Breaking Bad Dating Habits
Negative patterns are easily repeated—in life and in love—if they are not addresed head on. Here are some tips to help you nix bad dating habits and have better relationship dynamics...
Define what you’re looking for in a mate.
It can be helpful to write down a list of qualities that you want in a dating partner. Instead of focusing on superficial characteristics (like hair color or height requirements), list genuine qualities that are important to you (such as kind, humorous, thoughtful and caring). Along with ideal characteristics, identify “dealbreakers.” A dealbreaker might be someone who smokes, has a huge amount of debt, etc. Dealbreakers will vary from person to person, but you should not compromise on the things that truly are important to you.
Set some ground rules.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how we deserve to be treated in a relationship. Know before you go into a relationship what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Make sure you are spending time with someone who not only respects your boundaries, but also promotes your safety and well-being.
Re-evaluate where you tend to look for dates.
If you are limiting yourself to places like bars and clubs to meet a potential mate, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Though you are guaranteed a chance to mingle with many singles, they may not have the same goals or relationship expectations. Extend your search to your school, church or gym. Ask friends or family members if they could set you up with someone they know who may be a good match or try an online dating site. Both of these methods promote pre-screening any potential dating partners so that you don’t have to!
Maintain high standards.
In the past, you may have found yourself in a relationship with someone who was just not right for you or did not have the same expectations. Be selective. If you are thinking about settling down, avoid individuals that have a long history of casual affairs and don’t have the desire for a serious relationship. Remember that you do not need to compromise on what you want and need in a relationship.
Talk about commitment.
You should not assume that you are exclusive with the person you are dating unless you’ve had “the talk” to define your status. Don’t assume that you and your partner have the same expectations or that you are on the same page. If you can’t talk about commitment, you probably aren’t ready for it. Until you have made a commitment to one another, you are free to date others. At the time when you no longer have the desire to date anyone else, it is important to discuss exclusivity with your partner.
Take your time.
When you start dating someone who you think is special and with whom you would like to pursue a relationship, don’t rush things. Avoid sexual relations before you truly get to know the person. Getting intimate too soon may sabotage the relationship from developing in a natural way. Like friendship, relationships take time.
Don’t be afraid to break if off.
Too often people get comfortable with their dating relationship, even though they know something isn’t right. Don’t let the fear of being alone or back on the dating scene keep you in a relationship that isn’t good for you.
Sometimes we get so focused on finding “the one” that we forget to have fun in our dating adventures. Dating is a great way to meet new people, try new things and go places you’ve never been. Enjoy each new dating experience you encounter and avoid focusing all of your attention on end results.
Evaluate your current dating habits and get on the right track to meeting someone who shares common values and goals with you. And remember to enjoy yourself! If you know who you are and what your needs are, and communicate openly with your partner about your expectations, you will have the right tools to build a meaningful and lasting relationship.