Friday, April 11, 2008

The Basic Steps to Dating

Today's column is the result of the numerous letters I have received from you asking for the basic steps to dating and developing a good relationship. For more in-depth information, take one of my classes and visit the other sections of my site.

Before you start dating:

  • Know yourself and what you have to offer a partner. Know your assets and your deficits and be okay with both.

  • Have an attitude. Your date or partner will only treat you the way you treat yourself and the way you expect to be treated.

  • Get clear about what you want and don't want in a partner. Make two lists - one of the top five characteristics that are deal-makers for a relationship and one of the top five deal breakers. Don't sell yourself short by settling for what you don't want just because you're afraid you won't get what you do want. Take that risk. Decide to go for what you do want and absolutely deserve.

  • Go out and date. Even though dating is really hard, don't give up. Most of us have had to kiss a whole lot of frogs and frogettes on the way to finding our prince and princess.

When Dating:

  • Keep that attitude about who you are.

  • Be authentic and available…all the time.

  • Go on every date as if it's your last first date.

  • Dating is a process. Don't try to rush it, because you'll short change yourself if you do. It takes time to really get to know another person. In dating, the process works best if you follow this sequence: date-relate-then mate. Unfortunately, too many of you do it backwards, and you set yourself to not only fail but to also get hurt. You meet someone, chemistry takes over and you start dating stupidly because you mate-date-then attempt to relate. In most cases, when you follow this dating sequence, your relationship is doomed. You jumped into the relationship too fast and too soon. It's better to spend time getting to know your partner's mind before you get acquainted with their body.

When Developing a Relationship:

  • Be real, authentic and vulnerable.

  • Let your partner get close to you.

  • Only love those who love you.

  • Never love your partner or the relationship more than you love yourself.

  • Realize that the foundation for every good and healthy relationship has three important and equal parts. They are passion, emotional intimacy and commitment. Commitment consists of three commitments - the commitment to yourself, the commitment to your partner, and your commitment to the relationship.

The best of advice I can give you for how to "be" in a relationship is that when you go into a relationship, really let yourself to be in that relationship. Dance like no one is watching and love like it's never going to hurt.

Most of all have fun. Don't waste your life living in a world of regrets.

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