How Our Disastrous Approach to Dating Results in Unsatisfying and Even Unsuccessful Relationships.

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As a culture at large, we do not really understand how to date. Nor do we understand much about healthy, emotionally mature, long-term, happy love.

Take a look around you. There are, I imagine, a few romantic relationships in your life (whether a close friend, sibling, extended family member, parent) that seem to be genuinely healthy, well-matched, and happy. And I bet there are also a whole bunch of relationships in your vicinity that seem resigned, dysfunctional, not so well-matched, and possibly even flat out unhappy.

Infatuation = Love. Not so much.

Many of us seem to struggle with understanding the difference. People think, because I’ve spent a few weeks with this person, and because I’m wildly attracted to them, and because I think they are awesome, and because I think about them all the time, I love them.

Dating long-distance is not a sound method of getting to know someone in the beginning.

If you’ve been a couple in the same city for a few years, and then you go long-distance temporarily, that is different. You already have a strong foundation built. And you likely know this person pretty legitimately well. If you begin with long-distance though? This is then going to make it quite tough to truly know this person before making a significant leap (aka, taking a major risk) to live near each other (if that is the end goal, and it is for most people).

We choose partners based on shallow traits.

“He or she is hot.”

We base too much of our interest in someone on their looks.

“He’s ripped.”

We commit too quickly.

Within dating, we commit far too fast. Consider this: committing to someone via monogamy is not so far off from committing as in marriage. One entails vows and a ring, the other does not. They are similar, though, in that both involve saying, “yes, I will only date, only sleep with, only be deeply emotionally attached to you and no one else. I will invest entirely in you, at the exclusion of all other potential mates.”

We have sex too soon.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people having sex whenever they wish. If it feels right for you, there is nothing wrong with this morally or otherwise. I am not condemning those who love sex and who choose to have it on their own timeline. With my first love, we had sex on the third date. So I get it. Sex is fun. It feels good. It’s thrilling. And, we also live in a culture that encourages a lot of casual sex.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author.

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