5 Tips for Daters Who Want a Relationship
How to find ‘The One’ and make it last
Posted Aug 15, 2013
1) Work on yourself first. Everyone has issues to work though and improve upon. Growing up, we internalize patterns from our families of origin – some are positive and others are not. It is through our adult intimate relationships that these patterns are brought to light. We should recognize how our patterns are affecting our health and relationships, and replace maladaptive practices with better ways of thinking and doing.
I recommend that everyone take inventory of their attachment style using the link below. Attachment styles are socialized and changeable, but we can’t change our style until we learn the type we have. Style is important because it affects how we interact with friends, partners, and children. Once we’ve taken the assessment, we should have a goal of becoming secure (if you’re not already) and take the steps to achieve this goal. For example, read up on the characteristics of each style and practice the thoughts and behaviors associated with the secure style. Getting paired up with a secure partner will speed up the process.
3) Avoid early relationship pitfalls. Many people get into relationships that dissolve quickly because they rush through the initial stages. Given that every relationship is different, no rules apply across the board but some general recommendations can help things progress more smoothly. For example, the amount of time to wait before having sex with a new partner is not based on a set number of dates, but on making sure both partners feel comfortable and secure with each other.
Along these same lines, don’t disclose too much, too soon. In the early stages, little things can turn a partner off. Wait until they know you before you start revealing the intimate details of your life. It is also important to self-disclose reciprocally. So if your partner isn’t disclosing a lot at the outset, you shouldn’t compensate by revealing everything about yourself. And finally, avoid private topics like past relationships, family of origin issues, and personal problems. These can get revealed with time, as a partner gets to know you. Some people believe that certain topics should never get discussed in a relationship such as previous sexual experiences, because this information can lead to the demise of a relationship (or at least leave out the details, particularly if they have nothing to do with the present partnership). Everyone is different in terms of what they think should and should not be revealed. The important part is to disclose slowly, reciprocally, and be well-matched with your partner in terms of what you think should and should not get discussed.
5) When the time is right, put the relationship’s needs first. One reason relationships fail is because people put their own needs above the relationship. We live in an individualistic culture and are socialized to pursue personal goals and fulfillment. However, this mentality may conflict with relationship well-being. Of course, some circumstances require placing one’s own needs above the relationship such as when a person experiences abuse or when a partner is not equally invested in making things work. But in general, if both partners are putting the relationship’s needs first and making decisions based on what will benefit the relationship the most, they should find themselves in a rewarding partnership.
Links referred to in this article
Attachment style assessment: http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl
http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/AAMFT/ (scroll to TherapistLocator.net)