Q. I wish dating was not so stressful!!. I wonder if what I am seeing and hearing is really who that person is or who they want me to think they are. What is appropriate to ask and what should wait for a few dates? Do you have any suggestions for how to make dating less stressful?
— Dana

Dating can be stressful and cause anxiety. But it can also be fun, depending on how you approach it.
Before you go on the very first date know what you are looking for. Have your deal breaker list at least started so if you absolutely know you could not tolerate something, don’t have a second date. If you want someone who is a good communicator but he talks about himself non-stop, no second date. If he drinks more than you are comfortable with, no second date.
Asking questions is always recommended. Try to get enough information on the first date to help you decide if you want a second. If you do get a good connection and want more dates, as dating progresses, deepen your questions.
Try and find out how that person was raised, a lot of people were not raised on love, they were raised on survival. That’s why you see so many men/women not being able to love a person properly. You will find a lot of good looking, damaged people on the inside because of their past.
I don’t believe that a lot of damaged people really understand that they cannot love properly.. I don’t think they have made the connection. The numbers of people who have been married more than once, maybe two or three times, are very high. No doubt this issue plays a part in those numbers. If you don’t dissect your issues after a first failed marriage or relationship, how is the next really going to be better.
You can certainly ask your date if he has been involved in the counseling process. It is probably fair to say that many people have had survival childhoods. They are very different from the loving childhood. That’s not to say that adults from the later group don’t have issues but survival and love are very different.
Think of dating like this: if it feels good on the first date (that means the communication, the chemistry, no bad gut reactions) then have a second date. Don’t let loneliness or desperation cause you to miss something. Try to really get to know the person through communication, not sex!
Dana, get to know yourself, do your homework, then hit the dating field, not before!!!

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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