What is dating? Based on life experiences, dating can mean different things for different people. Some people may see dating as a “getting to know you” process to pursue a relationship or spending time with someone to quail the feelings of loneliness or boredom with no intent to pursue a relationship. In order to have a successful dating life, one may want to consider the options described below as a way to date with a purpose.
It is imperative to understand the perception of dating when agreeing to date someone new. Is the individual dating in hopes of developing a long term relationship, possibly marriage, or is this person just looking for a new friend. Miscommunication about expectations in the dating process is the culprit that hinders the blossoming of a long term stable relationship. Do not be afraid to be honest about emotional or physical needs early on, as relationships should be built on trust and not the representative that is sent out on the first date to impress someone that may not be worth the time. It is ok to state that marriage is the end goal! Life is too short to spend time with someone that does not have the same life goals. Time is the one thing that can never be restored, so time should be spent wisely, to help eliminate future regrets!
Seek to understand what love “looks like” from the date’s perspective. Again based on life experiences, an individual’s idea of how love may be expressed varies as well. While this may feel awkward to discuss on the first couple of dates, having this discussion early on will help to understand emotional cut offs or betrayals when the relationship goes south. Often times, people become intimate without knowing whether this person is someone that will appreciate the beauty of the gift that is given during the intimate act. Understanding someone’s love process will provide enough information to make an educated decision on whether this individual is someone that is acceptable to date.
Dating does not mean intimacy! It is imperative to evaluate the actions, the intent, and the character of the person before sharing an intimate experience. The mood may appear to be right and the tension between the two may be overwhelming, but it is better to make a logical decision rather than base a decision on emotions. Emotions are fleeting, inconsistent, and may change every five minutes. The way that one may feel in the moment, can completely change by the next morning or the next minute that the intimate act has been completed! By not adequately assessing the person’s intent and character can lead to a devastating heartbreak. Healing from a bad breakup is more bearable when those intimate lines have not been crossed and one does not feel as if they gave of themselves to someone who was not worthy of their time.
For those future dates, being equipped with tools and knowledge will help to determine if an individual is placed is the serious dating pool or rather this person may just be considered a “fling”. At any rate, clarify the intent of the courtship and one should honor their time, as it can never be restored, discuss the person’s idea of love, and evaluate the character and intent of a new suitor before making a decision of providing an intimate moment!
Dr. Roselyn V. Aker-Black has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a freelance writer, life coach, psychological consultant, relationship expert, and owner of www.tildeathinfo.com, an interactive website dedicated to providing realistic relationship advice. If you would like to comment on this article or ask Dr. Roz a question, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org