The success of any relationship in life depends on how it aligns with expectations. Whether that be aligning your actions with your boss’ goals for your role or your partner’s desires, communicating regularly about your goals, needs, and expectations is essential.
Especially during the times of change or instability, such as after a break-up or during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to communicate your dating goals. During the pandemic, in-person time with your partner might be more limited and individuals have a wide variety of reasons to date during this time. While some people are looking for casual companionship during this time of isolation, others might still be focused on finding a life partner.
In this post, we’ll examine how you can clearly communicate your dating goals to be both fair to your partner, as well as honest with yourself.
Before you know what to communicate to potential dates, you need to know yourself. Are you in a place of being open, available and receptive to a new relationship? Or are you recovering from a bad break-up or divorce, and you could really use some time to heal and put your life in order before inviting someone new in? We often hear people say, “But their dating profile said they weren’t looking for something casual, but then every time I try to progress the relationship, they freak out on me.” This may have something to do with their attachment style, or it may be that there is a disconnect between their conscious (stated in their dating profile) and unconscious (underlying) goals and interests. If you find that you are stating one thing and doing or feeling something different, it may be a good idea to check in with yourself and reflect on why that may be the case.
Be Up Front
They say “honesty is the best policy” and that is true when it comes to communicating your dating goals. If you are online dating, add your dating goals -once you know them - to your profile. If friends introduce you to a potential partner, make sure you candidly describe what you are looking for and what you are open to exploring -- from a healthy “situationship” all the way through a long-term partnership. Stating these desires helps your partner align with them and no one feels misled about the direction of the relationship.
Reinforce Your Desires
Most people need to hear something more than once for it to fully sink in. Communicating your dating goals is no exception. Especially if you and your potential partner aren’t 100% on the same page about what you want out of the partnership, it’s important to reinforce your desires frequently. For instance, maybe you are just getting out of a long-term relationship and aren’t ready to dive into another one, but your partner is eager to get married and start a family. You may have agreed to date, with the potential for the same long-term vision, but you may need to restate regularly that you aren’t ready to dive fully in at the moment. Your partner might reference you moving in or meeting their parents, and these moments are opportunities to reinforce your desires, a timeline that is comfortable for you, and boundaries that align with your values. When emotions run strong in new relationships, don’t get wrapped up in the neurochemical connections happening, and instead, stay true to your true desires. Rushing milestones too early backfires more often than not.
Align Your Actions and Words
You can also reinforce your desires by aligning actions and words. Sometimes, it’s easy to communicate what you want early in the relationship, but as time goes on it’s harder to hold those boundaries. Especially if you have an anxious attachment style that needs closeness to reinforce your connection, or have a tendency to be relationship- or love-addicted, aligning your words and actions will be a challenge. This can send confusing messages to your partner if you tell them you want to take it slow but get swept up in early relationship bliss and fail to hold boundaries and temper expectations. Work to be honest with yourself about what you want, and then align your actions with the desires you communicate to your partner.
Especially during times of uncertainty or change, consider how you can communicate your dating goals authentically, regularly, and in a way that strengthens your connection with your partner. Not everyone has to date with long-term commitment as the end goal. Start by being honest with yourself about what you need now, and what you would consider in the future. Check in early and often to see how aligned your dating goals are with your partner’s goals. And, finally, choose to be in integrity throughout the relationship by aligning your actions with your words and desires.
The team at Center for Shared Insight can help you understand your dating goals and how you can make them possible through authentic and honest communication. This results in more satisfying relationships with not only future partners, but with yourself.