Navigating the Dating Game
It’s all too common that people come to see us for dating related issues. There are a number of common issues that people bring with them such as:
- Confusion around how to connect to people
- Wanting more than a hook up or a fling
- Not knowing how to navigate online dating or dating apps
- Feeling rejected or unlovable
- Feeling used, hurt, let down when things don’t work out
- Suffering from grief or trauma due to date related abuse
- Feeling alone or isolated
These are just some examples. Even in the last couple of years the dating game has changed so much. Do I go on a blind date? Speed dating? Get hooked up by a friend?
The changes are in part due to the changes of society; the hurriedness of life, the difficulty of navigating connections in the digital era, the switch from local communities to global communities, etc. We have so much choice, so much variety, and even though variety is the spice of life it makes navigation hard. This blog is not a “what not to do” blog. There is no “right or wrong” but there are a few tips and suggestions made regarding the how to, based on psychological evidence of the effect of dating on stress and mood.
There are a few questions to ask yourself, about dating and if you can decide on some specifics to these questions and develop an ability to stick to your plans then the stress and grief associated to navigating the love and loss of dating can be reduced.
What do I want?
Firstly, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a date, or potential partner. Are you looking for a short-term connection, or a lifelong partnership? If the later, then this will inform you of a few things to look out for, where you look for a future partner will affect whether you find the person you’re looking for. Also, it’s important to communicate your intentions with the dates you are meeting to ensure that intentions are clear, this helps to stop emotional harm from occurring.
What values do I hold?
It’s important to be aware of your values. Values matter. By definition they are the factors you consider important in life. Living by our values leads to a feeling of connectedness and security, you will feel energy and vitality when living according to your inner compass. If your partner lives in a way contrary to your values you may feel conflicted, or discontent.
Some examples for you; if economy and savings are important, but they like to live extravagantly, or if you like hosting and connecting to people, and they like private dwellings. Or if adventure and fitness is important to you, but comfort and routine is important for them.
You can see how these values are not right or wrong, they are just different, but the difference really will affect connection in the long run, and it’s important to be aware of what values are important to you.
How is our communication?
Communication is a major part of a successful relationship too. It is an important skill to nurture in any relationship. Some keys to look for in a prospective relationship are:
- ease of being able to talk to each other
- ability to be honest and feel supported
- strength of listening skills
It’s also important to observe the other person in social settings to see if they utilise these skills in other relationships as well. How you communicate will shape the relationship for the entirety of the time you are with that person, you both need to be able to express yourselves and feel heard and understood.
Are we compatible?
A good question to ask is round compatibility, and this is long term compatibility, will we keep matching in a years time? 5 years time? 10 years time? Can I see myself growing old with this person? This compatibility is often determined by some foundational core topics, common beliefs, compatible life goals, compatible interests, and hobbies. Can I see this person as a mother/ father, do we even want children? if so, how many? Where do I want to live? The questions are endless, but it is important to check in around these questions to make sure that a foundational compatibility is possible between you both.
Do I have security?
A developing sense of security is important in a potential relationship. Does she demonstrate loyalty and respect? Does he make you feel safe? If there are red flags in this area, there may be potential hazards to avoid. If you notice behaviours that don’t sit well for you, it’s important to acknowledge them and not minimise them. Sometimes the fun of meeting someone and enjoying attraction means you can ignore or put up with behaviours which would otherwise be cause for concern. Keep your mind alert to pitfalls such as:
- controlling behaviour
- emotional manipulation
- put downs
- anger or aggressiveness
Those red flags are in my relationship, what do I do?
If you are concerned for your current relationship, you can call and speak with our intake counsellor about your options. It may be appropriate for you to access our services individually to navigate your concerns. Or you may benefit from couples counselling to further explore your worries and develop a stronger relationship together. We have a team of highly trained counsellors and psychologists that can support you wherever you are at with your relationship.