How to date: 4 ways to play the dating game right

By: Gehna Singh

Author: Canadian Living


How to date: 4 ways to play the dating game right

By: Gehna Singh
Learning how to date and getting in the dating game can be a daunting prospect. Perhaps you're fresh out of a long-term relationship and are looking for new love, or you've been single for a while and have decided you'd like to meet someone.

Whatever your situation, there are a few pointers you should know if you're looking for love -- and they may surprise you.

"Successful dating means feeling confident enough to know what's right for you, enjoying the dating process and getting serious when you've found the right person," says Kimberly Moffit, a psychotherapist and relationship expert in Toronto.

Moffit outlines four things to keep in mind when jumping headfirst into the dating game and what to be cautious of when understanding how to date.

Tips on how to date smart

1. Don't fall too hard, too fast

"It can be tempting to think you have fallen in love after the first couple of dates," says Moffit. "But this type of starry-eyed affection can lead to overlooking or completely missing out on red flags you would have noticed had you taken your time," says Moffit.

How to handle this hurdle:
Moffit suggests spacing out the first few dates over a couple of weeks.

Though it might be tempting to hole up and spend hours talking all night on your first date, taking things slow will give you a better sense of how your date operates in the real world and for the long-term.

2. Don't put anyone on a pedestal
"It never fails to amaze me how many women out there idolize their partner's accomplishments while they downplay their own," says Moffit.

Focusing on his great job or material things can leave you blind to important factors such as what type of person he is, what type of parent he'll make or how supportive he will be as a partner.

Page 1 of 2 -- Do you have a checklist of what your ideal date should be? Discover why it may be time to rethink that, plus other dating advice, on page 2
How to handle this hurdle:
Ask yourself if the person is a good match for you. Does he or she abide by the same morals and values that you live by?

"Confidence is the key here," Moffit says. "It's important to respect yourself and realize that you're better off alone than with someone who belittles you or looks down upon your accomplishments.”

If tapping into confidence is a challenge, try signing up for a new sport or finding a new hobby where you learn to empower yourself.

3. Don't have a predetermined set of criteria

The checklist: If you don't have one written down, perhaps you have a mental list of "must-haves” you're looking for. However, "relying too heavily on a checklist can actually steer you away from making the right choices," says Moffit.

What determines true compatibility is your interaction, chemistry and the general gut feeling you have when you are together. No checklist can take the place of these feelings.

How to handle this hurdle:
"Remember to evaluate how you really feel after a date," Moffit advises.

Did you enjoy the date and the time together? Was there something that made you feel uneasy or raised red flags? Some introspective quiet time will give you the perspective you need.

4. Don't settle
Settling happens in two situations. Firstly, when you believe you won't find anyone who will love you more or treat you better than the person you're settling for. Secondly, it can happen when you're too shy to tell the other person you don't feel the same way. In other words, a "pity relationship.”

"Settling for someone you don't truly want to be with can lead to serious problems, feelings of resentment and even separation or divorce," says Moffit.

How to handle this hurdle:
Be honest with yourself. Dating someone out of fear that you'll never meet anyone else is not a healthy strategy.

"In the beginning of a relationship, if you're not feeling a connection you have to share your feelings sooner rather than later," says Moffit. It might be tough and you might feel a twinge of guilt, but it's better to be honest than to worry about sparing somebody's feelings or to end up in a relationship that doesn't make you happy, says Moffit.

The bottom line is that you need to take your time, says Moffit. There's absolutely no reason to rush into a relationship or settle down if you aren't ready or if you haven't met the right person for you.

"Nobody knows you like you know yourself and nobody but you can tell you what is right or wrong," says Moffit.

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How to date: 4 ways to play the dating game right