(This is part three in our 3D Dating series.)
Go – ready – set!
What’s wrong with this picture? Well, it certainly wouldn’t work at a track meet or on your tennis serve. And, it most definitely doesn’t work when we date—as we search for that Mr. or Mrs. Right. Nonetheless, it’s one of our most common relationship mistakes.
Unfortunately, when emotions and/or hormones are flying, READY-SET-GO can be difficult to execute when we think we’re “in love.” Patience is an incredible virtue when it comes to dating, but it’s often the hardest thing to exhibit when infatuation is intense. And, it’s an “equal opportunity” condition that happens to both teens and adults!
After making the commitment to be discriminating and discerning in one’s dating choices and practices, the third quality we want to encourage is being deliberate.
- Friends first!
Although they may not actively seek it, young adults sometimes need the measured time-tested wisdom of experienced people that enduring relationships needn’t be rushed. After all, our closest relationships should be marathons rather than sprints. Approaching it as a mad dash is generally an ominous sign of insecurity among either or both parties. The Hollywood, “three months and we’re good to go” approach rarely works.
There’s really no downside to taking it slow—not being desperate, hurried, or pressured. If they want things to move much faster than you, it’s time to have a serious heart to heart talk and get to the root cause. More often than not, it’s either a sign of a poor fit, insecurity, or simply the wrong time.
Here are some qualities of a deliberate dater worth mentioning to the young people (and dating adults) in your life:
- Go out because you are genuinely interested, not because they’re merely the best available
- Avoid any pressure to go faster than is right; take steps to ensure the pace of a relationship works for both of you. Stay confident and in control. You’re worth it!
- Focus on becoming best friends first (the new BFF!) and seeing where it goes rather than emphasizing the physical.
- Don’t allow yourself to be so consumed with a new relationship that you curtail time with friends
- Commit to really getting to know the other person and spend lots of time talking. (A telltale warning sign of a rushed relationship is that more time is being spent “acting” than “talking.” Taking time to develop a friendship indicates they care more about you than they do about it!)
By being a 3D dater, who is Discriminating, Discerning, and Deliberate, you’re much more likely to find the right one with fewer peaks and valleys (and mistakes!) along the way.
Have you read our entire 3D dating series? Which quality(ies) stood out to you as the most important and why? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
This is part two of our “3D Dating” series, a timely topic as we head into Valentine season! We started last week with a look at being DISCRIMINATING. This week we talk about the second quality of a 3D dater -– being DISCERNING…
The teen years are an exciting time of self-discovery and getting to know other people. Teens are developing their own identities and learning about themselves—who they are outside of their parents and family—and are starting to recognize which kinds of friends are their best fit. But, whether they admit it or not, when it comes to relationships (and dating in particular), they still need the input of parents, mentors, and older friends to help them hone a very important quality: discernment.
Will your teen leave home with strong inner radar that will help guide his relationship choices? Have you equipped your young person with the gift of discernment to help her make prudent decisions in her dating life?
It’s worth thinking about, because if parents don’t, others (including our media/entertainment culture) will fill in the gap! Knowing that, here are some helpful topics for you to discuss with your teen to ensure he/she is being a discerning dater:
- Understanding what you each want in a relationship—your goals and expectations and ensuring they’re compatible.
- Recognizing incompatibility of values, interests, and goals as soon as possible and ending it if it’s not a fit. Don’t expect the other will change!
- Ensuring that the timing is right for both of you. There’s no point investing in a new relationship if you don’t want the same thing at the same time.
- Objectively assessing whether you’re feeling “love” or “lust.” Be brutally honest in evaluating your friend in this regard. If it’s lust, it won’t last!
- Avoiding unsafe situations before they happen and never allowing yourself to be coerced into actions that compromise your values, risk getting out of control, or that you’ll later regret.
- Warning them of danger signs—manipulation, put downs, physical or emotional abuse/isolation/control, pressure to drink or have sex, etc.
- Reminding them to stay objective and be willing to opt out if a relationship isn’t working. Sometimes you want to make it work so badly, you overlook serious flaws. Don’t do that.
- Advising them not to trust too soon … don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position with someone you don’t know extremely well and with whom you’ve built a history of confidence. Remember that true love takes time.
Make sure your teens know they can talk to you at any time, without repercussion, especially if they get into a hot spot and need help. Establish a private code they can use to call or text you to let you know they need to be picked up NOW.
Many troubling situations might have been avoided had the parties demonstrated discernment. Help your teen develop it. It’s one of the most important qualities of being a healthy 3D dater!
What ideas and tips do you have for teaching discernment to teens when it comes to dating? Share your suggestions with us; we and our other readers would love to hear from you!
I’m not sure who has more of the above—a teenager getting ready for a date or a parent talking to him (or her) about dating!
No matter from whose angle you look at it, it’s a hot topic.
Whether a young person is in high school, college or already launched into their career, an independent social life can be the best of worlds and the worst of worlds. On one hand, there are so many new people to meet and things to do. On the other hand, it’s a time when many lives get derailed because they can’t handle the responsibility that accompanies this newfound freedom. Unfortunately, the consequences of these mistakes can be far reaching and life altering.
The fact is, even responsible dating comes with its share of challenges. That’s because: 1) many people define their own self-worth based on whether they’re “together” with someone and struggle with loneliness and doubt when unattached, 2) dating is a “trial and error” process with many dead ends or worse, and 3) there are two parties involved, each with their unique needs, goals, feelings, and interests. Two don’t always tango and it takes time to discover that.
So, what’s the best way to navigate this process? Encourage your young adult to try a 3D approach to dating—being: 1) Discriminating, 2) Discerning, and 3) Deliberate.
- Discriminating: In order for your dating to have worth and potential, you’ve got to be discriminating (i.e. highly selective) with your choices. The problem is, many people define their self-worth by whether they’re “with” someone, so they date for dating’s sake, often compromising their values along the way. The results are never pretty. Being a discriminating dater means:
- Knowing the qualities you admire and that attract you to another person; these are the characteristics that are right for you.
- If you don’t see a fit, moving on. Never waste your time on those you know are dead ends. It’s not only good for you, but it’s also the right thing for them.
- Above all, focusing on values and your ability to become best friends. Do everything in your power to emphasize the non-physical over the physical when you’re assessing your compatibility. Think BFF: Best friends first! Remember, love can be blind…at the worst of times!
I hope you’ll share these principles with a young adult in your life. Be sure to check back for my next blog in this series, where you’ll learn the second step in the 3D dating process—being DISCERNING…
What are ways you’ve found to help young adults develop discernment in their dating choices? Please share your ideas and experiences with us; this is a hot topic and we’d love to hear your input!