#113 - The 5 biggest mistakes singles make when dating
There are plenty of mistakes that singles make when we are dating. Some of them are bigger than others. Here are 5 that I see frequently with my clients and workshop participants. These are in no particular order of commonality or importance.
- Not knowing what you are looking for in a relationship. This is by far one of the most common mistakes people make. The want to date; they want to be in a relationship, but they don’t know whether they want just a casual friendship or something more permanent. Beyond that, most people only have a vague idea about the characteristics that are important to them in their next mate. To find a great relationship, you have to be clear about what you want before your start looking!
- Settling for less than you would like in a relationship. Society, as well as friends and family, tell us that we can’t have everything we want in a relationship. Anyone that tries is unrealistic and is dreaming. This just isn’t true! We can have everything we want in a relationship as long as we are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to find it. You have to set higher standards for yourself and your mate. It’s as simple as that.
- Failing to recognize red flags of poor relationships. This is a really important mistake that most people make. When we are in a relationship, especially a new relationship, we are usually blinded by infatuation and the excitement of someone new. That is one of the reasons it is so important to know what you are looking for in a mate before you start to date. Knowing the type of relationship you want and what your Must Haves and Deal breakers are will help you temporarily step back from the infatuation and recognize the potential problems you face long before you invest a significant amount of time, energy and emotion in a relationship that isn’t right for you.
- Not being mature or strong enough to walk away. We all need to be adults and make adult decisions. If you see a relationship isn’t right then don’t stick around to see if something or someone will change. Odds are, that will not happen. You can try to change some, but the changes are usually only temporary and the person you try to change becomes resentful. Just because someone is not a good match doesn’t make either one of you a bad person. It just means you are not right for each other. One of the great excuses is “I don’t what to hurt his/her feelings.” You need to be mature enough to recognize the situation for what it is and move on before you invest too much time and too many emotions. This is something that will not get better with time. Make the best decision for both of you.
- Not knowing what a great relationship should look like. Depending on the studies you look at, an average of only about 20% of marriages that last are strong healthy relationships. That means that most of us grew up in families that are dysfunctional in some way. That also means that most people don’t know what a healthy relationship should look like. All we know is what we grew up with and what we have experienced. It takes effort to make a relationship work. It takes even more effort to try to make the wrong relationship work. It is important to take time to learn what a great and healthy relationship should look like. Hire a dating or relationship coach, attend relationship seminars or even seek counseling in order to learn about healthy relationships. When you are able to identify what a healthy relationship looks like for you, then you are able to stay focused on the key characteristics you are looking for and will not settle for anything less than extraordinary.
Recognizing and understanding these common mistakes is critical in helping you make better dating and relationship decisions. You can learn from your past by identifying your unique mistakes if you are willing to be open and honest with yourself. No one is perfect.
We all make mistakes. How is it that I have come to all this knowledge about dating? It’s because I have made all of the mistakes above…and many more. Many times our best lessons come from our mistakes. Learn from your mistakes; learn from my mistakes and start to make better decisions about the people you date and relationships you enter into.