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    Includes Expert Content
    Learning to Date
    free2comfort posted:
    I have been a six year relationship with this guy and I recently broke up with him. I have never had the experience of dating. I usually meet someone and immediately go into a relationship with them. What are the steps I need to take to successfully date.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
    One important thing to do is make sure you have a full life -- complete with activities you enjoy and supportive friends. This will help you to feel more like you want a relationship and less like it is something you need- and you need now. It will help you be more selective and to date more before deciding to jump into a committed relationship.

    It certainly helps to get out there, be social, and do things you enjoy (hopefully you will meet someone who enjoys the same things). It can also help to date more than one person at a time so that you don't commit too quickly to any one person (some people are comfortable with this and others aren't).

    And, of course, it's extremely important to just have fun!

    Having said those basic things, I'm wondering if you have more specific questions or struggles in mine.
    1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on responded:
    I can totally relate to your situation, I was/am the same way. Back when I was in college I got involved with a young lady, we dated for almost 3 years. As soon as that relationship ended I waited about 3 months before i started another long relationship that lasted about 3 1/2 years. After that I started dating my ex-wife and we were together for over 5 years, so i feel your pain. Since then I relocated with the intentions of starting over with a clean slate. Its been over 2 years since i seperated from my ex and to be honest i am still hesitant to get into a relationship. I have dated, but with eyes wide open now. Truth be told, it is a great feeling, just being able to let go of that "need" to be involved. Doctor Phelps is right, you need to want a relationship rather than need one.

    For me the steps I think that help someone successfully date are; clear expectations/boundaries, open communication, space apart. You know your downfalls in your past relationships, so you need to know how to avoid those early on pitfalls, ie. rushing into a relationship. You can do this by setting clear expectations of what you are looking for or how you want things to go. Obviously taking things slowly will be a great benefit, you can get to know them and see if they are a good match for you. By communicating openly with each other you can keep a pretty good pulse on how each of you feel. If you feel smothered, let him know...or if he seems distant, ask him why. Lastly, give each other space to have their own lives, maybe go on a date once a week at first. See how things go, if you are hitting it off maybe try going out 6 times a month or what ever works with your schedules. Or the opposite of that, if you see its not working out, its ok to break things off. You owe that to each other, no one wants their time wasted.

    Best of luck!!


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