1. Meeting his mates
There’s a chance you’re going to get grilled, and an even bigger probability you’re going to be compared to his ex. But don’t be intimidated—or reach out for that third glass of nerve-calming vino. This is the opportunity to make your mark on his besties. Sex therapist Christina Spaccavento suggests, “Ask them about their work and interests. They’ll feel they can connect with you on their level, and you’ll be able to build a friendship with them.” So the focus will shift away from you to them, and away from your guy’s ex. Oh, and a bit of J-Law-style self-depreciating humour will score plenty of this-girl’s-so-damn-cool points. You, 1. Ex, 0.
2. On a date
If you really want to knock his socks off and outdo his former flame, take control of what you guys get up to. “Take your man on a date you’ve organised,” says Spaccavento. “Look after all the details from transport to location to payment, and let him bask in being spoilt.” But this doesn’t mean taking him on a trip to an after-work Ellery sale. Try rock-climbing, tandem bike riding or camping (warning: pit toilets may be involved, but it’s not the end of the world). It’ll be the end of the memory of your beau’s ex-love. Oh, snap.
3. Impressing his folks
Nothing makes things more official, or more gut-wrenchingly daunting, than meeting your boy’s parents. Especially if there’s still a big (blonde and beautiful) elephant in the room. But you can own this situation—even if there are, ahem, pics of his past love hanging in his parents’ hallway. Spaccavento explains, “Parents love to know their son’s partner is well-presented, socially capable and loves their son. So when you meet his folks, go all out in turning on the charm and showing your best attributes.” The thing is, your man is into you, and his parents will be too, if you show off your awesomeness with pride. Your pic will be hanging on their wall (and over hers) in no time.
4. In the bedroom
All right, so this stuff can be tricky but, as Spaccavento explains, by taking the reins in the boudoir, you can leave a unique, lasting impression on your guy. “Take an interest in his sexuality by asking him about his sexual needs, fantasies, preferences and anything else that tickles his fancy, then surprise him!” she says. While this doesn’t mean you’ve got to pull out the whips, chains and 50 shades of kinky business (sorry, Christian), it goes without saying that you should never do anything you’re not totally cool with. Confidence and being comfortable is key, not to mention sexy.
5. Your first fight
Fact: You and your man-candy will have a run-in at some point. But this gives you a shot at setting yourself apart from any girl he’s ever had a verbal biff with, by remaining cool and collected. “Why not show your boyfriend superior conflict-management skills?” suggests Spaccavento. “When things get heated, call a ‘time out’. Set a time and place to meet again and then calmly talk about it.” The major blow-ups he had with his last girlfriend will be replaced by your ability to keep the peace—despite your desire to plant your size-7 stilettos up his derrière.
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Text: Ellie McDonald