10 Tips for Successful Dating and Relationships

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1. Before beginning a new relationship, make sure you have taken the time
to heal from one that has ended. If you are still hurting, you will not be
emotionally available to the new person, and the unresolved pain will
cloud your decision-making process.
2. Prior to dating someone, have a conversation with them about your dating
goals, and theirs. If there is a big difference-for example, one of you is
looking to get married and the other is dating for fun–you are likely to save
a lot of time and grief by not even getting started. Having similar long term
dating goals will contribute significantly to the ultimate success of the
3. Take your time. Going slowly and creating the opportunity to really get to
know the other person well will optimize your chances of making good
decisions and creating the kind of relationship you want to have. It takes
even the most educated and experienced experts on human behavior at
least six months to determine another’s true character.
4. Communicate openly and honestly. Masking your feelings or who you
really are will not result in a good relationship. Give up the need to be
right. You can each have your points of view without making one right and
the other wrong.
5. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Don’t expect your partner to
take care of you.
6. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, financially, socially, and
spiritually. Two people who are individually successful in these areas
have the best chances of creating a good relationship.
7. Be flexible. Compromise is essential to a healthy relationship. Give up
the need to be in control. Relationships flourish when you can “hold” each
other with wide open arms.
Linda K. Laffey, MA, MFT
Marriage and Family Therapist
License# MFC 37134
16861 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 304 2277 Townsgate Road, Suite 108
Encino, California 91436 Westlake Village, California 91361
(818) 591-2989 (805) 375-5860
8. Don’t expect your partner to change. Falling in love with someone’s
potential is bound to disappoint you.
9. Don’t avoid disagreements. Conflict resolution is part of a healthy
relationship. Listen to your partner, and ask them if they feel heard. Keep
listening and asking until they do.
10. If you find yourself repeating the same relationship patterns over and over
again with different people, individual counseling can help you to break
that cycle and replace it with a new, healthier way of relating that will yield
more of the results you are looking for.
Counseling can help:
o Create happier, healthier, more loving relationships.
o Increase self-awareness and understanding.
o Improve communication skills.
o Decrease stress; increase peace of mind.
o Develop healthy conflict resolution skills.
o Improve parent/child relationships.
o Facilitate change in patterns of relating which are not working.
o Heal past hurts which are getting in the way of your present happiness.
o Resolve recurrent issues so your life is more of what you want it to be.
o Aid in the process of grieving a lost relationship.
o Conquer eating disorders and addictive behavior.
o Assist in personal and spiritual growth.


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