Love. How such a simple word can leave the brightest entrepreneur scratching their heads is anyone’s guess. However, despite our lives being steeped in startup land, many of us still want to put attention and effort into maintaining romantic relationships.
At any given time we are floating between one of these three stages – looking for love, trying to survive an ex and working to maintain a healthy relationship. Today I’m going to take you through those stages to offer useful advice that will assist you in transitioning to the stage you desire, because around here we do believe that love AND entrepreneurship can coexist.
3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Dating
You’re single. What are you looking for? You’ve probably been asked that question, or a variation of it, many times. Most of us can readily identify what we don’t want, but putting a finger on exactly what we’re looking for in a partner and/or a relationship is often a difficult task.
Below are three questions that you should ask yourself as you’re preparing to start dating.
Question #1- Are you looking for a serious relationship?
If your answer to this question is “yes,” then your approach to dating may be a little different from the tactics used by someone looking for a casual setup.
Questions such as “are you looking to just ‘date’ or are you looking for a serious relationship” will help you narrow down your search for others with whom have similar relationship goals. Most will share their intentions.
Question #2- Are you looking to date many different individuals at the same time?
If your answer to this question is “yes,” you’ve set a solid starting point. Sharing your intentions up front avoids hurt feelings and very uncomfortable future conversations.
Question #3- Are you simply interested in friends with benefits?
This is the tricky question, but if you’re being honest with yourself, it’s really not that hard to answer.
If your answer to this question is “yes,” then again… great starting point. There are many individuals who are not interested in this type of relationship. You don’t want to hurt or offend anyone, but if dating is not something you want, nor does it interest you on any level, then you don’t want to be involved with someone who does.
Dating is very different than it used to be, and you truly may not know what you are looking for at first. Take time to figure it all out before you get serious with someone new.
5 Tips On Maintaining Healthy And Thriving Relationships.
Remember the first time you met your significant other? How you felt the first time you spoke on the phone, had your first kiss, or your first night together?
Often times in relationships we can become content. We forget, or rather neglect to put the effort in we once did. Following these five simple steps will assist you on your path to maintaining a healthy and thriving relationship.
Remember the simple things- Saying a simple “Thank you,” “I appreciate you” or even “I love you” takes moments of your time, but has a phenomenal lasting effect. It’s the acknowledgment that you’ve’ noticed what they’ve done, are doing and you truly appreciate them.
Bringing home an unexpected gift- We are surrounded by holidays that remind us to think, or buy something for our significant other on these specific days. Try bringing him/her something home on a Tuesday, “just because.”
Is your significant other working within the home? – Surprise them with a day off. Clean the house, cook dinner, wash clothes or take the kids to the park. Working within the home often feels like a “Thankless” job. Stepping In for a little while is a “Thank you” without words.
Maintaining your personal appearance- Often times when couples commit they tend to “let themselves go”. Meaning….gain a great deal of weight, stop wearing make-up, even showering on a daily basis. Remember the Golden Rule. “What it takes to get them is what it takes the keep them.”
Keeping your romantic life exciting- Your love life may become repetitive. You know how to “take care of business” so you tend to get in and get it (No pun intended). Discuss your fantasies, experiences you would like to have, and things you are tired of. Once you’ve mutually decided …GO FOR IT!
This is the person you intend on spending the rest of your life with. It can be as exciting, or boring as you make it.
Dealing with the stresses of the Ex’s
There really isn’t a class that you can take, or a way to mentally prepare for all of the ups and downs that can occur when dealing with your significant others ex, specifically when it comes to their children. If you are blending a family, then you have exes on both sides to deal with. There are holidays, sporting events, school plays and birthday parties in which you must deal with one another. In an ideal world everyone would put personal feelings aside and do what is in the best interest of the children. That actually happens more than you think but, not as often as it should.
Below are tips that may help you and your significant other deal with stresses of the ex-together.
- Always operate as a United Front! (Extremely Crucial). Ex-spouses may try to manipulate circumstances if they feel they have a “leg up” over your significant other. (I.E…can be the children, or feeling a sense of entitlement toward your significant other). Communication between the two of you concerning any, and all decisions regarding the ex, children, changing of schedules etc. Being in agreement depletes some of the power the ex feels he/she may have.
- NEVER, EVER give your ex the impression that you want to do what he/she asks because if you do, you’ll be in the dog house. Your ex will take this as an opening to ask you about your relationship. (“Without really asking)”. You may not do this purposely, but this will have a long term effect on your significant other from both your ex and children.
- If you and your ex have shared parenting, or specific visitation days, when/if possible arrange the dates so you and your significant other have some nights/weekends alone. Blending a family and dealing with all comes with it can take a toll on your relationship. It’s up to the two of you to put the work in to stay connected and committed to making this work.
- When planning a night or weekend with your significant other and your ex has a pattern of interrupting, ask a friend or family member if they will be the “go between” in case of an emergency. Then talk with your children, share you’re plans, but no specifics. Let them know if an emergency arises, or they simply miss you, they can contact the “go between” who will then get in touch with you. Even in divorced situations, children want to see their parents happy. The fact that you’re sharing your plans gives them a sense of being included. The bonus here… It sends a very undeniable message to the ex that he/she is not welcome. To avoid the “20 questions” your children may have coming, inform your ex that your children have no idea where you are going, so no need to ask them.
- You should not allow your ex to speak badly about your significant other. Shut that down immediately!!! This is a most definite way of baiting you into a fight. It really doesn’t matter what they think about your significant other, or anything else for that matter. You are divorced for a reason. If you do not get along on any terms, then there isn’t a reason to discuss anything other than your children. If he/she can’t seem to stick to the subject of your children, and two out of three conversations are toxic, you should have a mediator delegate a schedule for you both. If changes need to be made, that individual is to be contacted.
After a divorce or break-up of a long term relationship many life changes take place, and will for years. Setting boundaries immediately with your ex is key for the success of your future and future relationships. Second marriages and, or relationships that have children involved face challenges that most first marriages, or relationships where there aren’t children face. In a sense you are not only in a relationship with your significant other, but his/her ex. Do your best to keep your relationship with your significant other, and the family you are working to build first and foremost in your mind.
It’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of crap that may come your way. It’s up to the both of you to work together, figure it out and make it work! It most certainly can be done!
Sheila Blagg is a certified Divorce Mediator through the Ohio Supreme courts & the founder of Divorce 2 Dating. The first social networking site for individuals navigating a divorce.
Photo courtesy of Ashleigh W [FLICKR]