get clear on your relationship goals before dating

From Dating to Love: Either Show Up 100% of the Time, Or You’re Gone

Spread the love

I believe the quest for love is a spiritual journey. Either your deliberate and intentional about it, or you are just screwing around.

Even the little commitments matter. When you tell your partner you’re going to do something, do it. Period.

Early Dating Discoveries

In the early stages of dating, every single activity and commitment matter. If you tell your girlfriend you’re going to sell an old computer for her, you keep trying to sell it until it’s gone. You don’t crow about your hard work. You just deliver the money when the old laptop is sold.

When you are learning someone else’s personal style, habits, and reliability to determine if you would be a good fit for a long-term relationship, every small miss is an indication of potential incompatibility. You’ve got to be fierce with your own commitments. At the same time, you’ve got to be flexible in evaluating the reliability of your partner.

Are You Too Forgiving?

How many misses are you willing to tolerate in a new relationship? Do you typically roll over and forgive when you should be looking at the red flags and making a realistic evaluation? One rule I am still pretty sure about is this:

“You cannot wait for the other person to change. If your happiness depends on them changing some destructive or unsupportive behavior, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.”

When you begin to forgive when you should stand up and fight, you may be at risk of compromising. And compromising can lead to regret and resentment. Those two emotions are the death of any romantic relationship. Watch out for resentment. What are you not asking for? What do you want that you are not getting? And what is preventing you from asking for what you want? All of these questions can inform your evaluation and progress in your relationship-building journey.

How Are You Going to Show Up?

As I began moving into new relationships, and back out of them when they were not functioning successfully, I learned one simple rule: SHOW UP AT 100% OR GO HOME.

I have done my best since my divorce, to navigate the dating process in an honest and courageous way. I wanted a long-term relationship, and everything about my dating process was geared towards my goal of finding the next relationship. The acid test was always, “Is this relationship moving towards a lasting relationship?” If the answer was “I don’t know,” I took that as a sign to get more curious about what was good and what was difficult. I can only work on my shit. I can only be responsible for MY HAPPINESS. But how I show up in a relationship is also 100% up to me.

Are you ready for the next relationship of your life? Is that your goal? What is it you are looking for in your next relationship? If you are a single parent, does that change your objectives as you also have to consider the health and wellbeing of your children? What’s most important in dating with authenticity is knowing what you want and being clear enough and strong enough to ask for it.

If You Don’t Know What You Want Don’t Date

Why waste everyone’s time (yours and your potential dates) when you’re unclear on what you’re looking for in a relationship. If you’re just out of a dysfunctional relationship (or a marriage) give yourself a bit of time to listen to your heart and your soul a bit before jumping back into the dating game. It’s only going to mix things up and create unnecessary drama if you start dating without knowing yourself, your troubles, and your passions.

What you need to find is what makes YOU HAPPY. You can hope that a relationship is going to make you happy, but I’m sorry to tell you, that’s not how it works. Happiness is an inside job. Some of the most powerful moments in my quest to find a long-term partner have been the time I’ve spent alone. I had to rediscover my enthusiasms and my trouble spots. I learned that depression was always going to be a part of my DNA, but it didn’t have to define me or my functionality. I learned that I could not be with someone with addiction problems. I learned that sex was great when it was with someone you loved, and less great or even tiresome when it was casual or recreational.

When you light your own fire the next relationship is more likely to arrive. And in your enlightened state, you are much more likely to recognize a good relationship from a bad one. You are more likely to pick healthy partners over sexually-charged liaisons. Sex is both an intoxicant and a gateway drug that leads to toxic relationships based on physical attraction and lust. Those are both good things. Both lust and physical attraction are required, in my opinion, but they should not come before our ability to evaluate a potential relationship on it’s more logical specifications.

Abide By Your Own Relationship Goals

And if you don’t have relationship goals, you might want to get some. Here are a couple of my guiding principles when I started dating again after my divorce.

  • My partner had to be living their authentic life (integrity, passion, and energy)
  • Joy had to be part of their DNA (I know I cannot make someone else happy)
  • Our alignments needed to be clear outside the bedroom before jumping into bed
  • They were also seeking a long-term relationship
  • I felt a positive charge when I was around them, most of the time
  • When things got hard they agreed to show up and deal with it, rather than run away
  • Their emotional health was clear and present in the way they lived their lives

Can you list a few of your relationship goals? I’d love to hear about your story. And as a life coach, I offer a free 30-minute call to discuss your path forward in the dating world, in a current relationship, or even as you are heading into or processing a divorce. I’m here for whatever you need.

My life coaching process is outlined here.

I believe the quest for love is a spiritual journey. Either your deliberate and intentional about it, or you are just screwing around.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
Facebook  | Instagram | Pinterest |  @wholeparent

Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)

And here are a few more posts about deep relationships:

Here are a few of my books on Amazon:

Spread the love