Your Checklist For Dating Success

by eHarmony Staff

Your Checklist For Dating Success

A great romantic relationship can be one of life’s purest pleasures. As you discover singles that share your values and attitudes, there is nothing quite like meeting and creating a loving mutual connection. But the most rewarding long-term relationships come from partners who date with a sense of purpose. They want to have fun and share themselves, but they also want to make sure that they are headed in a successful direction.

Our relationship experts have used their decades of clinical experience to distill a list of 5 "dating reminders." These reminders make for a great checklist, whether you have been dating for many months or have just met someone that you really like.

Date slowly.
It sounds so simple and yet singles often feel that they are on a deadline to launch into a deep and connected relationship. One Kansas State study determined if a couple will date at least two years before marriage; the chances of that marriage being successful are significantly higher. Dating slowly is often a very difficult task. Physical passion can easily drive couples into a serious relationship long before they are emotionally ready. Once these connections have been made, it is very difficult to make dispassionate decisions about whether the relationship is working and should be continued. Sometimes older singles feel that they cannot afford to waste time and move slowly. The truth is that an unhappy relationship is a thousand times worse than no relationship at all. If you want the relationship to have a chance at long term success -take it slow and easy.

Date in a wide variety of activities and situations. Many people end up married with only a narrow base of shared experience. For example, a new couple that lives 400 hundred miles apart has limited time to see each other. Whenever they can get together, it feels much more like a vacation than real life. He flies in for a long weekend or they meet in a resort town somewhere in the middle. This time spent together makes for romantic memories and great passion, but it doesn’t tell either person much about how the other will react when balancing the checkbook or creeping their way through rush hour traffic. It is vital that couples make time for everyday experiences. They have to actively spend time together enduring mundane stress. This allows them to REALLY know whom they are dating.

Date with realistic expectations.
When you consider the influence of modern media on our perceptions and expectations it isn’t hard to understand why we can have overblown expectations about our romantic relationships. Little girls are often raised with visions of perfect men on white horses riding in to take them to some ideal life. Men often believe that their partner will be able to do it all: make a home, raise a family, and contribute to the family bottom-line, all while remaining pleasant and physically attractive. The fact is that life is a stressful experience. Even the best relationship doesn’t magically make life easier. Don’t be surprised.

Date to please yourself.
We are all taught from a young age not to be selfish. It is one of the first rules that parents impose on their children. Of course, as a general rule it is perfectly acceptable. However, when it comes to whom you should date, the rules are different. In this realm, selfishness is vital to choosing a relationship partner. It is wonderful if your parents approve of your boyfriend or girlfriend. We all want our friends to like our partners. But you should always know that the choice is yours alone.

Date with purpose.
Everyone has tendencies that are less than flattering, but serious personality flaws deserve special attention. When dating someone that you are considering for a long-term relationship, it is vital that you confront a fact that has been responsible for more marriage misery than any other. Any personal problem that exists while you date will likely not go away after you are married. In fact, it will probably get worse. The idea that problems such as alcoholism, drug dependency, temper tantrums, physical abuse, or emotional dysfunction will be resolved later rather than sooner is only wishful thinking. The time to confront and resolve these serious problems is early in a relationship.

Date with an eye towards facing these issues head on to learn if your partner is serious about making changes for the better. These five checkpoints can be a great way to test your dating IQ. If you grow your relationship with a dedication to these ideals, you can progress confidently knowing that you are creating a solid foundation and eliminating future surprises.

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