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How to Date Smart

Question: I'm just starting to date and want to get married.  I have heard so many stories about women getting hurt (emotionally) by the dating process.  How do I enter this stage in my life and open up to a potential life partner while still protecting myself? 

Response: Thanks for writing! Today’s world is filled with messages on how to date, but frankly, most of what we hear is creating heartache after heartache for women. After even one heartbreak, a woman might find herself distancing herself emotionally, having problems connecting, or experiencing trust issues.   Protecting yourself is the right thing to do, while still being open to intimacy.  So how do we do this?  

  1. Take the physical relationship slowly. Very slowly. Even kissing.

  2. Get to know him deeply. Find out if you share the same life goals and values. What kind of lifestyle does he envision? What are his thoughts on marriage and commitment? (Hint: If he tells you he has commitment issues and you are looking for commitment, then back away now.) Do you share the same family values? Do you see eye to eye on religion and spirituality? These are the types of answers you want.

  3. Believe that you can know whether you have chemistry with him before you are physical. Many people ask me, “But if we do not have a sexual relationship at first, how do I know if we will have sexual chemistry?” Do you long to kiss him? Do you want to reach out and hug him? Do you stare into each other’s eyes? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you can relax your anxiety because you do, in fact, have sexual chemistry. You can work on whatever sexual issues may arise once you have built a solid relationship.

  4. If a little voice inside of you is telling you that it’s not right, pay attention to that voice and try to figure out why it feels that way. What is it saying? What are the red flags you are picking up? Why are you staying in a relationship if your gut is telling you it’s not right? Are you afraid of being alone? Do you wonder if you will ever find Mr. Right?

  5. Be OK with being alone for a while. If you have a need to be in a relationship, you may settle or convince yourself that he is what you want out of fear of going without anyone. While you’re with Mr. Wrong, you won’t be emotionally available and open to meeting Mr. Right.

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