Common Mistakes You Want to Avoid in a Dating Relationship.
Could dating be any simpler if there were rule books to it?
Generally, there is more information on what dating is and isn’t, on evaluations in relationships and the list of activities to engage in dating. Very little can be said on the process considering that stereotypes do not work with relationships. So it often gets clumsy, navigating the stages.
But from the numerous outcomes and experiences in relationships, we learn that some things are best avoided, such as:
1. Dating Passively.
It is a natural tendency to be drawn to people we find attractive. We want to spend more time in their company. Consequently, many relationships start off this way. But a common mistake is going head-on on just attraction. Perhaps from the movies, we get the notion that with relationships, you just go with the flow and see where it ends.
That doesn’t end well often. Attraction is great, but it’s often transient. Soon, it’s dissipated and the desire for something new and interesting crops up. Without intentions, dating becomes passive with partners barely keeping up until one person backs out. More so, real issues blow up in relationships and attraction won’t cut it. It has to be backed by checked intentions and deliberate plans for a relationship to thrive.
Dating with goals and intentions adds clarity to the relationship, making dating a whole lot simpler.
2. Holding up your partner to unrealistic expectations.
It is said to do to others what we want to be done to us. But it doesn’t say others will return the favor and in the way it was given. Is it bad to expect favors to be returned? Not necessarily. And it happens that good deed might not be returned the way it was given or from the one who received it for some reason: we perceive things differently… we respond differently… we love differently…
We can sincerely give love and end up hurt, feeling unappreciated because we expect the next person to receive it in the same intensity it was given or give it back to us because we gave it to them. We often want to be loved the way we give love but it isn’t always the case. Acknowledging our differences and communicating amicably can help taper our expectations and foster understanding in a relationship.
3. Carrying baggage from past relationships.
There’s a short caption post that reads,
“You’re dating somebody’s ex… Somebody is dating your ex… your ex is getting somebody’s ex… In this life, we are all X-men”.
Quite comical, but true. Yet, at point of entering another relationship, we need not be “ex – men”, still bearing the stigma of a relationship that didn’t work out. We need to be ” whole men”, healed generously from the hurts of past relationships such that we can give love and bring health to the new relationship.
This is because a relationship doesn’t complete anybody. If you are incomplete before a relationship, you will be bringing less to the relationship. And chances are you might still be incomplete in the relationship. Your partner deserves to have someone who is whole. A true test of how much you have attained this will be how well you can relate with your ex should they show up, or how well you can speak of your previous relationship. So you want to deal with all of these, best before you enter another relationship, or while in it.
4. Comparison in relationships.
Every relationship is a new experience, one that has never existed before because it is happening at a time and with a person that is different from the previous times and the previous persons. I know this might be hard to accept when you’ve been hurt from past relationships but it is simply logical.
In the same vein, every relationship is unique and has its own unique fingerprints; charms and challenges. Even seasons in a relationship differ and they are all unique. So it will be unfair to compare one relationship to another or stages of a relationship, worse of, comparing one person to another.
On one side, we are making evaluations, and there is a need to watch out for destructive patterns and tendencies. Yet, while at it, you should be open see each person as different and unique, or simply appreciate the different stages of a relationship so you don’t ruin the chances of a good relationship out of fear or lack of contentment.
5. Thinking you can change someone.
Dating, at the level of a relationship, is about evaluation. You are looking to observe how much of a good fit you are with the person you intend to commit to life’s journey with. It is not a matter of whether or not they are bad persons. It is more of if you two can walk together, forever, or not. So you are evaluating for patterns that hamper or boost your commitment on a deep level.
But what do you do when you observe the negative patterns in your partner, patterns you know you won’t be able to put up with for a lifetime? You lovingly leave them alone, unless you have deeper convictions not to. But don’t try to play God. He has already given numerous guides for evaluation in his word. And he never instructs us to change anyone. He only says to love all men and do good to all in spite of their disposition.
So when you make the compromise to continue in a relationship with someone exhibiting certain unhealthy patterns, understand what you are signing up for. You shouldn’t expect anything in return. Most especially, don’t expect to change them.
