Often it is difficult to discuss your wants and needs in a relationship, any relationship. And in a dating relationship this open discussion is even more problematic.
However, despite differences, men and women typically have two things in common when it comes to relationships — both want their relationships to be loving, and they definitely do not understand each other! They ask very different questions about why a relationship isn’t working out for them. They tend to misunderstand differences. What is needed is for both men and women to develop better skills in understanding those differences so that they don’t continue to misinterpret their dating partners and create unnecessary problems. All easier said than done…
According to John Gray in his famous book, Mars and Venus on a Date, “…no matter how sincere you are, if your partner is misinterpreting your innocent and automatic reactions and responses, your attempts to create a relationship may be unsuccessful. It is not enough merely to be authentic in sharing yourself; to succeed in dating you need to consider how you will be interpreted as well.”
So, how do we improve our dating skills?
Dating is certainly awkward and has definite moments of pain and discomfort. Each of us can think of several examples to explain this uncomfortable predicament. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. Really! As a matter of fact, if you are looking for that special someone, the fastest way of finding him or her — and being found — is to create positive dating experiences.
It is also very important to be prepared for what to expect in each stage of dating (attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy, engagement). When our relationships make sense, we don’t make as many mistakes; we are also able to learn from mistakes and are thus released from making the same mistakes again and again. According to John Gray, “learning from mistakes helps prevent repetition of negative patterns.”
Gray, John. (1997). Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide for Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship. Harper-Collins Publishers.