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  • Dr. Teresa Edwards, LMFT

Three Principles for Healthy Dating

Like most things in life, dating can be done in a manner that leads to growth and health or hurt and destruction. In Love Lessons, I covered three common dating missteps that cause hurt to individuals and relationships. Below, I explore three principles that foster personal growth and cultivate healthy dating relationships.

Steps to Healthy Dating

1. Be The Real You

People hide who they are for many reasons. For example, some people hate being alone. They hate being alone so much that they hide who they really are to make a relationship work. In the long run, this is never successful.

Eventually, the real you will show up, shocking the person you’re with and possibly causing a lack of trust in the relationship. You can’t have a REAL relationship if you’re not being the REAL you. When you decide that the real you is good enough not to hide, you’ll attract the person that’s a good fit for you.

2. Stop Relationship Jumping

People tend to jump from relationship to relationship when they are afraid of being alone or they want something to distract them from the pain of the previous relationship ending. Relationship jumping doesn’t give you time to heal, to reflect, to process, and to learn. You enter the next relationship with the baggage that you got from or carried into the last relationship.

When people relationship jump, they are repeating the same relational pattern over and over with different people. Take time to heal and grow after a relationship ends. Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely.

3. Look for Character

While the phrase "All you need is love" made a hit song for the Beatles, it’s not a good motto for dating. Stable, long-lasting relationships are created by the joining of two mature, emotionally healthy people who share common values, goals, beliefs, and worldviews.

People that are mature and emotionally healthy generally have certain characteristics. They are working towards personal growth, willing to admit their weaknesses, respectful to others, empathetic, dependable, adaptable, emotionally and financially independent, emotionally intelligent, and have healthy relationships with family and friends. It's these characteristics that enable two people to work together through ups and downs and create shared meaning through relationship.

If you're struggling to practice healthy dating strategies, I'd love to work with you to help you move towards growth and wholeness in your relationships.

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