#335 – The Fundamentals of Dating – Part 1 – Emotional Health
Do you fully understand the fundamentals of dating?
It’s not difficult. In fact, it’s pretty basic.
The longer I coach, the more I recognize a pattern in a healthy dating life. There are 5 basic components in all great relationships.
They are; Being emotionally healthy before you date. Being crystal clear about what you want. Know and understand the importance of The Four Cornerstones of Great Relationships. Know your love language. And finding great chemistry.
We’ll take the next few weeks to go through each of them to help you get a clear understanding of where you are now and to make dating a little easier.
This week let’s talk about getting emotionally healthy before you start dating seriously.
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What do I mean by getting emotionally healthy?
I mean that you take time to grieve and heal from all your past relationships.
This is by far one of the most overlooked areas of dating. Most of you want to jump back into dating long before you’re emotionally ready.
You haven’t taken time to work through your issues from your last relationship or maybe even your last several relationships.
It’s easy to avoid working on yourself. Why would you want to rehash your past, right?
The problem is, if you don’t work out issues from past relationships, you carry them into all your future relationships. This is a great way to become a toxic lover.
As good as some of these new relationship might be, you’re screwing them up with the baggage you’re dragging around with you.
This baggage may appear as a constant need to bash your ex or continue living in the past.
This may manifest itself in comments like; I never dreamed I’d be divorced and on my own. He destroyed my life. She was out of control and bankrupted us.
These comments by themselves are not the problem. It’s when they’re constantly repeated and you’re hanging on to all the negative feelings associated with them.
Another manifestation could be you getting upset with your new love interest for something they said or did and you assume that it’s the same character flaw your ex has.
In actuality, your new love interest is NOT your ex. Be careful of labeling someone as toxic before you’ve had a chance to think it through and talk it out.
It’s important to recognize when you’re getting upset or angry. Where is that emotion coming from? Is it logical or is it irrational? Is it coming from some trigger you’ve developed in your past or is it something new?
Could it be you’re lashing out because of something else in your life such as poor body image or low self-esteem? Maybe it’s something like unbalanced nutrition making you “hangry” (hungry and angry) or a lack of sleep.
Whenever you start to feel a negative emotion, pause to acknowledge it. Then start to figure out where it’s coming from.
Give yourself a chance to cool off and then talk about this episode with your partner. Share your experience by sharing the emotions you felt, what triggered those emotions, and how you might avoid the triggering event in the future.
This takes time and practice. Your partner has to create a safe environment for you to be able to share your deepest thoughts and emotions. You have to feel comfortable enough in your relationship to share the good, the bad and the ugly.
Give yourself the gift of time.
It takes time to get over any long-term relationship. There are several variables that impact how long you’ll need depending on the length of the relationship and whether you are divorced or widowed.
If you’re divorced, a general rule of thumb is to give yourself at least one month for every year you were married. During the first year after your divorce, you’ll see your greatest transformation.
We all lose a part of ourselves in our marriage. We make adjustments and concessions to keep our spouse happy.
After your divorce, you’ll slowly start to recognize all the parts of you that were hidden over time to make your marriage work. You’ll start to rediscover who you really are.
If you’re widowed, my general rule of thumb is to give yourself about 5 years before you start a serious relationship.
My experience in working with hundreds of widows both as a financial advisor and now as a dating coach is that during your first year you’re simply in a fog.
In this first year it is never advisable to make any significant life decisions other than to make sure you have sufficient resources to pay your regular monthly expenses.
It isn’t until after the first year that you can really start to rediscover who you are and what’s important in your life.
Don’t rush into your new dating life!
I’m not telling to not date at all. Just don’t be dating to find a new relationship yet. Make sure you’re emotionally healthy first.
The best thing you can do initially is to date casually and just as friends. This allows you time to figure out what you really want in your next relationship and what you want to avoid.
The reality is that most of you are going to jump the gun and get into a relationship long before you’re ready. You’re likely to do this out of loneliness rather than the fact that you’ve actually found “the one.”
This is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up for making this mistake. Some of our best lessons come from some of our biggest mistakes.
If you’re finding it difficult to work through your issues on your own, consider seeking professional counseling or therapy.
A good counselor or therapist can also help you deal with issues of abuse or addiction if necessary.
Next week I’ll share the fundamentals necessary to be crystal clear about what you want and what you want to avoid in your next relationship.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to make healthier dating and relationship decisions. Thanks for being here. I’ll see you next week. Until then, have a great and blessed day.
How can I advise my friend? A very close friend asked me if she should leave her boyfriend forever or come back to him.
Here is the story: “My friend has known a man for over a year, they are widows. His wife died 5 years ago and her husband died 3 years ago. He has no close family around, but she has adult children. They have been in a relationship for a year, sometimes he came to visit her at her place, stayed there for a few days and vice versa. They agreed to put away all the photos of their late wife to be comfortable with each other but he still wears his wedding ring and he often talks about his late wife in a conversation that makes her uncomfortable. . She told him several times that she didn’t like him talking about his wife while she was with him. She said they all loved their deceased spouse, but the past is gone and the important person is the person standing in front of you and by your side now. A few months ago, while visiting her family, he continued to talk about his late wife. They had an argument and he said he loved his wife deeply. She broke up with him. He begged her to come back and promised many things, including not to talk about his wife again, but he broke his promises. Recently, they visited her family for the second time and he again spoke about his wife in front of her children and friends. They had a fight and she broke up with him again. He said he hadn’t done anything wrong and the problem was with my friend, not him. He later begged her to come back. He said he loves her but she thinks he’s not ready for a real relationship but just wanted to have a woman just to fill his void. She thinks he’s insensitive to her feelings and doesn’t know the delicacy and psychology of a relationship ”
Thank you for you question. Based on the information you provided, the man is not emotionally ready for a relationship. Without talking to your friends, I’m just guessing but more than likely he is very lonely and looking for companionship. He needs to get to a point where he’s comfortable being on his own. I also suspect that she is not emotionally ready for a serious relationship either. My experience tells me that it generally takes about 5 years to be emotionally ready for dating after the death of a spouse. Turning your late spouse pictures over is silly. They were a significant part of their past lives. It makes as much sense as turning over the children’s picture after they move out of the house. I think both would be best advised to move on and complete the grieving and healing before any additional dating. She may have to block him if he is persistent in trying to contact her. I hope this is helpful.