As a neuroscientist, I am fascinated by mental health, consciousness and perception, as well as the psychology behind human relationships.
1. Comparing Your Body to Hers
No two women are the same; we all possess different physical compositions, with our bodies all striving to maintain homeostatic balance and keep us at our healthy set-weights. While observing differences between your girlfriend's appearance and yours may help you embrace feminine diversity, you may find yourself holding her on a pedestal and striving to be more like her.
Whether she is more curvy, taller, or leaner than you, you must a). reject intrusive thoughts regarding this disparity between you and her and b). never make self-deprecating comments about your own body.
Doing these two things will not only hardwire a problematic belief system into your subconscious regarding food and your 'ideal' physique, but it will also ruin the magic of the relationship. If you allow the psychological 'game' of her having to constantly reassure you about your body image to become a feature in your relationship. You run a serious risk of unintentionally seeming like a younger sister to her, or a friend in need of guidance. She may not be able to pinpoint why things have changed, but she will sense a shift in the relationship if this dynamic introduces itself. Nip it in the bud!
2. Allowing Her to Become Your Best Friend
Tangential to the first point, it is imperative that you do not allow your spiritual and exciting connection with this girl to render her your "best friend."
In the world of heterosexual dating, where strong empathic connections are a little harder to find (given the less sharp emotional capabilities of men), women are instructed to look for a partner who also plays this role. However, the message being conveyed is, in reality, that they should find a boyfriend who they can relax with, have fun with, and trust.
Conversely, lesbian relationships are nearly always underpinned by extremely strong, intimate emotional connections that frequently have girls spending all their free hours together and making premature future plans. The last thing that you want to do is additionally relate to your girlfriend as if she were your childhood friend.
3. Losing the Mystery
Now, it is natural and healthy for the intoxicating, honeymoon-phase spark of dopamine and excitement to fade after a few months of dating. As the connection evolves and trust grows, you two will inevitably spend more time talking about slightly mundane things (and will have less sex). This is a consequence of your brain biochemically restabilizing itself; you are now more rational, and no longer "love-drugged."
However, even if you two now have regular sleepovers and favor spontaneous meals out over restaurant reservations, you should never lay everything out on the table for her to see. You want the relationship to mature and soften into something comfortable over time, but you should avoid accelerating this transition by telling her every single thing you're doing on your day off (down to your dentist appointment) or constantly talking to her about your period.
Never forget that people play games when dating because they work. While it is cruel to intermittently reward someone intentionally/be unpredictable in order to make them addicted to you, you will go a long way if you master the ability to control your flow of communication with her.
If you desperately want to share 10 songs with her, spread them over a few weeks and each one will seem a lot more special. If, following a party, you want to tell her about eight people that you met, describe three vividly, add a line like "I also had a few stimulating conversations with some other people" and leave it at that. The less she knows, the more she will ask; inspiring intrigue is the key to a fun long-term relationship.
4. Sharing All Negative Thoughts With Her
However often she tells you to share everything with her, your girlfriend is not your agony aunt nor your mother. That is not to say that you should withdraw personal information from her, but rather, that she does not need to know every tiny negative thought that enters your head.
By all means, share your deep concerns with her and allow her to help you problem-solve, but if she asks about your day, try and say something positive rather than complaining about a certain coworker for the fourth time.
Why? Because our opinions about people are dominated by input to our subconscious minds. Even if your girlfriend adores you and logically knows that the relationship is perfect for her, she will start to hold you in lower regard if you bring trivial or pessimistic comments to the table.
Even in the healthiest relationships, we feel safe and thrive with our partner because their set of personality traits fill some of our unhealed psychological wounds. These vary between people, but the majority of us seek people who have us feeling protected, emotionally-liberated and positive. Watch the mindset that you project onto your partner, as unnecessary negativity will not only irritate her on a conscious level but will have the primitive centers of her brain steering her towards seeking a new source of the light-heartedness that she used to feel with you.
5. Immediately Befriending Each Other's Friends
If you and your girlfriend overlap significantly on a psychological level, you may find yourself similarly drawn towards a few of her friends. One of the beautiful things about lesbian relationships is that there is (typically) less jealousy and possessiveness; it is unlikely that your girlfriend will be worried about you befriending her friends, whether they are queer or straight.
Women keep people in distinct mental categories more easily than men, and are less prone to directing romantic energy towards just anyone that they click with. Given this, it may seem very appealing and innocent to start considering her friends your 'platonic soulmates' just because they radiate energy that is not dissimilar to hers, or to add your girlfriend to your Whatsapp group with your friends from university.
However, there is a fine line between encouraging your friends to embrace your partner and risking losing a chunk of your own freedom. The platonic relationships that you entertain reflect your essence and are an extension of you, and you are a separate entity to your girlfriend. Remember that boundaries are of the utmost importance, even when the idea of enmeshing your world with your partner's seems harmless.
Susan Winters, a wonderful relationship coach
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Lucy