You’ve probably received feedback on many of the roles you play in your life. As a student, you likely got a report card, and as an employee, you probably had performance reviews. Yet, one of the biggest roles you play is the partner in your relationship, which comes without a formal review process. Unless you and your partner are incredibly intentional about providing one another feedback, months and years could easily go by without the opportunity to share insights and input about improving everything from communication to intimacy.
But, what if you did get a dating or relationship report card? How would that change your dating behavior? In this post, we’ll explore how you might date differently with the perspective that you would receive a report card - or even an online review - on the way you conduct yourself while dating or engage in your relationship.
You might be in the habit of going on a date with someone and thinking to yourself that “it’s just a dinner date” as you evaluate this potential partner. You feel like it’s a low obligation interaction and if you “aren’t feeling it” you don’t even feel the need to correspond with that person again. Or, you don’t want the confrontation of sharing that you aren’t interested, so instead of expressing that it isn't working out, you just slowly fade away.
Sound familiar? But, what if that person was going to post an online review about what it was like to date you? Or, provide a scorecard at the end of your date? Would you date differently? Would it elevate your level of respect, follow-up communication, and accountability? Would you try harder to ensure that your date had a great experience when they were out with you? You likely would do all of those things and more.
Knowing that you’ll receive feedback based on your actions and behaviors will improve your accountability in the situation. You’ll give more effort to the date and to your follow up. So, why not do that anyways and give every potential romantic partner everything you’ve got?
So often, especially when we are meeting someone new, it’s common to project the person we think the other individual wants us to be. For instance, if you know, based on someone’s online dating profile that they love international travel, you might talk about the related travel experiences you’ve had more on a first date than normal. You might go out of your way to appear to value international travel more than you actually do. That type of projecting, likely in an effort to be accepted, can set up unrealistic expectations about the partnership.
However, if you were getting reviewed based on how that relationship progressed, you might choose to be more authentic and upfront. You wouldn’t want to risk receiving a review that said you “oversold” the flexibility in your schedule or your desire to travel extensively. Instead, you might be more honest, transparent, and realistic about your desires around travel, and eventually set boundaries about how much your schedule truly allows for trips overseas. Instead of projecting who you think your partner will like, perhaps you can better focus on the qualities that matter most to you in earlier dates, like core values. And, it’s always more effective to take things slow.
If you could collect all the feedback your partners gave you through the years, how easy would it be to see the patterns, pitfalls, red flags, and shortcomings in relationships? If you could objectively assess the common themes, how powerful would that be in owning and changing the ways you interact in relationships? Maybe this is something simple like feedback that you are always late, and therefore, make your partners feel devalued. Or maybe it’s something deeper like your tendency to act distant, which suggests you are afraid of commitment and/or need more distance or alone time. It could be that your partners might want you to take a breath and trust that they will get back to you after you text them while they are at work. These report cards could provide the cumulative feedback you need to identify and change the way you date, and result in more fulfilling relationships.
While we don’t yet live in a world where there is an “app for this” type of feedback and actually giving online reviews to dates would likely become a weapon rather than a helpful tool, you still can request it from those you date. It’s typically easier to ask when your partner is the one who is pulling away from the relationship. A simple way to get this candid feedback might just be the simple question “what can I do differently in future relationships to avoid this outcome?” And, if you ask that question, be honest with yourself about whether you can handle the raw truth.
If you knew that you would receive a dating report card, reflect on how it might elevate the way you date. And, whether that simple act of reflection by your partner could make you date better. This social experiment could actually result in you putting more effort and intention into your partnerships.
At Center for Shared Insight, we help you see these behaviors without a report card because we can serve as a third-party objective witness to your dating challenges, and provide insights and feedback along the way. We can support the process of you identifying relationship patterns so that you can have a happier, healthier long-term partnership. To talk with our team, schedule a free intake consultation today.