"Don’t say that, you’ll look too needy." "Don’t ask to define the relationship, you don’t want to make them feel pressured or scare them away." "You should play hard to get."
Does any of this dating advice sound familiar to you? It probably does to a lot of people. Many people feel extra pressure in the beginning of dating someone new not to “rock the boat," typically fearing that if they communicate their needs or preferences early on they will lose the other person, so instead they sacrifice their authenticity for connection.
The problem with this type of dating advice is that if you listen to it you won’t have the opportunity to see how the person you’re dating responds when you communicate your needs or try to set boundaries, which can provide useful information about your compatibility.
Let’s say you are out on a date that you’ve enjoyed but it’s getting late and you have a presentation tomorrow morning so you want to go home. You don’t let your date know because you don’t want them to think you don’t like them. What if they had responded by trying to push you to stay longer or becoming agitated? Another example is telling the person you’re dating that you would appreciate more communication from them during the week when you don’t see one another. Are they responsive to your needs and open to having a discussion or do they shut down and accuse you of being demanding? Regardless of how the conversation goes, it can give you good information regarding whether a potential partner is capable of meeting your needs and how they respond to your feedback.
A relationship is able to thrive when each partner is able to meet their partner’s realistic relationship needs. Answering the following questions can help you clarify your needs:
When you have clarity about the answers to these questions, you can observe, when getting to know someone new, whether they are capable of meeting your relationship needs. If you discover they can’t, you may feel disappointed but you will likely save yourself a lot of time and future heartache.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.
Ready to create more satisfying relationships? Dr. Roxy’s free Relationship Needs Guide can help you identify what you want from a relationship, whether you’re single or in a relationship. Sign up for her monthly emails here and download your copy today.
Roxy Zarrabi, Psy.D., is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in helping women struggling with low self-esteem, anxiety, or dating/relationship challenges to feel confident about themselves and the future of their relationships.
Dr. Zarrabi empowers clients to tap into their inner wisdom and utilize their strengths to combat their inner critic, boost their mood, and enhance their relationships. Her goal is to help people learn to create the meaningful lives they desire.
She is the author of Mindful Dating, a Psychology Today blog about the psychology of attraction and relationship patterns. More information about her therapy services can be found at www.drroxyzarrabi.com. You can also stay updated on her latest freebies, updates, and blog posts by joining her email list here and you can connect with Dr. Zarrabi online via Instagram and Facebook.