5 Dating Mistakes You Should Avoid for a Healthier Relationship

Kelly and Ryan from the office being interviewed

As a culture, we can fill encyclopedias with the mistakes we make when we begin to date. Torturous yet cathartic as that may be, I hope “one blog at a time” is less of a mental strain. (For all of us)

I’ve isolated what readers have confessed to me as initial dating mistakes made that led to a breakdown in the relationship later. What we discuss here is less to do with making dating fun and exciting. This article will expand on readers’ insights to offer advice on making your dating more successful. 

If you actively and openly date, are thinking of dating again, or are just a big fan of clichés; this is definitely the article for you. 

1. Being Unclear

Understanding what you desire to achieve in a relationship from the start is critical to the health of that relationship. The need to be clear with your intent isn’t just for the other person. We also need to clarify our wishes within ourselves. What many people confuse as a desire for partnership is more a desire for an outlet of intimacy. 

Every person actively dating undoubtedly has an internal list of needs and wants. New couples rarely take advantage of a relationship counselor, so identifying needs vs wants can be entirely on the individual. This leaves two flawed humans to take stock of themselves and their desires, which is rarely a perfect process. There’s so much pressure now to “go with the flow” that people often overlook stating their intent to one another. Couples may find themselves months deep into dating suddenly realizing the visions they have for the rest of their lives greatly differ.

Find the right moments early on to make it known what you want, need, and can give to your partner to avoid future conflicts.

2. Over Compromising

Compromising is an important key to any healthy relationship, regardless of the dynamic. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s vital to self identify what we are willing to compromise. It’s easy to miss the effects small actions in the beginning of a relationship may have long term.

Early in a relationship, many can be quick to gloss over minor “annoyances” for the sake of compromise. No one likes to come off as a nag, right? Now, ask yourself how you will feel experiencing that action for years to come. You can only sweep so many annoyances under the rug for the sake of compromise before it’s bursting at your mental seams. No one can expect to be happy while their true selves are routinely muzzled.

Honest self reflection is necessary to keep you from compromising who you are too much for the sake of who someone else is. There is no shame or downfall in your character for admitting that someone will compromise who you are too much for you to expect long term happiness. You are free to seek out someone more suited for who you are while affording them the same respect. Compromise for your shared happiness, don’t compromise your happiness. 

3. Bad Habits

Many people have habits that aren’t totally healthy, if at all. But we should, at least, be healthy enough to know our bad habits. I don’t want to label your habits “good” or “bad”. I just want you to reflect on your own habits and think about which you think are good and bad.

Using myself as an example, I once was a nightmare to have any sort of disagreement with. I was unforgiving, sometimes hostile, to the slightest resistance when discussing subjects of great importance to me. What should’ve been mild discussions over a difference of views devolved into tense standoffs or bitter exchanges that altered the course of the relationship. Recognizing it and working through it to adapt a new outlook on conflict resolution allowed me to experience a relationship from an entirely new and improved dynamic. It all felt so refreshing and romantic, it was as if I’d started dating for the first time again.

I was able to work on more of my undesirable habits by reminding myself that what I feel I get out of them is not worth the loss of my partner. Keep your mind aware and open to personal growth and fundamental change can surprise you in the best of ways. 

4. Losing Focus

Our culture was born from a desire for options. You need not go further than a grocery market to explain to someone from a different country this concept. But people are more complex than cereals and, generally, do not like to be treated as just another option to gloss over.  

“If you’re doing everything right with one woman, you won’t have time for any other women.” – Bruce Bruce, comedian and early 2000s philosopher

will also apply to gender of your choice

We only have so much time to spare from our days. Don’t let options or “side chicks/dudes” take away from your focus for that special someone. The effort you make for a person is directly correlated to the feelings you have for them. If your effort slips, it’s always noticed. If someone is special to you, be ready to show it. Not for some misguided sense of “proving” yourself, but because you like to see them feel special and happy. We only get so many chances during the dating phase to show what someone means to us. It’s just dating so if you make a solid attempt and it doesn’t work out, at least you know for certain. But even if it’s “just dating”, stay committed and you’ll have the best chance for a thriving relationship.

5. Insecurity

Insecurity can create tons of issues for individuals and dating itself. Not only does it strip someone of their confidence, it could completely corrupt their purpose for dating. Insecurity may also lead to people trying to hide it with a false personality. How can couples figure out if they’re right for each other if one doesn’t know who the other really is? And how can someone accept another as they are (flaws, mistakes, faults) if they won’t accept themselves?

Individuals suffering from insecurity inherently seek out ways to quell that feeling or try and cover it up. One of these ways is to find companionship in another person for selfish reasons. They’ll often only value another person for the personal value they feel from said person. That person may like how another makes them feel from praises or even just a general physical attraction that is satisfied through sex. Relationships should have their fair share of sex and praise, but there are always more needs to meet. If one desires a partnership while another desires to feel better just for themselves, things will never quite “click” there.

A couple cannot build a healthy dynamic while having mismatched priorities. When the baseline reasoning for why you are with someone is corrupt, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a healthy relationship. Be sure that what you value in another person isn’t based on self interests that stem from an unhappiness in yourself.

If you enjoyed this article about a few classic dating mistakes, you’ll love reading an in-depth dive on 2 dating cardinal sins from Psychology Today.

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