I am far from an expert when it comes to dating, love, and relationships. However, I am an expert in making mistakes (plenty of mistakes!) when it comes to my own experience of dating.
Here is a scenario I’m sure many of us here are all too familiar with:
You go to singles events, are open to blind date set-ups from friends, and scan your matches on Catholic Singles at night.
Some days it feels like you have gone out with the son of every one of your mom’s friends. Now, you have a date scheduled.
Excited and a little nervous, you are looking forward to a nice evening with someone you’re looking forward to getting to know better.
You put together one of your favorite outfits and walk into the restaurant feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. The first date is a home run!
You talk on the phone the next day and make plans again for the coming weekend. After the second date, everyone in your life has heard about it. Your sister has picked out a bridesmaid dress color and you’re already “trying on” his last name.
You’ve met The One! This is all magical and great, right?
This is the time to rein it in and put on the brakes.
How do I know? Because I used to live out of this emotionally immature way of viewing dating and relationships in my twenties. Looking back, I can see I did not really know myself which led me to become overly idealistic when it came to dating.
It is totally fine and normal to feel excitement and anticipation about a budding new relationship. But letting your mind (and heart!) run away with the possibilities is not healthy or good for you.
Now, more than ever is the time to set some boundaries for yourself, both internally and emotionally.
I have found these three guidelines to be very helpful for myself in navigating the first month(s) of a brand-new relationship.
We have all probably dealt with over-sharer’s in life, friendships, or work. But especially in dating, I have found this to be a helpful reminder for myself.
It is not a mission to rush through right away in getting to know everything about someone. Part of the beauty of a new relationship, is the discovery of getting to know each more deeply over time. This is not a project to “complete” or arrive at.
Don’t overshare every single detail about your or life right away. Instead, allow the process of deeper discovery to naturally come about.
In the first month of a new relationship, focus on getting to know each other; not cramming in your entire life story over dessert on the third date.
Allow things to play out in an organic manner.
Pay attention to what your schedule looks like
When you think you’re hitting things off with someone, you want to see more of them. That’s normal.
What is not normal is to completely ignore living your own life as you get to know someone.
You know what I mean.
Maybe you have done this (I know I have!) or witnessed it from other friends. Keep living your own rich, full life. Go out with your friends. Don’t cancel your book club, dance class, or happy hour with coworkers. Exercise and make time for your creative pursuits.
When we have those crazy endorphins flowing, it can be easy to ignore red flags and get swept up in the swooning.
Be mindful of how much time you spend with a new love interest early on. This will help you stay true to yourself while not letting your heart run away with your mind.
Don’t force the relationship forward
One of my best friends is a life coach and she has grown a lot personally by hiring a dating coach for herself. One of the most helpful things she learned (and shared with me) was to not become attached to the outcome.
Don’t force the relationship forward.
This principle was a game changer for me and clearly illuminated some unhealthy dating practices I was doing in my own life.
The focus of dating should not be how quickly things progress into becoming a serious relationship. Allow things to naturally play out and develop in time.
Forcing things forward never ever works.
Trust me I know from my own mistakes.
Do not try to predict how things will go or try to move things along. Grasping and striving in dating will only lead to you getting hurt, embarrassed, or frustrated with yourself when things don’t go the way you want.
There is a saying that knowledge is power. When we know better, we can do better.
How are becoming a better dater in the early stages of a new relationship?
What has been working for you?