room when talking about respecting bodies is respecting boundaries. For some people, touch is more important than it is for others. Ensure you are both consenting to any contact. They might not feel comfortable with PDA (public displays of affection) or much touching in general. Relationships are built on trust, so you will build a bond faster by respecting their boundaries, even if there isn’t much physical touch going on.

The way you talk matters as well. Texting and digital communication are relatively new inventions that we haven’t necessarily evolved for. So much nuance can be missed in a text or DM. The more you can talk to your partner in person or over the phone, the better you can understand each other. The inflection in our voice can tell a lot more than our words alone. Especially if you must have a difficult conversation, do so in person as often as possible. At the very least, call them on the phone.

Communication is a visceral experience. We hear our partner’s voice, see their body language, and feel their touch. The more you can keep communication a visceral experience, the stronger your connection can be.

Lighten Up

Relationships are important keystones of our lives, but that doesn’t mean you have to take them so seriously. Romantic relationships can be the most uncertain type of relationship for many people, but that doesn’t mean you have to take the fun out of it. By opening up and being yourself instead of making sure everything’s perfect, you can strengthen the connection with less effort and more fun.

Let Go Of Control

Allow your partner to be their authentic selves. It can be hard to accept the unknown, and some try to control everything they can to eliminate those feelings of uncertainty. Learning how to deal with that discomfort and stop controlling everything may allow the relationship to flow more organically.

The fewer expectations you put on your relationship, the less pressure there will likely be. You can practice letting go of control by trying something new together once a month. It can be as simple as going to a new restaurant to something more involved, like a weekend adventure. Trying new things together will make you feel more connected. Those places will be attached to your partner and the memories you made together. And while you’re trying new things, you’ll have more to talk about.

Nothing stays the same for long, so you might as well embrace the change. Challenging yourself in this way will make it easier to cope with unexpected changes that you didn’t plan for.

It’s also good training for when you start to notice your partner’s bad habits. You’ll be more open to accepting them. That can be a game-changer for your relationship. We all have bad habits. You’ll have to distinguish whether your partner’s bad habits are ones you can live with or whether you might have to go your separate ways. Not all relationships work out, but the work you do to build a connection isn’t wasted. You’ll learn how to build a connection for the next time and have a better sense of what exactly you are looking for. It can also make goodbyes easier if your relationship is built on trust and respect.

Be Silly

Developing Strong Connections Can Be Difficult

While it’s necessary to talk about your future together, not every conversation has to be so serious. A lot of people value their partner’s sense of humor. Make time to laugh together and see where that takes you. Your relationship should be celebrated. What’s a better way to celebrate than to laugh and enjoy each other’s company?

You can ask things like:

  • “Would you rather” questions (e.g., “Would you rather have one get out of jail free card or a key that unlocks any door?”).
  • If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
  • What cartoon character do you relate to the most?
  • What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
  • If you could have any pet, what animal would you choose?
  • What would your superpower be?

Having lighthearted conversations can make your partner look forward to talking to you and spending time with you. The more positive you can make every interaction with them the better. Just be yourself, and the rest will fall into place.

Engage In Friendly Competition

What friendly competition means is to engage in play. Do you both enjoy playing baseball or board games? Have you ever played in a game of chase or tag? As long as the games stay lighthearted, competition can add some fun variety to your relationship.

You can use play to get the laundry done by seeing who can fold their clothes faster. Or you can use it to discover new hobbies you enjoy doing together. It could even be a private joke between the two of you. One study found that couples who secretly played footsie under the table felt a stronger attraction for their partner than those whose game of footsie was not a secret.

While the highs you get from playing a secret game of footsie or chasing each other across the yard are short lived, those short-term feelings can be the catalyst for stronger feelings. Keeping things fresh and new in your relationship will help you get to know each other better and grow closer.

How your partner reacts to competition can also tell you a lot about their character. The strongest married couples tend to be happy for their partners when they achieve their goals and support them through their losses. On the other hand, couples who are less likely to stick together are ones who tend to only care about their partner’s achievements if they’re also relevant to themselves. They may also be more likely to gloat when they outperform their partners.

Make Adjustments

Learning to connect with your partner can also be a tool to connect with yourself. When you learn how to be there for them, it can make you a better person. You start to acknowledge when you’re judgmental or stubborn. You learn how to make compromises without getting in as many fights and being a better friend.

Connecting with your partner isn’t a one size fits all equation. Everyone has their preferences and personalities. The more time you spend with them, the more you’ll pick up on them. Strong connections aren’t built overnight, but they can be more likely to grow faster with more love, effort, and attention.

Reach Out For Support

If you find yourself having trouble forming a connection with a new romantic interest, ReGain is an online therapy resource that can help. Fill out a short questionnaire, and you’ll be connected with an experienced therapist who fits your needs. The licensed therapists at ReGain can provide you with insights into your partnership and tools to better communicate. Consider reaching out to a ReGain therapist and get started on the journey to more fulfilling relationships.

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