No one ever said dating was easy. Social media and dating apps have entirely changed the dating landscape. However, if you are aware what to look for in your quest for love, navigating dating to find someone who is compatible with you can be easier.
There are so many things which have probably happened to you in your dating experience. And this can make any sane person want to give up. But, before you are ghosted, DTR’d, or experience a slow fade, here are some helpful ways to determine if you are in a relationship that is on the right path.
The bottom line is that people date in different ways and one that often may serve their self-interest. What this means for you is that you quickly have to decipher if the relationship you’re in is a meaningful one, a quick pit stop, or something that can develop into something real.
Here are some clues which will help you to figure out someone’s intentions, so you don’t get stuck in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere.
If you decide to date someone who has recently ended a relationship in which they suffered heartbreak, beware and proceed with caution. When someone ends a relationship, there are several different types of ways in which they deal with it emotionally.
Some may quickly connect with someone else emotionally and physically as a way to escape the pain of the relationship that devastated them or as a way to get over the break-up. Another person may have limited connections with others. I like to term it ‘dating around.’ They keep dating very casually and treat you fairly well until they see something in someone which makes them want to stay or have a longer term relationship.
It can be difficult in these circumstances to figure out if it is real because they are doing the surface things with you, i.e., spending time, taking you out, being physically affectionate, etc. But, the key is finding out from them where they see things in the long-term. If they insist on keeping it casual and only plan with you for the short-term, you are in a casual relationship.
Others may take some time off from a dating period to reassess and go through a process of healing. They won’t even attempt to connect with you emotionally because they realize they are not ready. Don’t mistake time and interactions with them for something substantial, because they have already told you exactly how they feel and where they are emotionally. Don’t waste too much time on this person because they have already let you know they are not ready.
Everyone deals with a break up differently and no judgment here, but if you are looking to develop a meaningful relationship with someone be careful of rebound relationships or developing feelings for someone who hasn’t recovered from their last relationship or who is using you to get over a broken heart.
Sex versus love
Sex is a powerful weapon. It feels good, draws you closer to another person, and when there is chemistry, it intensifies the relationship. But, sex also complicates things too.
When you are physical with someone, and they are giving you those oxycontin, ‘feel good’ emotions that happen when you are intimate with someone. These ‘feel good’ emotions can often mask some red flags, and developing issues in a relationship. So how do you differentiate whether it’s sex or love? Here’s a couple of ways.
Ask yourself if sex is the center of your relationship or a cornerstone? Here’s the difference. When you love someone, and you are very compatible, this will often make the sexual interactions with them more intense and add a layer to the relationship.
But, sex won’t be the primary thing that feeds the relationship. Sex is mental and then physical. In a relationship where you are building love, it’s different. You will want to have quality time to do other things with your partner in addition to the physical aspects.
These moments help you build a strong foundation which will add to the sexual component of your relationship. I have noticed with my clients who have healthy relationships, their natural enjoyment of one another adds to their chemistry in the bedroom. Hence, the mental connection they have developed helps them have a stronger relationship overall versus it being merely physical.
On the other hand, this is how you know sex is the center versus the cornerstone of the relationship. Sex drives the relationship. The interactions are limited to sex. You don’t have shared moments that you can relate to where sex isn’t the primary activity or the experiences you have with one another. In fact, it may seem that if sex isn’t involved, the other person’s time spent with you is limited or there are gaps of time in them being around you.
As much as most of us can relate to having a bit of fun and an intense sexual experience with someone, these aren’t often the relationships that ended up being serious ones for us. It’s because connections are built on other factors in addition to sexual chemistry. As much as you may think you can get someone to love you more through ‘good sex,’ time and time again this hasn’t proven to be the best strategy for a long-term relationship.
Signs of a healthy relationship
There are some definite signs when you are in a healthy relationship. Here are some of them. You think of the other’s needs, sometimes before your own, or look for ways to compromise and work together. You enjoy each other inside and outside of the bedroom. You’re aware of their faults and realize that you may not like everything about them. But, those things that do bother you, you communicate them so you can work together to resolve them.
Who they are inward is equally critical to who they are on the outside, and these qualities draw you closer to them. You feel safe, respected, and valued. There is trust and open communication. It’s comfortable. You can be yourself without worrying about them judging you, loving you less, or using who you are as an excuse for leaving the relationship. When you start to feel these feelings, you are building something substantial.
By having an understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like, it will help you quickly determine if you’re building a relationship that is one based on sex versus love.
You are capable of finding love. There is a relationship that will work for you. Sometimes all you need is a nudge in the right direction.
Originally published on Thought Catalog.