Emotional Fitness

Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more

10 Things to Remember About Dating as an Adult

The more we know, the fewer frogs we have to kiss.

Some of your friends are telling you that it’s time to get back out there again, and all you can think of are the disastrous dates you’ve been on since you were newly single. These tips can save you from kissing too many frogs before you find your prince or princess.

 1. Always behave like a gentleman or a lady. Being a jerk won’t make a good impression. This should be simple, but people may behave immaturely if it’s been awhile since they’ve had to behave like an adult.

 2. Talk about yourself and share who you are. And encourage your date to tell you about himself or herself. Asking questions is the only way to get to know someone.

 3. Keep your emotions in check. Even if the person you are with gives you butterflies the size of jumbo jets, don’t let your heart run away with your brain. The feeling may be real, or just a moment of inspiration. Time will tell.

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 4. Meet the family. You will learn a lot about your date, and it helps to see what you may be getting yourself into. When you marry someone, you also get his or her family in the deal. Make sure you all like (or at least can tolerate) each other.

 5. Discuss your values and views on life, so you can learn about the other person’s likes and dislikes, and what he or she believes in. This is important stuff if you plan on spending some significant time together.

 6. Take your time. Love that heats up too quickly usually flames out sooner than you might like. The longer you spend getting to know each other, the better your chance for a good relationship. On the other hand, dating for years may not be the wisest choice. Find the right balance and don’t jump into bed too soon.

 7. Be attentive, but only if you feel it. Looking into someone’s eyes when you speak is very powerful, as is a light loving touch. Don’t push someone beyond his or her comfort level and don’t allow yourself to be pushed either.

 8. Connect daily. Talk, text, or e-mail. Your communications don’t have to be long, but daily connection will strengthen your relationship, and some great emotional support can come with it.

 9. Listen to your intuition. If you start to feel uncomfortable around someone, think twice about having a relationship. Check in with your emotions, no matter how attractive the other person may be. Your intuition and feelings will tell you what you need to know.

10. If you don’t feel what you need to feel, best to let the other person know sooner rather than later. Stringing someone alone is wasting the most precious thing you both have: your time.

Dating when you’re an adult is different than it was when you were young. The rules are constantly changing, and people have more baggage as they move along in life. Just do what you can to make sure that you are good traveling companions as you journey through the path of love.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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