Today’s dating scene may feel like a complicated game of cards. Don’t let the other person see what’s in your hand, come to the table with a good strategy, and hide your intentions until the very end. For example, we’ve all heard the rules about not texting a girl after a date for at least three days, the advice that we should play “hard to get” to increase someone’s interest in us, and we’ve all read the articles with sly tips about how to get that special guy to notice you.
DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF IT.
Treating dating like a card game is dangerous. In the attempt to attract a dating partner using tricks, you build a relationship on a shaky foundation, and like a house of cards, it will come crashing down at the first sign of trouble. Build your relationship on a strong foundation of honesty and trust. Here’s how to do this:
- TELL THE TRUTH
- Be honest with your emotions, the good and the bad. It’s okay to say “I’m nervous about where this relationship is going” or “I really like you” or “I feel confused when you…”
- Be yourself. Acting like something you’re not will only cause you heartache in the end.
- Be honest in the way you show physical affection. Kisses, hugs, and touches are a sign of commitment in a relationship, so only use them when you mean it.
- Be aware that there are appropriate and inappropriate times to share very personal and vulnerable information during the dating process.
- Talk about expectations as the relationship progresses. For example, “Where do you see this relationship going?” and “What are your expectations about sexual intimacy?” and “What are you expecting from marriage?” This way you can both be on the same page and understand one another’s expectations beforehand.
- DO express your concerns with your partner. This can be uncomfortable at times, but the benefits of working things out together or clearing up a misunderstanding drastically outweigh the awkwardness you may feel in the moment.
- DON’T EVER LIE to a dating partner. If you don’t feel comfortable answering a question or expressing something in the moment it was asked, tell the truth that you don’t feel comfortable talking about it in that moment, but maybe at a later date.
- Don’t ever intentionally try to deceive or manipulate a dating partner. If it’s not the truth, don’t say it or act like it is.
- Don’t do anything that doesn’t reflect who you are or what you truly believe. No compromises.
- Don’t assume the other person can always read your signals or your mind.
- Don’t spread the intimate details of your relationship with others. Many times we turn to friends and family to justify our anger or frustration in relationships. All this does is weaken the relationship itself by pitting partners against each other.
The bottom line is, DON’T PLAY THE GAME. Be open and be honest. If the person you’re dating can’t appreciate who you are or can’t be honest and open themselves, they’re not worth it. You want a relationship built on truth and vulnerability. That way, when hard times come down the road (and trust me, they will), you will be ready for it and you will emerge stronger together.