It’s a new year and everyone has their list of new year’s resolutions. But it’s not enough to say you are going to do something different, you have to be committed and have a plan on how you are going to change your habits. This month, NFD brings you “the wiser you” toolkit. Every week we will release a new episode with a focus on how we can help you be wiser this year.
The first topic we tackle, forming healthy dating and relationship habits. Even with dating, you can’t just say you want something to happen but not be ready to put the work in. Although we don’t often think about finding or keeping a relationship as a lot of work it is! So we wanted to give you a useful toolkit for winning in your dating life in the new year.
The first step is to start with yourself! There are three major buckets to consider and we will give your our advice on how to approach each. As a summary, here are the 3 areas: emotional & mental health, checking your unhealthy relationship habits, and setting attainable expectations.
Emotional & mental health is important as you need to make sure you are in a position to take on a relationship. These are the benefits to you if you focus on your emotional and mental health first, and then shift to getting to know other people.
- You will be a healthier, more available partner if you feel good about yourself and you are able to take care of your own needs
- Respect for time and taking time for yourself
- If you are emotionally depleted, you will struggle to give to others or if you do, it will be at the expense of yourself
- Make sure you are incorporating self-care practices into your dating life and gaining confidence by taking control of your life in the present
- Don’t wait for a partner to make you happy or get your life together. Instead be sure to invest in yourself starting now
- You should have your own hobbies and own friends before dating someone
Checking your unhealthy relationship habits is important because you become more self aware. The goal is to Identify the unhealthy habits you have been practicing, limit them, and ultimately eliminate them. The following are examples of unhealthy relationship habits:
- Keeping score (of who’s done what, who’s messed up the most, who cares more, etc.)
- Being passive aggressive
- Putting up walls
- Expecting your partner to read your mind (not speaking up for what you want and then getting upset at your partner for not knowing)
- Trying to punish or inflict pain on your partner (either intentionally or unconsciously)
- Unsupportive toward your partner’s goals
- Acting jealous or possessive
- Disrespecting your partner’s privacy or independence
- Physical or emotional abuse
In addition to identifying the habits you practice, you also need to take note of any patterns or triggers in your behavior. Many unhealthy habits may appear to keep you safe in the moment, but they prevent you from connecting with your partner and could represent lost opportunities.
If there is an unhealthy behavior that negatively impacted your relationships and you are having trouble identifying how to limit or eliminate- talk it out with your partner
You want to set attainable expectations for your growing relationship based on your experiences. Remember it starts with you and you need to be honest about what you really want. For example if you feel drained after thinking through everything we talked about in the first 2 buckets then don’t force it. Take the time you need and stay single- this is about you!
- Start with what you have learned from previous relationships. Understand what those experiences taught you and consider what you are going to do differently. Make sure you have learned, otherwise you can be setting yourself up to make the same mistakes that can lead to bad relationships.
- Don’t let your past haunt you, use it as a learning experience that can set up your new relationship for success. Access and reflect anything in your relationship past that continues to cause hurt, pain, anger, sadness, anxiety or poor self-image and find the silver lining. Turn a negative experience into an opportunity for positive interactions. Learning what not to do or better understanding your needs and values are powerful takeaways from the past.
- Make sure you are defining what you are looking for in a partner and be realistic.
We also talk about common traps and misconceptions you want to avoid on your journey to date to win. Stop thinking that your ideal partner will magically appear without much effort on your part. Yes you need to go out, and you need to go to new places and try new things. Don’t think that bomb sex = love. Don’t settle for less because you believe there are no worthy single people left. If you follow the first tip of taking care of yourself then you should be able to avoid falling into this trap. Stop thinking you can change people, its like you convincing yourself that you will be happy with someone who exhibits your major deal breakers or red flags.
Here are the things you will want to do to set your dating life up for success:
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Find new ways to date: apps aren’t everything.
- You can still find dates IRL:speed dating, friends of friends, be open to approaching people i.e. the attractive person at the bar or bookstore, try new things and find hobbies, you never know who you might meet, going out during the day in social settings.
- Don’t be afraid to redefine your approach. For example, rely on chemistry if you usually are the type of person to build lists, tests, and need multiple dates to make a decision or take your time if you are the type of person that rushes into things.
The co-hosts close the episode with their top tip for finding love and the right relationship this year.