Learn how to have good discernment and identify healthy, lasting relationships. Date with a Purpose! Get a PIVOT advocate today!
Do you wonder why your friends have found “the one” but you’re still trawling dating websites and apps, wondering whether to go on a date… again?
The reason is probably that you’re not dating with a purpose.
Think about it. People date for different reasons. Some want to have fun and get out of the house. Some want to meet new people. And others want to find a lifelong partnership.
If you’re not dating with a purpose, then how do you know when you have found the right person to have a relationship with?
Dating without a purpose is like getting in your car and driving in random directions, hoping you will get “somewhere that makes you happy.” Chances are, you will probably get lost, frustrated or go in circles.
That’s what it’s like with dating. If you don’t have a target, or destination in mind, then you won’t get there.
Dating with a purpose is essential if you want to find someone to create and sustain a healthy relationship. Think of dating like interviewing someone for the most important role as your partner. You need to prepare, plan, and decide what you want.
Creating a dating plan is not easy. It takes effort, patience, self-discipline and the wisdom of others who have done this successfully.
The good news… it is worth the effort.
Since dating with a purpose is one of the most important things you will do in life, we’ve created a list of things to consider prior to completing the Dating with a Purpose module in the PIVOT curriculum.
1. Honesty that creates trust
Trust is the basis for relationships. Trusting yourself is key and must come first. If you have unresolved attachment wounds or trauma due to destabilizing relationships in the past, you will not trust yourself and your choices and you could end up picking with a broken picker! When looking for a partner, you want to know how to best understand if they are trustworthy too. Transparency takes time and building trust takes time.
2. Ready to be in a relationship (both partners)
You both must be ready to want to be in a relationship. And again, this means healing from past trauma, childhood or relationship issues. Otherwise, you may find that childhood wounds will be triggered, leading to negative emotions and unproductive behaviors.
3. The willingness to negotiate or compromise
For a balanced relationship to grow, you must both be willing to negotiate or compromise. It doesn’t mean that you give up what’s important to you. Instead, you need to be prepared to understand each other and be willing to co-create solutions for challenges as they arise together.
This is an important criterion that will help you create a meaningful relationship. Being self-aware will help you both to know who you are and what you want and need in a relationship. Without this, it will be difficult to have a long-term relationship.
Self-awareness means both partners knowing who they are and what they want and need out of a relationship and life in general.
When you are looking for a life-long partner, one key area to focus on is self-esteem. You want to know they have healthy self-esteem, and, you need to ensure that you do too. Otherwise, if you look for a relationship to be what makes you feel good about yourself, then you may attract the wrong type of person.
Self-esteem means both partners feeling “good” about who they are.
6. Communication skills
For a relationship to work, you need strong communication skills. This means being able to:
- Ask for what you want and need
- Fighting fair and expressing your opinion without hurting or attacking the other person
- Describe your feelings
- Be upfront and say what you mean (don’t beat around the bush)
- Listen actively and let your partner have their voice
7. Sexual compatibility
This is about having similar sexual values, inclinations, and preferences. You want to have physical compatibility to ensure that you are both satisfied in the relationship and that neither of you feels rejected.
8. Recognition of family origin history
To have a healthy relationship, there needs to be a recognition of the family of origin history. This means being aware that childhood wounds will probably be triggered, and sensitivity strategies must be created.
For a relationship to work, the rituals from your family of origin must be re-negotiated and new rituals created as a couple. The Relational Alignment module in the PIVOT process will disclose and support the ability to reveal this part of self to your partner and give you the tools to repair and restore challenging situations so you can both show up as healthy adults for your relationship.
9. Similar values
To minimize conflict in relationships, having general compatibility with values, money, religion, monogamy, parenting, travel, and how you want to spend your downtime is key.
It doesn’t mean that you must think the same about everything. However, to minimize conflict in the future, it is ideal to determine what are your must-have values.
10. Patience and tolerance
A key factor for a healthy relationship is for both partners to have patience and tolerance.