6. Hiding one’s feelings or not communicating it correctly.
Sometimes, due to hurts from past relationships or just the fear of being rejected, some persons become removed from their emotions or simply mask it. In a healthy relationship, there should be communication on deep levels as true emotional states; feelings of love, fear, exhaustion, whatever. You shouldn’t hide your emotions to save the relationship. It only ruins things in the long run.
But as much as there is a need to communicate feelings, it should be done correctly so that the message is passed across and not something else. You shouldn’t throw tantrums expecting your partner to decode that. You can simply say you really feel a certain way and hope they’d understand. Even if your partner’s action is partly responsible for how you feel, placing the focus primarily on your feelings while stating calmly how their actions were contributory will lower their defenses and make them come to you.
However, trust is required to achieve this level of communication. So you want to deal with underlying issues that hamper trust in your relationship. You must get to this level of openness, whatever it will cost, or you might have to reconsider the relationship.
7. Connecting on pain points and baggages.
Sometimes, people create connections by putting their pain points forward. This is unhealthy in dating relationships. Relationships cannot thrive longterm on sympathy. This is because, in a sense, the relationship is meant to expose your weak point – the part of you that needs to be adjusted to accommodate another, sometimes unloving, person.
Where sympathy is the best foot forward, there can be no objectivity, especially from the person requiring sympathy. This will lead to a cascade of emotional blackmail. Either the stronger party becomes bound, having to manage the excesses of the weaker person or he– she can take advantage of it to abuse the weaker person.
This said, evaluating connections in a dating relationship is necessary, to be sure that sympathy is not the driver. People need love. Sympathy is not always love. Sometimes love can be a hardcore truth that is difficult to receive. Objectivity is a better ground for healthy relationships.
8. Dating in isolation.
You will agree that with relationships, we are making decisions that will affect us for a lifetime. While we may appreciate seclusion, it is best to be accountable to a selected close community. This might be a trusted couple or some trusted senior friends or mentor figures.
It is quite dangerous to be alone in a dating relationship. You cannot trust your judgment alone to carry you through on a path you haven’t been before. Even if you are marrying again, you will definitely need the wisdom of some persons that have known you, mean well, and will be willing to tell you the truth in love.
This is not meant to control your decisions in any way. It is just to help you see all the sides you may not be seeing at a stretch such that you would be empowered to make decisions you will be happy with for the long haul.
9. Cutting off other relationships.
This is a thing with young, sometimes naive dating couples. It’s almost as though the new relationship signifies an elevation in status that makes pre-existing relationships unimportant. But it need not be. We should know that every relationship has its place; family, peers, colleagues, neighbors, etc. None should be substituted for another.
Your partner cannot meet all your needs no matter how sacrificial he– she is. You need family for some specific needs and friends or colleagues or neighbors for others. Life was made for community. You need support from all of these groups, some forever. So it is good you consciously build these other relationships and treat them well at all times.
Then whatever be the outcome of the dating relationship, you will always have a community of loved ones to support you and cheer you on.
10. Settling for less than you deserve.
If I could say only one thing in all of this post, it will be_ “Please, don’t ever settle in relationships.” There is not only one person in the world that can love you the way you deserve to be loved. Good men or women may be hard to find, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There are many of them out there.
If a relationship isn’t building you up or if you have to manage it, then you don’t need it. I don’t mean this in terms of luxury but real things; emotional health, physical health, spiritual health, social capability, relational abilities as well as your work. A healthy relationship increases you on every side, with proofs. It doesn’t make you become timid or apprehensive or full of doubts about yourself. Instead, it makes you see yourself with a new sheen and highlights abilities you never knew you had. It is the power of love that is good for you.
And you should know that you deserve this and more, not because of your actions but because you are loved by the Father. He always gives the best gifts to the ones he loves. All of our desires are not beyond him. If a relationship is not good for you, it is not good for you. Drop it and you will eventually see a better one.
There are just 10 things mentioned in this post. Definitely, there is more to this list. But it isn’t about having a long list. With relationships, it’s almost always inexhaustive.
The goal is learning and applying what is received. My guess, you did get somethings you could use out of this, right?