10 Ways To Put Your Best Foot Forward In Your Relationship

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How to be your best in a relationship, whether it's brand-new or old and comfortable.

3. Don't take relationship baggage out on a new partner. You've been hurt before. Newsflash: So has everyone else. It doesn't mean that you've figured out how all men or women work. You learned the hard way about one person whom you aren't dating anymore. Don't inadvertently punish a new partner for something someone else did. 

4. Show and tell. People want to hear "I love you," but they also want actions to speak louder than words. Is it cliche? Sure. But it's what we crave from the people we love, because we know know how difficult it can be to give, especially when--to use another cliche--the going gets tough. Make the effort. Take those actions you would want your partner to do for you. 

5. Be the partner you want. Speaking of show and tell, you can tell your partner how you'd like to be treated, but it's much more effective to model what you want. You'll also be able to take what you dish out. In fact, you'll want to.

6. Practice fighting. If you're going to be together, you're going to fight. There's no way around it. Practice safe and healthy communication when disagreeing, even about small issues. It'll come in handy in more challenging moments. "Partnership is a high-skills activity," says YourTango Expert Dr. Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist and founder of the interactive learning website, PowerOfTwoMarriage.com. "If you don't have the skills, you're likely to get hurt." 9 Things You SHOULD Say During A Fight — So You'll BOTH Win

7. Spend time apart. In a relationship, me time is just as important as we time. A partner isn't supposed to be a shadow. He or she is a separate person who needs to be happy as an individual, as well as part of a romantic union. Time apart cultivating your own passions and interests sustains mystery and gives you something to talk about. It also helps you maintain strong relationships with family and friends.