Love, Self

6 Things To Stop Doing Now If You Want Happy, Healthy Relationships

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“Where am I going wrong?" is a question I get all the time from women struggling with dating in the digital age.

Ghosting, swiping and shifting ways to DTR (define the relationship) are making a lot of women feel stressed out and frustrated. Getting it wrong in the dating world, however, does not mean you are failing at something, but you are probably limiting yourself to many possibilities that could open doors to happy, healthy relationships.

There are certain actions and behaviors women are in the habit of doing — usually without even knowing it  —  that are blocking them from having great dates, meeting new people and maybe even finding love.

The upside of this is that you don’t have to rely on anyone else. You can simply change a few of your bad habits.

Here are SIX of the dating behaviors that are thwarting you from actually finding that ideal relationship.

1. Saying NO more than YES


If you’ve ever been told “Maybe you’re just too picky,” then this tip is for you. Being somewhat picky can be a good thing when exploring deal breakers and boundaries, however, you also need to date a wide range of people to be sure what those deal breakers and boundaries are.

So, he’s not your type looks-wise, but what about meeting a nice, funny guy for a drink? You might soon realize that humor and kindness can be just as sexy as pure physical attraction. A great guy who makes you laugh can also be a fantastic partner and date. Say yes to more dates and respond to more hellos. It’s not a marriage proposal, just a few hours out of your life that might benefit you in the long run, one way or another.

In my new book Single But Dating: A Field Guide to Dating in the Digital Age (on sale now), I refer to this as “Practice Dating.”

2. Thinking too much about the future



If the pressure is on to find a partner, someone might look at any advance or date with analytical eyes, trying to determine if this person has marriage and/or baby-making qualities.

Let me stop you right here because, if you really think about this, it’s an insane way to look at a person. Looking through future glasses makes it impossible to really see the person in front of you.

You really don’t know what marriage material will be until you’ve dated someone for quite some time and, by that time, your definition of what you are looking for will probably change anyway. A future-focused mindset is no way to find a fulfilling relationship here in the present.

Take a few deep breaths, calm down and live in little more in the NOW. Worry about the future later — after all, it’s just a date.

3. Playing games


This is not a matter of “being mean to keep them keen” or playing those chase-me type of games, but rather having the confidence to have your own life and put boundaries in place. With so many dating options out there, the single world has become more competitive and the sheer amount of time that a man might pursue a woman has decreased.

Have you knocked back so many dinner requests, messages or calls — in an attempt to keep him eager — that he now thinks he has a better chance elsewhere? Find that balance between having your own life and morals, but making sure a guy knows you’re interested. If you don’t, someone else will.

4. Using sex as a weapon


Sex can be the start of a relationship or the moment when two people realize they click, but it can’t be used as a weapon in a healthy relationship. You can’t get more vulnerable than when you are naked and inside another person. The danger is — when sex is used only to lure someone — the relationship might be too heavily built around his ability to win sex. This introduces an element of competition and, usually, you aren’t being really true to yourself and all you have to offer.

Is the sex itself rewarding or is the fact that he’s managed to have sex with you the reward? Make sure you aren’t using sex just to get a guy.

If you are up for casual sex, that’s awesome, but don’t act like casual sex is what you want if what you really want is a relationship. There are no set rules as to how many dates you should have before you jump into bed. This is where a smart, single girl needs to use her brain and her instincts to work out what's best in a given situation.

5. Listening too much to others



“What does he mean by that?” — stop asking your friends that question right NOW! Your friends aren’t mind-readers, so don’t expect them to be. Also, there’s a side to the story they don’t know — his. Your friends will always try to protect you and, so, without knowing the whole story, they might instinctively push you towards the negative, suggesting you pull away or even walk away from the relationship.

Be careful when asking for others’ opinions because they are not your opinion. YOU are the only one who has all the facts, and their judgment might persuade your mind to go somewhere it shouldn’t be.

6. Feeling down about being single


This is the bad habit that inspired me to write Single But Dating. I can’t stand it when I hear people madly trying to get a partner because they just can’t bare being single any longer.

Single doesn’t have to suck. It can actually be quite the opposite. It’s a time to explore, experiment and hog all the covers in bed. 

How many married people do you know who would love some “me” time and get excited hearing about all your solo adventures? The years being single are some of the best of your life — don't rush through them! This is a time for self-discovery — sexperimentation and exploration as I say in my book. Enjoy it!

Dr. Nikki Goldstein is Australia’s modern-day expert on all things relating to sex and relationships. Her new book, “Single But Dating: A Field Guide to Dating in the Digital Age,”  is available now. (You should check it out.)

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Dr. Nikki holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a postgraduate diploma in counseling and a doctorate in human sexuality; she is a highly credible authority on the topics of love, sex, dating, romance, and relationships.

Coming from a background as a family mediator who assisted in the process of divorce, she has an understanding of what makes and breaks relationships. She appears across many media avenues, such as TV, radio, podcasts, and magazines, both in the US and Australia.

Twice voted Australia’s Best Sex Educator, Dr. Nikki is young, bright, and honest and has lived many years of her life as a Single but Dating (SBD) woman.

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