I will often see clients in therapy who are looking to date again yet are worried about repeating the same patterns as in their past relationships. When they begin to navigate the dating world, we have worked on some ground rules:
- Know what you bring to the table. One of the activities I will often get them to do is write out a full page of their qualities, characteristics, values and interests that they bring to the relationships in their life. This acts as a good reminder when gearing up to go on a date, or when chatting with someone. If we know what we bring to the table, we will have less of a tendency to settle.
- Know your deal breakers and your red flags. List them on a piece of paper – the deal breakers, are exactly what they sound like. If you start dating someone and you find out that they hit one of your absolute no-no’s, stop spending time together (don’t make the assumption that they will change for you.) Red flags we the things we are cautious about – if you begin to notice something that you begin to question as a possible pattern or dynamic that is all too familiar, you may decide to not pursue the relationship. People show you who they are early on – believe them.
- Take the word potential out of your vocabulary. That is a word that shouldn’t be linked to romantic love.
Relationship ground rules allow us to know our worth; we are less likely to have our blinders on and can make rational decisions when it comes to love.
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Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@jmvillejo