I trust that you all had a good thanksgiving weekend! Gratitude is one of the key components of wholehearted living, so I encourage you to practice it daily not just on special holidays and occasions.
This week we are carrying on with the topic of Dos and Don’ts when entering into dating relationships, and this article covers part 2 the Dos. It is generally much easier for people around us to offer opinions on the behaviours we shouldn’t engage in, but to see true change in these areas we have to know what we should be doing. These Dos are guidelines, not hard fast rules. They were also discussed in the second Rogers segment, which starts about 5 minutes into the interview that is linked below.
(Click picture to open video clip)
The do’s when entering into a dating relationship.
1. Do enter into relationships with a “probationary” period in mind.
We have likely all experienced a probationary period in one form or another. Most often we experience probationary periods when it comes to starting a new job, and they are usually 90 days in length. It is an exploratory period during which the employer assesses the new employees progress, skills, work ethic and character. During this time the new employee generally has to prove that he/she is a good fit for the company or team in order to earn benefits, a raise or other privileges that come with a long-term position. When it comes to relationships, we could largely benefit from approaching potential matches in this way. Refrain from developing expectations and hopes for the future with someone until at least two to three months have past, and you have had some time to get a sense of their character. Probationary period also implies that privileges of some sort are being withheld until it can be determined whether there is a good fit. You can guess where I am going with this; withholding the physical aspect will help your judgment from becoming clouded or distracted when trying to evaluate your compatibility with someone.
2. Do have a list of deal breakers when going into dating relationships
The idea of having a list of traits you want in a partner can be controversial. The type of list that I would promote is one that outlines specific values that you cannot live without, and deal breakers that you want to avoid. These are not superficial traits such as “must make over six figures a year” or “must have blue eyes,” it is more geared towards the characteristics that you feel you need in a partner. Things such as “supports my goals and ambitions” or “puts family before career.” These values and priorities vary from person to person but it is important that you are aware of yours so that you can have a good sense of what you are looking for. Therefore, make a list! But not of superficial traits, but rather things such as “makes me a priority” or “is considerate” …etc. Often we don’t communicate or discover our needs in a relationship until we are knee deep in one and our needs are not being met. Be proactive and take some time to brainstorm what character traits or values you place importance on.
3. It’s okay to take it slow
I understand that we live in a culture where things happen in a fraction of a second and we want turnarounds to happen immediately, but when it comes to relationship there is something very special about savoring the moment. We are always focused on looking forward to the next step and the next stage that we miss out on the moment we are in. Part of the excitement of a dating relationship is the anticipation and desire that comes with learning about and drawing closer to the other person. Our hearts pound, our stomach gets butterflies, and we get excited to have all kinds of first experience with that person. Those are very special times, ones that we will wish we had taken time to savor rather than rushing and bulldozing through them.
These are just a few of some of the many healthy approaches to dating relationships. What have you found has worked for you? What other ways have you learned to keep boundaries or manage your expectation when entering into a dating relationship? I look forward to reading your comments.
Ps: Next week I will be continuing my series on adult attachment styles, and will be discussing the secure attachment style. For a refresher (recommended) and a look at the previous articles in this series, please click here: Attachment Styles