Guide to a Healthy Relationship
Dating in the digital age can be tricky. You’re presented with an array of apps, websites, and technology that can help you find someone, but can also be frustrating and disruptive. These technologies can help start a new relationship, but also drive people apart and create problems if they’re not used wisely.
Avoid creating a fantasy
When you meet someone online, it can be all too easy to build up a fantasy of them in your head before meeting in person. Keep in mind that you’re not seeing the real them, but the idealized version of ourselves that we tend to present on social media, etc,” recommends Ashley Watkins, family counselor at WriteMyX and BritStudent. The photos, the hobbies, and
the bios aren’t necessarily up to date, entirely accurate, or even honest. The more time you spend messaging them before actually meeting up, the more time there is to build up a fantasy version of them on your end. And the more disappointed you could be when you meet the real person and that fantasy comes crashing down to earth.
Relationships are about more than boxes
A lot of people have a ton of boxes they’re looking to tick off when choosing a potential partner. This can mean things such as height, education, age and occupation. Dating apps and websites have advanced search options that can help a person find precisely what they’re looking for. Or can they? It’s easy to get caught up in the search, dating multiple people for
weeks or months and getting no closer to finding a person to partner with. Which is fine if you’re not looking to settle on a single person. But it’s also possible to keep going back to that online pool of endless matches and miss a connection. A big part of dating is finding out how well the other person matches you and that takes real presence of mind. Deciding if they can
respect you, have fun with you, and relate to you takes time and mindfulness, and you won’t see it in any of those boxes you ticked.
Enjoy common interests
Sharing and enjoying common ground is very healthy for a fulfilling relationship. Discover and develop common hobbies, interests, sports, and entertainment choices. These commonalities can be great for improving communication and nurturing your relationship. “Interests are perfect for having healthy discussions and debates, but it’s wise to keep them to certain topics and avoid things that upset the other person. A lot of times this means avoiding subjects such as religion, politics, and gender,” suggests Lana Craig, couples’ therapist at 1Day2Write and NextCoursework .
Dating in the digital age
Try to avoid the app conversations going on for more than a handful of messages. Move on to a phone call as soon as you’re both ready. If they’re not responsive to your messages, don’t bombard them with a series of unanswered texts. You’ll feel bad, and they will likely be overwhelmed. Listen to how they speak about their family, friends, and exes. How much time
do they spend with their close friends and family? Do they speak poorly of their exes? That could be a sign of a poor ability for self-reflection and that doesn’t bode well for a relationship. When you’re starting off something new, be honest about what you’re looking for. Are you looking for a hookup, something casual, or something serious? It’s only fair to the other person
to be up front.
Spend some time apart after a break-up
Even if you both want to stay friends, it’s a good idea to spend some time away post-breakup. Before we had the internet, it was considered a good idea to box up old photos and mementos of your ex for a while, but now all those things exist digitally online. In the digital age, you’ll want to delete your ex from your social media accounts and maybe even block their messages
for a bit. You don’t need to totally ghost the person, you can explain to them what you’re doing and why, and even schedule a time in the future to speak.
Healthy relationships take a good amount of work. Dating in the digital age is complicated, although technology has also opened up many new possibilities. A good relationship requires give and take on both sides and no app can make up for a lack of honest communication.
Joel Syder is a writer and relationship coach for OriginWritings and PhdKingdom . When he’s not writing articles about his interests for AcademicBrits , he loves to help people develop and
maintain healthy partnerships.
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