Are you single and looking to find love on the dating scene? Do you want to date a man you share loads in common with or settle down? Dating can be tricky, but luckily, our handy guide is here to help. Follow our 8 tips for advice on how to build a strong relationship right from the first date!
Are you looking for love? We’ve all been there at one time or another! Maybe you’re asking your friends to set you up on blinds dates, taking up different hobbies to meet new people, or browsing dating sites looking for your perfect match. Although dating can seem like a chore, you might be surprised to learn that shopping around for your other half is easy. What comes next – you meet someone you genuinely want to start a relationship with – is often trickier. So, how do you navigate the early stages of a relationship? And more importantly, how do you smoothly transition from the first few butterflies inducing dates to a serious couple of territory? Check out our list of hints and advice on how to get through those awkward early couple phases to start the relationship of your dreams!
Cliched? Yes! Bad advice? Absolutely not! No one wants to sit through a date with someone they feel is posturing or hiding their true self. Even if you’re doing a great job of appearing outwardly cool, calm, and collected, you’re not letting your partner know the real you. First dates are nerve-wracking, and you might not be on top form right from the beginning. If you’re feeling anxious, let your partner know and turn it into a joke. Your light-hearted, open approach will probably help your date admit that they’re nervous too.
Don’t lie about or exaggerate your hobbies or interests to seem cool or keep your date interested. If you want to date a man who shares similar interests to you and who you will enjoy spending time with, you need to find one. Pretending you love camping when you hate it will not set you up for a harmonious future relationship.
Slow Your Roll
It’s easy to get over excited when you’re first dating someone. The sparks are flying, the conversation is flowing, and you finally feel like you can date a man who shares your point of view. However, most relationship experts would counsel you to keep your head – at least for the first few weeks. When you first start to date a man, you know nothing about him. Just as you might be tempted to exaggerate your good qualities, he may be inclined to do the same. Don’t get too caught up in the hype too soon. Instead, try to remain open-minded yet flexible and allow yourself to deal with the possibility that things may not work out. Remember, you have plenty of options available and, no matter how hard the feels hit you on the first date, the first few weeks are early days.
Listen and Ask Questions
When you’re trying to connect with your partner, especially when you’re first getting to know each other, asking questions is a great place to start. Making someone feel heard builds trust, shows that you’re interested, and allows you to find out things you want to know about the other person. Don’t project a fantasy onto your man and then feel disappointed when he behaves in ways you don’t like. Listen to what he tells you about himself so that you genuinely know what to expect. If you decide you don’t want to date a man like him, you can make an informed decision about why not you’re compatible. Make sure you feel listened to as well. Good listeners often make supportive and relevant comments during the conversation, so aim to date a man who says things like regularly.
Keep Your Sense of Perspective
So, you’ve been on a few amazing dates, and you’re addicted to spending time together. Welcome to the early-stage love bubble! But what happens when doubts or troubles arise? You may start to panic and feel that you’re losing something special, even though it is only a short time. On top of this, it’s not uncommon for men to suddenly pull away early in relationships, even when everything is going great. When you date a busy man, you might find that he’s often unavailable or preoccupied with work, which could stress you. Instead of jumping to conclusions, give your man the benefit of the doubt and, if he starts to pull away, try and remain calm and just see where things go.
Figure Out What You Want
Dating is as much about you as it is about the other person. If you’re not on the same page about what you want long term, then it doesn’t matter how much chemistry you have. For example, if you’re keen to settle down, can you date a man younger than you who wants to travel and have fun? If you’re not ready for something serious, should you date a man with a planned future or date a man with a child? Don’t lose sight of your goals or change them just because you want to date a man who wants something else.
Figure Out If You and Your Partner Want the Same Things
Sometimes we connect with people who want different things out of life. That’s not to say that every successful couple is just clones of each other, but sharing some general life goals is usually a good start. For example, if work is not a priority for you, you might want to think hard before getting serious with a highflyer. If you value loyalty, dating a man who is already in a relationship, or polyamorous is probably off the cards. These compatibility clashes usually don’t work because you’ll have to change who you are to date a man like this. Wrestling with questions like ‘how to date a man who is busy with work’ or ‘how to date a married man without getting hurt?’ This might be a sign that these relationships aren’t for you.
Communicate Honestly and Openly
Even if you get on, you don’t always meet your partner under perfect circumstances. You may date a man who has been married before or who is recently-separated. You might be wondering how to date a man who is going through a divorce. Well, it can be complicated and can take effort and patience to make things work. However, if you’re prepared to put in the work and be accommodating, divorced men can make great partners. Their previous experience with relationships often gives them compassion and insights that other men lack.
Enjoy the Honeymoon Phase
Remember, at the end of the day, dating can be a fun and enriching experience. Although you might ultimately be looking to date a man you can settle down with, flings also have their place. Try not to obsess over the future too much, and don’t worry if your relationship feels too good to be true at first. Relationships can be tough, and you’re bound to meet with challenges along the way. Whether you’ve found your life’s love or not, sometimes its best to embrace the moment and enjoy your honeymoon phase while it lasts!
Final Call: How did you and your partner meet? Did you face trials and tribulations in the early phases of your relationships? How do you find life on the dating scene? Do you love or loathe first dates? Share your experiences in the comments!
Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in relation and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.