As a relationship coach who works primarily with unmarried couples, I often find myself helping them break away from habits they’ve become so accustomed to when they were just dating.
Many times, they come to the conclusion that the habits that have served them well while navigating the dating scene over the years were the very habits that brought tension between them once they settled down.
Here are a few of those habits:
Dating Habit No. 1: Trying To Maintain a Perfect Image
We all know you’re supposed to put on your best face when you first meet someone. There’s always a perpetual conversation happening around how much you reveal to them and when.
But it’s so easy to get caught up in being on your best behavior, you forget to be you. Even worse, you get too comfortable only showing your mate the best version of yourself that you end up never really letting your guard down.
But doing so only stifles the growth of your relationship. How can someone love you if you never give them something real to love?
Get used to that uncomfortable feeling of opening up and allowing your mate to see you for who you really are, flaws and all. It’s the only path to building anything worth having in the long run.
Dating Habit No. 2: Not Defining The Relationship
“Let’s just have fun / hang out” or “Let’s just chill and see where it goes” have become all-too-common responses to the question of whether you’re exclusive or not.
I get it. Not everyone will be interested in pursuing a ‘serious commitment’. But the problem isn’t that you don’t want a serious relationship. The problem is that you’re trying to avoid defining what you DO want.
The fact is, there’s no room for ambiguity in a healthy relationship. You’re either pursuing something together intentionally, or you’re both just going through the motions with no direction or purpose. Choose the former if you don’t want to waste your time.
Dating Habit No. 3: Settling Down For Cuffing Season
There were one-night stands. Then there were friends with benefits. Then it was complicated. Now we’re cuffing for the winter months.
Every generation [since it’s been acceptable] has their own low-commitment relationship status designed strictly to get what you want from someone [sex and affection] before moving on to the next one once you’re over it.
It’s a habit that plagues long-term relationships because folks don’t know how to handle real relationship problems when they arise. They end up just heading for the door when things get tough, because that’s what they’ve trained themselves to do.
At the end of the day, commitment isn’t for those who are looking for a cuddle buddy to keep them warm when it’s convenient. On the contrary, it’s about being there for each other when it’s NOT convenient anymore. When you DON’T feel like it.
It’s value lies in the security of knowing your mate will be there for you through thick and thin, when you need them the most.
Commitment isn’t seasonal.
Dating Habit No. 4: Comparing Your Relationship With Others
One of the things that’s changed the most when it’s come to modern day dating scene is the fact that the online dating scene exposes us to a seemingly infinite number of potential partners to choose from. Options, options.
So we get into the habit of constantly comparing.
“She’s fun, but the other girl is smarter.”
“He’s a nice guy, but the other guy is edgy and makes me laugh”.
And that’s cool when you’re seeking compatibility.
But once you’re in a committed relationship, comparing your mate to others can leave you forever dissatisfied. You’ll never feel like you’re relationship is good enough as long as you’re focused on what someone else has and why you don’t have it.
So switch your focus from being frustrated about what you don’t have to being grateful for what you do have. Communicate your needs and expectations with your partner. Find value in investing in the health and longevity of your own partnership.
Cause like they say, the grass is only greener where you water it.