5 Steps to Dating with Integrity
Copyright 2005 Heartmind Connection, LLC
Here you are. You just have had another failed relationship, wondering do I want to put myself back out there to and try to meet someone just to be disappointed again. How can you take a different approach this time? How can you increase your chances when you do meet someone you are interested in? How do you avoid dishonest people in your search? These are the q.uestions I asked myself when I was single and I was looking for my life partner. If you follow the steps outlined below, you will get better results in finding your great lifelong relationship!
Step 1: You need to know yourself and your life goals
A client of mine is a divorced and is having a difficult time getting back in the dating game. He really missed having a steady relationship and didn't feel very confident about getting out there to date. He took a shotgun approach on the internet and met a woman who came from a different cultural background, including a different religion. He was happy at first to meet someone who was interested in him. As time went on, apparent differences started to appear. Yet, he did care for this woman.
We worked to clarify his values as well as his goals for his life. How did he picture his life in the future as a married individual? First he wanted a family and one that honored his faith. He realized this would be a big stumbling block with the different cultures and religion. He also valued being prudent with his finances and realized his girlfriend had higher expectations than he could afford. All in all their values were in conflict as well as how they wanted to live their life in the future.
What if he knew this information before going into the relationship? Perhaps he would have not ventured to date this woman and save himself the heartache. N.ow he has to start the dating and selecting process all over again. However, he will select someone more congruent with his values and lifestyle goals next time that will give him a better chance to have success.
Step 2: You need to know what you need in a relationship?
What must you have in a relationship to make you happy? Do you know? Do you crave romance, physical affection, a significant amount time with your partner? Do you need someone who is financially stable?
I know a women, Donna, who became smitten with my friend, Roy*, and visa versa. They dated for at least 3 months and seemed happy. However, she lived in Virginia with y.oung children and he lived in Maryland (40 minutes away) and had his own child. Neither would be able to move because of the children. In addition, Roy had started a new career that involved commission s.ales and was not yet financially secure. Donna broke up with Roy because he didn't earn enough income for Donna. What a tragedy! Roy was heartbroken.
Just imagine that Donna and Roy knew that the distance would be difficult in this situation and Donna knew her financial needs from a partner. They would have not invested their time and emotion in this relationship and would have sought relationships that meet their needs.
Just a hint, if you feel needy in a relationship, some key expression of love is missing for you.
Step 3: Do Take on the Tough Issues Early On
One of my clients was dating a man that she was falling in love with and was very much attached to. After two months, she discovered that he did not want anymore children than the two he had from his previous marriage. She desired to have a child of her own (a clear 'must have').
It was difficult, but she did decide to break up and try to find someone who had the same goal as she did. Time is critical for many women and learning this information quickly is very important.
What if she brought the subject up on the second or third date and said, ' I'm looking to meet someone that I will eventually marry and want children of their own - ? She would have found out right away that he choose not to have another child. You say, how can I say this? Won't I scare the guy away? My philosophy is if the guy (or gal) gets scared and runs away, let him (or her)! Any serious contender will stick around.
Step 4: Don't Get Too Physical Too Soon!
Time and time I see my clients get too physically involved in a relationship much too quickly and then regret how hooked in they became. They were in this quandary that they liked the physical relationship but did not see a future with the woman. And for women, there is a hormone released during s.ex that makes us feel attached to the male.
Resist temptation! It's so important to get to know a person and let the emotional, intellectual connection, and spiritual connection for some, grow first. This is a foundation of a great relationship. If there is physical attraction, that's great. It's not going anywhere.
Take at least 3 months to date and really get to know each other without s.ex. If there is a desire to take the relationship to the next stage, being exclusive with the desire move in a serious direction, at least you know that you have the same values, goals in life and want the same things. Besides, if the relationship turns out not to be right, you will be able to walk away with respect and may be able to remain friends. This step alone will reduce the risk of failing in a relationship again.
Step 5: Make a Commitment to Be Honest in Your Relationships
In my dating questionnaire, I asked the question, 'In dating and/or relationships, what makes you angry?' The overwhelming response is dishonesty. Yes, we can't control how another behaves, but we can choose to be honest to another person. They will respect you for your honesty.
I recently had a client role-play how she would tell a guy that she was not interested in dating him. I asked her how she felt when she said to him,' I enjoyed meeting you. However, I do not feel that this is a good fit for me.' She said she felt empowered and felt good about herself for being honest and straightforward. I then asked her,' how are you honoring this person by being honest?' She replied,' I am showing them I respect them and not willing to waste their time so they can find someone more suited for him.' Bingo!
How can you prevent someone from being dishonest with you? Go back to step #4! Take your time and get to know your potential partner. The people dating with integrity will respect you and want to take the time for them to get to know you, as well.
By following the steps above, you are ensuring a better dating experience the next time around. By being honest and straightforward with others, you will gain their respect and be someone they may recommend to a friend if it turns out they are not the one. All in all, it will be win-win situation.
* The names have been changed to honor confidentiality of my clients and friends.
Amy Schoen is a life coach who specializes in helping singles to discover what they need and want in relationships and how to find their desired romantic partner. For down to earth tips and helpful hints on dating and relationships, you can subscribe to her popular ezine or her tele-seminars at: http://www.heartmindconnection.com