Of course, patience is not consistent. It will come and go. However, it is worthwhile practicing patience before you commit to a relationship. Some people are naturally patient, and others are not.
To make a relationship work you both should have tolerance for the small, unimportant things in life. However, it is never acceptable to tolerate neglect, abuse or bad behavior. If that is happening, at any stage of your relationship, then you should get help immediately. Remember, you should never tolerate abuse.
11. Ordinary days or boredom
There will be days when the relationship seems ordinary or sometimes feels boring. This is important to accept, otherwise, you may feel that the relationship is not working.
Many people expect relationships to be exciting all the time, or worse, they feel it’s ok to live with pain rather than move on.
Remember that healthy relationships have ordinary days.
12. Willingness to influence, not control
Have the willingness to substitute “influencing” for “control” is important. It means:
- Saying something once and letting it go
- Being a role model instead and leading by example, rather than nagging someone to change
- Accepting your partner as they are
13. Personal boundaries
One way to maintain your self-esteem in a relationship is to keep your personal boundaries. You need to do this, even when you feel like losing yourself in the other person. The relational Circle Boundaries in the PIVOT process will help you be able to establish and maintain your own internal boundaries.
If you don’t keep your independence and your personal boundaries, then it will lead to having no boundaries and neglect yourself.
A healthy relationship is one where your partner will let you in and will also give you space for yourself.
14. Devotion and initial commitment
A healthy relationship is based on the feeling that you are committed and devoted to one another. The feeling of love will come and go… it is the commitment and devotion to one another that will be what keeps you in a long term relationship. At PIVOT, we consider love to be a verb. It is an action word. There are days when you will feel loving toward your partner and there are days when life is getting the best of you and feeling “love” generally is not happening.
When you are devoted to one another, this includes spending special time together. Celebrating the special days like birthdays, milestones, etc. It is important at times to put your partner first to make them feel special.
If you are dating and decide to commit to only seeing each other, it is important to spell out what does that first stage of commitment mean to you? How often do you contact each other? See each other? Are you not having other sexual partners? Spell it out to avoid confusion and conflict.
15. Quality time
Although you want to ensure that both of you have your share of personal space, for a healthy relationship to work, you need to set aside quality time with each other.
16. Knowing when to stay in the relationship or leave
Although we want our relationships to last a lifetime, it is important to know when to stay and when it is time to leave the relationship.
This means staying when things are going well when the relationship is healthy… even if you have times when you feel like it takes effort to make it work.
On the other hand, it means being willing to let go of the relationship if it is unhealthy. If you are experiencing abuse, neglect or bad behavior, then this is a sign of an unhealthy relationship and you need to be willing to leave or set a strong for the other person to get help.
17. Being compatible
It is important to have compatibility and “ease” in a relationship.
Although no relationship is perfect, the relationships between people that are compatible are more likely to last, be fulfilling and feel settled.
Compatibility comes from being alike or from having a high tolerance for your partner’s differences.
18. Respect and admiration
It is important to have respect for each other, and also admiration. You want to have a relationship with someone you respect and admire.
Admiration is more than just skin deep. Of course, there will be times your partner will not always look good to you. However, admiration is about accepting and loving the whole person.
19. Reciprocity (give and take)
The test of a healthy relationship is for both partners to be willing and able to give and take. This means making small sacrifices now and then. It also means asking for what you want and need.
20. Realistic expectations
Before you start a relationship, have a conversation about both of your expectations of the relationship. What do you expect your partner to do for you and vice versa. If you feel like something is missing in your life, then a relationship will not fix this. Don’t expect your relationship to meet this need in you.
You first need to have healthy self-esteem, trust and love yourself, before you can expect that from others.
In summary, one way to navigate the dating world and make it work for you is to start dating with a purpose. Know what you want out of a relationship and don’t compromise on what’s important to you.
We recommend creating a dating plan to see what difference it makes in building a fulfilling relationship.
If you would like more advice on dating with a purpose, then contact PIVOT. We’re here to help.