Dating is a kind of due diligence; it gives you the opportunity to get to know a person you may have feelings for. This process is very important because even though you may be feeling the love, the two of you may not be able to live together. Here are some mistakes that can put off another person and some tools for getting to know him or her better.
— Ask a ton of questions. This is the No. 1 thing that daters need to learn. Trust me, you won’t get the answers you need from their online dating profile. Learn about your potential new partners past, and what their hopes and dreams are. There’s a great book called “1000 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” by Monica Lehey.
— Making future plans too soon. If you start talking about big changes or events early on; like wedding plans or picking baby names, you can easily push an interested person away. I remember one episode of “The Bachelor” where one of the women came downstairs in a wedding dress. She didn’t get a rose. Go slow.
— Staying with someone who you know isn’t a good fit, but you don’t want to hurt their feelings. If you know that the person you are seeing isn’t right for you, let him or her know it in a nice way. In fact, just saying you don’t think that the two of you are meant to be will allow the other person to move on gracefully.
— Lying to yourself about how you feel. This is a very common rebound response. If you really want to be in a relationship and that is your driving force, it is quite possible that you will settle for someone who is just available, but not really right for you. If you are at this point in your life, it is wise to take some time off from the dating scene until you have your emotional balance back.
— Bringing your friend or parent on a date with a new guy or gal is not the best way to get to know the other person and could make him or her feel awkward. I understand the value of another person’s opinion and even bringing someone along if it’s a first date to make you feel safe. Just let your date know what you’d like to do and discuss it a little if necessary. In general your dates, unless planned as group events, should be just the two of you.
When you see red flags – whatever they may be to you, don’t ignore them. If someone has done things in their past that conflict with your values or if he or she believes in things that make you uncomfortable, honor your own feelings and don’t make any additional plans. A bad person can still make you feel good, at least for a little while, so be careful and don’t get caught up in a situation that could hurt you in the end.
Dating, relating and mating in a post-COVID world will be a challenge and you can avoid some painful mistakes with just a little common sense and the desire to not settle for less than you deserve.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D, is an award-winning therapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of seven books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 27 million readers. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Sundays and Wednesdays in the News-Press.