When it comes to dating and relationships there are no guarantees…there just aren’t, and there’s no way around it. But, you can minimize your risk of getting hurt.
If you think about it, when we are in a loving relationship it also gives us the feeling of safety and security. One of the biggest indicators of a relationship’s future success is set up in the early days of dating. The following are four keys that you can use to keep your heart S.A.F.E when it comes to love.
First, slow down for yourself. If you keep repeating the same scenario and attracting the same type of guy, then take time to figure out why. Figure out who you are and what you want. Is there unresolved baggage that keeps getting in your way to having love? Get some support from a coach or therapist if needed to make the necessary changes.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in dating is going too fast. You meet someone and get swept up in the connection and excitement. You quickly go on long dates, have sex, meet each others’ kids, move in together, all of which creates a false sense of intimacy. I think of it like jumping on a horse you don’t really know anything about and taking off at a gallop. If (usually when) you fall off, it hurts. If the man you have just met is the one, he will still be the one in 6 months. And, if it turns out he’s not the one, you’ll find out faster, and minimize the hurt to probably just disappointment.
Slowing down allows you to make sure you have similar outlooks on life. Do you want a similar future? How about parenting styles? Not having similar life goals and parenting styles are two of the biggest reasons for divorce (especially in 2nd or 3rd marriages.) Take your time to find out. Slow down to go faster.
We all want to be loved for who we are. Check in with yourself. Do you feel accepted for who you are; can you be yourself around him? Or, do you show up as someone you think you need to be? And, equally important, can you accept him as he is? Do you complain about him, or feel disappointed or frustrated with him? Those are all good indicators that you want him to change. There’s a small chance he might change, but ask yourself…if he never changed, could I happily live with him the way he is? Again, acceptance: love is acceptance. It’s one thing to support someone’s journey when they ask for support, but it’s not loving to be attached to someone’s potential. Knowing your deal-breakers and sticking to them is essential for dating success.
An important part of a happy relationship is enjoying being together, so when you think about him, do you genuinely like him enough that he would be your friend if you weren’t dating? Do your friends like him? (Friends and family see things that we don’t through our love-colored glasses.)
Do you feel empowered to go after your goals and dreams? Do you feel supported to live your best life, to make your own choices? Or are you shamed, influenced, threatened when it comes to making decisions for yourself? A good relationship should bring out the best in you and them.
If you’re into excitement and uncertainty, then this list isn’t for you. But, if you’re tired of heartache, then take time to figure out who you are and what you want, and then take your time to see who he is and if he can be part of the relationship you desire.
It’s up to you to create your own dating experience and keep yourself SAFE.
I encourage you to remember this acronym as a foundation to check-in with yourself as you’re meeting new men and developing potential relationships. Are you keeping your heart SAFE?