DATING - HOW TO FIND A MATE by Peggy A. Vertreace, DMin.

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This is not only about material things, but whether you are able to be available to spend quality time with the other person or just want them as eye candy, whether you are a good listener and encourager without being their savior or fixer or by playing the victim/needy role in the relationship.

FIND YOUR OWN MATE - NOT SOMEONE ELSE'S

When you play second fiddle, expect to get played. If it does not matter to you whether the person is already in a relationship with someone else, then you have to ask yourself why you would settle for half of a relationship. What does this say about you, your values, and how trustworthy you are? What is your level of self-esteem? What will your degree of trust be if this person leaves someone for you? You may find yourself wondering if your new dating partner is having an affair with someone else. This could be a nagging suspicion or distrust in the back of your mind, which could lead to stress in the relationship, possibly ending it.

TAKE IT SLOW

You do not want to get so caught up in the moment that you miss the red flags. Does the individual anger easily?Is he or she inconsiderate of you and others? Is this person a control freak? Is this possible dating partner looking for a sexual relationship only? Remember, when you are meeting someone for the first time, they are most likely presenting their best self and you may be caught up in what physically and emotionally attracts you to her or him - you want to see the positive. Pay attention to those negative feelings you are having, which can be signals to problems just waiting to hatch. Listen to your gut.

REALIZE THAT NO ONE IS PERFECT - NOT EVEN YOU

This could lead to you trying to fix the other person, when in fact you may need the fixing. The imperfections that you see in the other may very well be imperfections in yourself, but you are the only one who is unaware of them.

BE AWARE OF THE FEELINGS, DESIRES, AND WANTS YOU HAVE

You may be attracted to a person due to unmet emotional needs in your childhood such as abandonment and rejection, which can bring about powerful and unrecognized drives when being attracted to someone. Know your emotional and relational history, for example, "Why am I always attracted to a particular type of man or woman and the relationship always ends in a disaster?" Know your stuff. Take the emotional and relational blinders off. Get professional help if necessary, in order to explore the root or any unmet needs that you may have, which will follow you into every relationship if not dealt with. Also, ask yourself if you are seeking a dating partner to make your last partner jealous. Revenge dating is not dating, but rather manipulation at the expense of an innocent bystander - the new partner. Keep in mind that, if you are just coming out of a dating relationship, have recently become divorced, or have experienced the loss of a spouse you may be vulnerable and emotionally wide open - like a sponge. Resist falling into the arms of the first possible prospect that crosses your path because you fear being alone or because the individual may be saying all the things you have been yearning to hear. Use this time to heal, regroup, and learn from your experience.

KNOW WHAT YOUR INTERESTS AND HOBBIES ARE

Are you into running, art, classical music, bird watching or dumpster diving? A possible dating partner may have the same interests.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Peggy A. Vertreace

Counselor/TherapistPeggy A. Vertreace Marriage and Family Therapist
Location: Spring House, PA
Credentials: DMin, MA, MFT
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Divorce/Divorce Prevention, Grief/Loss, Spiritual/Religious, Other
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