how to date well - Happy black couple dancing in the backyard.

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I don’t like to admit this but I am probably a professional single. I have been single for 11, maybe 12 years. I’ve lost count. Over these years of being single, I have realized much about myself. I am very introspective and have spent much time analyzing how I’ve behaved as a single person. I’ve assessed how trauma from my childhood has manifested itself over the years; I’ve analyzed how my relationship with my parents shaped my perspective of myself and God and formed the foundation of a lot of my faulty relationships. Now, while I have been single, I have spent years dating (trying to get to know) countless people. My introspection and self-reflection while dating have worked well for me as a writer; I’ve navigated various experiences and have tons of experience to share.

Parental Influence

From my years of experience, I have realized that your relationship with your parents significantly impacts how you form relationships with others, impacting how you date.

Self Worth

Let’s dive into self-esteem for a moment. According to Dario Cvencek, a research scientist at the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS), a study found that “…as young as five years of age self-esteem is established strongly enough to be measured.” How you view yourself reflects in how you date, and this perspective forms in childhood. In my first self-published book, “Ready, Set, Wait.: The Unadulterated Truth about Navigating Sex, Singleness, and Abstinence as a Christian Woman,” I expressed my sentiments on how I dated based on a warped view of myself, sharing, “I recognized that I dated based on what I thought I deserved.”

Considering this, you must be well or on the journey to wellness to date well and cultivate healthy relationships and behaviors. What does this look like? If you struggle to see yourself the way God sees you, do you think it’s the appropriate time to date? I’ve had to ask myself this question several times. Because I once struggled with inferior self-esteem issues, I realized that if I did not value myself, how could I expect others to value or respect me? I had to learn that to stand firm on who I was; I needed to first believe in who God called me to be. When you have refined and strong self-esteem, you feel confident advocating for yourself when dating, which is essential to cultivating healthy relationships. Let God show you who you are to Him and stand confidently on what He says about you. Your identity in God is what will help you better form healthy relationships.

Being Honest

Be honest with yourself about your desires and motives regarding dating. Be honest with yourself if you know you desire marriage and then date from that perspective. When I realized that what I was experiencing from dating was not lining up with what I desired, I would lower my expectations. Lowering my standards to avoid rejection was a defense mechanism I developed to “protect myself” when dating. We must be honest with ourselves when dating. We must know what we desire and move from that perspective. Also, be honest with the other person you are dating. The fear of honesty and or confrontation plays a considerable part in this ghosting culture. I’ve heard from both sides that they feared letting the other person down. I’d rather a man be upfront that he wasn’t interested in me than to be ghosted and attempt to piece together a narrative in my head of why it didn’t work. Honesty benefits both parties as it eliminates uncertainty and prevents assumptions.

Start as Friends

I wish someone would have encouraged me to remember friendship when dating. Many of us have probably run into this issue: desperately searching for companionship or marriage, so you date from desperation. You go into the date with the perspective that they may be “the one” you have been searching for. When you look at the date from this perspective, you set a high expectation of them that they are most likely unaware of. When you date from this perspective, you also put a lot of pressure on yourself and the other person. There isn’t this pressure when you seek to build a friendship first; also, if you are dating to marry someone, you should be able to have and build a friendship first anyway. For this reason, some people are married to spouses they don’t like.

Through my years of being single, I have understood that healthy relationships require a proactive approach. Thus, dating with friendship in mind, acknowledging the impact of parental influence on dating behavior, valuing self-worth, and being honest are crucial factors in fostering meaningful connections.

Lets journey to dating well!


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