5 Tips For A Healthy Dating Relationship


Dating just isn’t what it used to be. The rules of dating have changed. For some, it’s almost impossible to figure out if dating rules even exist anymore. In the age of online dating and causal hook-ups, trying to figure out how the dating game works can be frustrating. And many of the new “rules” tend to encourage behaviors that lead to unhealthy relationships that have little chance of lasting. While culture and dating expectations have changed, there are still some things you can do to increase the likelihood of not only finding, but also maintaining a healthy dating relationship.

1. Have Great Conversations

Yeah, we know you’ve heard it before, but it’s still true. Good communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. But what is good communication? It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. It isn’t sharing every detail of every day. It’s about getting to know one another better and finding out if you want to spend more time with that person. So what does great communication look like?

  • Be attentive – When you are with the other person, keep your focus on them. Put away the phone, maintain eye contact and don’t let your mind wander off.
  • Listen – Pay attention when they are talking without thinking about what you are going to say next. Ask questions about their interests and then ask follow up questions.
  • Engage – The other person should be interested in getting to know you better as well. So don’t let hem do all the talking. The conversations should be able to flow back and forth. Allow them to ask you questions.
  • Be funny – Tell a joke or a funny story. Let them see your sense of humor.
  • Don’t be afraid to go deep – Find out where your date stands on big issues and don’t be afraid to share your opinions (if you have an informed one) on difficult topics. Finding out what you agree and disagree on is important and being able to disagree without being disrespectful is essential.

2. Be Respectful

Showing respect isn’t just an old fashioned idea; it’s a key to healthy relationships. Opening a door, pulling out a chair may seem to be unnecessary in today’s world, but they go a long way in showing a woman you respect her. And ladies, how you talk about your date in public and to your friends can make or break a relationship. However, there are many other ways to be respectful of the person you are in a relationship with as well.

  • Time – Everyone is busy these days and respecting their time is a great way to show him or her you are serious and care about them. Both the time they have to spend with you and the time you are apart.
  • Family and Friends – We’ve all had friends who dropped off the face of the earth when they started dating someone. They spend all their time together, and neglect other relationships. Don’t be that friend. And don’t let your partner be that friend. Respect your other relationships and respect the relationships your partner has with their friends and family.
  • Yourself – As important as respecting your partner is, it is second to respecting yourself. Knowing who you are, what you want and need from a relationship and not compromising is a must for a healthy relationship. Which brings us to #3.

3. Know Your Boundaries

Respect yourself enough to know what you value, what you expect from a relationship and then communicate that with the person you are dating. Some areas where people struggle with boundaries are:

  • Privacy – It’s not about trying to hide something, it’s about trust and respect. Allow each other to have personal space and privacy. This applies to the digital world as well. Don’t share your email or social media passwords.
  • Physical – When it comes to physical boundaries there are three key factors. Know yourself, communicate your expectations and hold your ground. What level of physical contact are you comfortable with? Know that ahead of time rather than waiting until the heat of the moment. Let your date know that they are approaching that line and don’t let them cross it. Again, this is a respect issue. If your date respects you, they won’t pressure you to go further than you are ready, and likewise, you won’t pressure them.
  • Emotional – While we’ve heard the importance of setting physical boundaries over and over, often the idea of emotional boundaries gets overlooked. Being open and vulnerable is important in a relationship, but sharing too much too soon can kill a relationship. Be careful not to dump too much emotional baggage on your date early on – after all, it’s a date, not a therapy session. Avoid talking about failed past relationships or issues with your parents. Focus on sharing your interests and passions and getting to know your date.

4. Keep It Real

At it’s best, dating is about getting to know the other person and finding out if you really enjoy spending time with them. So keep it real and be yourself, but be the best you. Often relationships get bogged down when you aren’t honest about what you are looking for and how things are going. So take the time as the relationship progresses to clarify where things stand.

  • Expectations – Be honest about what you are expecting from the dating relationship and your boundaries.
  • Needs – Share what you need from the relationship and ask your date what they need as well.
  • DTR – After a few dates you may both be wondering where the relationship stands and where it is headed. You want to be honest, but you also don’t want to scare someone off who isn’t in the same place you are yet. Telling them you think they are your “Soul Mate” and “The One” too soon is a sure way to end a promising relationship. And if you know the relationship is on a dead end street, being honest in a gentle way is the kind and respectful thing to do.

5. The Test

After you’ve been dating for a while your partner may start to test the relationship to see how strong it is and how committed you are. Testing comes in many ways, such as:

  • Pulling Back – Often someone will pull back from the relationship to see what the other person will do. Maybe it’s a result of a silly fight and you go a couple weeks without a phone call.
  • Flirting – While this isn’t a healthy way to test a relationship, occasionally one partner will begin flirting with someone else to get a reaction. Doing this can destroy the trust of your partner and is unfair to the person being flirted with. In both the flirting and the pulling back scenario the person is avoiding clear communication in an attempt to determine how important they are to you and how free they are to leave. In both situations it is important to appear strong and independent. Don’t come off as insecure or beg and grovel for their attention. This is not attractive to someone wanting a healthy relationship.
  • The Ultimate Test – This one may come after you have been dating for a longer time and the relationship is moving towards marriage. A break up. In this case, the future of the relationship depends on the actions of the rejected partner. If they can remain calm, give some space they may be able to reconcile and continue to marriage. If they pursue and appear needy, the relationship is most likely over for good.

These 5 tips for developing and maintaining a healthy dating relationship are time tested and haven’t changed as culture has shifted and dating rules have morphed. They aren’t a guaranteed magic formula for success, but when practiced by both partners they will greatly improve your chances at a lasting healthy relationship. And these tips aren’t just for dating, they can improve any relationship.

Based on your experience, what other tips can you share for having a healthy dating relationship?

The above image is owned by Josh Willink.

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Category: Relationships

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