Dating is a romanticized version of friendship.
Like friendships, our dates can become amazing life-long bonds that we never stop cherishing.
A date can bring joy and meaning to our lives. they can help us learn what empathic relationships are like. Every so often, they help us heal from traumatic past relationships. Sometimes, and this is the hard reality, they turn toxic, ending in misery, hurt, and despair.
But what exactly do we mean by dating today, and how did it start?
What Is Dating In A Relationship?
Dating is meeting someone with an intention of knowing them better and possibly romancing them in the future. The relationship can be between people of any gender. It can be casual, or it can be serious, with the possibility of marrying and having a family.
It involves spending time together, sharing stories from their lives, learning about each other’s values and nature, assessing their mutual compatibility, and examining whether they can commit to each other for a lifetime.
Where did the idea of dating come from?
Dating as we know it today dates back to the start of the 20th century. In fact, the word “date” itself is quite recent, serendipitously invented in 1896 by George Ade, a journalist. After initial persecution by the police at the behest of upper-class men, dating was socially accepted by the late 1910s.
Before that, especially before the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the middle class, marriages were mostly business-like strategic transactions. Families forged pacts to marry their eligible offspring based on their property, status, wealth, and influence.
Though called “courtship,” they were more about expanding reach and clout, and were particularly rife among the rich, famous, powerful, and political families.
However, as the twentieth century continued, dating became the more prevalent way of finding a companion.
As the world became more equal, young people looked for compatibility and love in a prospective mate. Although the dating rituals in the 21st century appear to be entirely different, they are some similarities with earlier traditions.
For most, the goal of dating is still settling down in a marriage. While family approvals are not as vital as it once was, most dating couples still desire their family and friends to approve of the person they’re planning a relationship with.
What are the principles of healthy dating?
A healthy dating experience can be both exciting and enriching. It can help you learn from each other’s mistakes. Healthy dates can inspire people to embrace each other’s good habits, like those of financially happy people.
A positive dating experience can help you negotiate the relationship better and find more ways to support than oppose each other, both in your good times and bad times. It can help you connect with new people with similar goals and values.
Here are the 10 principles of healthy dating:
- Establish clear and healthy relationship boundaries
- Understand and respect each other’s values and beliefs
- Be curious, but not be judgmental
- Stay open to new experiences
- Invest time, resources, and energy
- Listen actively and be aware of what’s not being said
- Think before responding to a triggering comment or action
- Accept them as they are
- Own your mistakes and ask to be forgiven without blaming them
- Try to make it work
A good dating experience can motivate you to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle then increases your chances of living a healthier and longer life if you plan to go long-term. It improves your communication since you will both have some common goals and needs to talk about.
Good communication helps couples in spotting potential issues early on, thereby preventing them from becoming bigger issues in the future.
What are the signs of a date going bad?
While we expect every date to be enjoyable, romantic, and exciting, it can also turn out bad, even dangerous.
Any dating relationship is open to abuse, whether overtly or covertly. The risk is higher when we meet ‘strangers’ through online dating apps.
While we cannot entirely control who we end up spending our lives with, we can control how we approach dating. Here are a few signs of a date going bad:
- Your dating partner starts to make inappropriate innuendos or poke fun at you.
- If they ask you to change your relationship status on social media on the first date, this is a red flag.
- If they make you wait for an unusually long time, you should be cautious of their future behavior.
- If they get you an overly expensive gift, it could be a sign that they are love bombing you.
- They start to avoid eye contact, speak to you in monosyllables, and stare at your body inappropriately, read the hint that they would rather leave.
- They start talking about their first love, or previous relationships, and do so in lurid details.
- They are verbally abusive, even if not to you directly, but to others present or absent there.
- If they try to intimidate or threaten you in any way, even jokingly, walk out. Walk out if even playfully suggest they’re leaving so you’ll have to pay the tab at the expensive restaurant.
- Some other red flags are your date drinking too much and asking you to get drunk, withholding crucial information about themselves, and talking only about themselves.
- They give you bad advice, treat your past unfairly, and are controlling, unconscientious, or rude.
- They are too emotional, or they are mostly telling their sad stories about how people treat them wrongly and dishonestly.
- They invade your personal space, ask you unsettling questions, and do not respect your boundaries.
- They avoid making plans for the next meeting, or even when they do, they do not appear as if they will follow it up.
1. Zero Tolerance For Abuse
Be ready to walk out of any date at the first sign of insult or offense, no matter how subtle. Your dating experience should always carry a zero tolerance policy for abuse.
In fact, if you feel uneasy at their sight without them noticing you, you will be 100% correct in leaving the scene without meeting them.
2. Acceptance of Their Rejection
Relationships, especially romantic ones, can end for several reasons: incompatibility, infidelity, and divorce, just to name a few. People can change and relationships can end, no matter how long two people have been together.
Learn to handle rejections and accept their decision of leaving you. You cannot keep everyone in your life and accepting that is a healthy part of a relationship.
3. You Can Date Yourself
Finally, realize that you do not have to succumb to societal pressures to marry as a human duty. As adults, we do not have to find the right partner and get married. Singlehood can be a satisfying state, and you can take yourself on dates.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, positive psychology, mindfulness, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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