While the dating rulebook certainly isnít law ó donít wait three days to call her, just do it ó there are certain dating principles to follow if you want to set any relationship up for success.
Here are ten very important dating commandments:
It all starts with you.
Itís the same advice your mom gave you on the first day of school: be yourself.
Present yourself authentically, laugh at the things you find funny, share your personal viewpoints on hot topics, wear your favorite geeky sweater, and give your date an opportunity to get to know the real you.
While the fear of rejection is often the greatest cause of putting fake selves forward, being rejected for not being yourself is far more tragic than being willing to be rejected by the wrong person in the quest for the right one who loves you just as you are.
Do not lie.
Dishonesty is a deal-breaker for most daters. To avoid getting caught in a lie, donít tell one. Be honest. Be vulnerable. When in doubt, say a little too much rather than attempt coyness around uncomfortable situations. If you have baggage stemming from a previous relationship, donít pretend you donít. If you donít understand a political reference in a conversation, ask for clarification. If your date asks a question you donít want to answer, tell her that you donít feel comfortable answering it instead of avoiding it by giving a dishonest answer.
Dates early on set a precedent for the entire relationship. Donít let dishonesty hurt the great future you might have.
Do not compare.
Donít hold the sins of others against your new date. Donít compare your dinner companion to your ex, your girlfriendís awesome boyfriend, or your dad.
Donít assume that similarities between your new guy and your ex will dictate heartache, or that significant differences will mean that youíll never feel understood the way you once felt.
Give him/her a chance. Focus on getting to know someone new without comparing his/her menu choices to those of an old vegetarian crushís.
Do not ignore red flags.
While itís important to give your date a fair shot, itís also important to not ignore glaring signs of incompatibility, misaligned value systems or dangerous behaviors.
If youíre uncomfortable around someone, pay attention to the red flags. Donít force yourself to stay in a bad situation, or to say yes to a date that you know, without a doubt, can lead nowhere.
Do not play games.
That rulebook mentioned earlier? Throw it out. If you like her, ask her out. If he leaves a voicemail message, call him back. If youíre hesitant to say yes to a Friday date with cute co-worker because youíre hoping other Cute Co-Worker will ask you out, say no to the first one regardless of the guarantee of a date with the second. Donít use anyone as a backup plan.
Know what you want.
Donít start dating if you donít know what youíre looking for. Take some time to evaluate what youíre looking for in a relationship. What do you value? When you think about your future, what elements do you most want in place? What makes you laugh? What canít you stand? How important is marriage to you? What about monogamy? If you donít know what you want before you start dating someone, you might get caught up in a romance that is ultimately destined to fail.
End it well.
Most dating relationships end, either in marriage or with people going their separate ways ó thatís the dating adventure. Make it your goal to end it well.
Cherish the relationship for what it is, respect the person youíre with, and if itís not meant to be, walk away from the relationship having given it your best and with no regrets.
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