Should I date someone I met online?

Online dating has always gotten a bad rep because there are a lot of people out there who ruin it for us. What with reports regarding date rape and the spread of HIV, who wouldn’t be scared of dating someone you meet online? Especially if you’re a woman on the prowl.

But here’s what they don’t tell you.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

There will always be bad people walking this planet. Your job is to look out for yourself and detect when something isn’t quite right.

On the flip side of things, there are far more good people in this world than there are bad. What if it works out? What if this person is the one you’re looking for? Then you would definitely regret not having given him/her a chance to get to know you. Whether or not the relationship built transcends into something romantic, at least you have gained a new friend, or a new member of your network.

I know of several people who have successful relationships borne from the internet. There are those who live continents apart and managed to make it work. There are even those that never blossomed into romance, but they ended up being good friends or even business partners. Technology should be used to communicate and forge relationships that would never have happened.

But how do you go on a date with someone you met online without being paranoid? Here are a couple of tips.

  • Find a common friend. I generally would trust someone I met online if we had at least ONE common friend who could vouch for him. Before a date, I would probably milk said common friend of any information I could get so I would know what to expect.
  • But what if you don’t have a common friend? Establish a relationship with him online for a little longer. It’s important that you get to know more personal details about your date for security and safety purposes. In the event you do decide to go out with him, you should leave any information that you can with a trusted friend. This way, if anything bad comes up, they would know where to find you.
  • Take a photo of your date and send it to your friend. Again, for emergency purposes.
  • Don’t try to over impress him. If you’re interested, it’s best to show him the real you instead of putting up a front. When you’re yourself, you enjoy the experience so much more. Remember: at the end of the day, your goal is to gain a new friend, and not necessarily a new boyfriend just yet.
  • Wear something comfortable. There’s nothing more annoying than having to pull down your skirt when it climbs up your butt, or having to constantly cover your cleavage. Trust me, your dating experience will fare much better when you dress more comfortably and decently rather than slutty. This way, you also won’t be bothered by your date constantly checking out your chest.
  • Have fun. This is a choice. It’s your choice to make the most of any experience and online dating turned real life is no different. Stop overanalyzing every single move he makes and just take it for what it is. If you’re worried about the kind of impression you’re making, he probably is too. Relax and enjoy. Treat him like you would a friend and everything will be easier.

xoxo,

Cristine

 

Goal Setting in Relationships

Setting goals with your partner can be a double-edged sword. On one end, when you achieve them you feel joy and exhilaration for having realized a dream or aspiration. On the other hand, when you fail to meet them, you may face disappointment as you are forced to reevaluate your ambitions. When it comes to your relationship, setting achievable goals with a tone of collaboration can help enrich each other’s lives and support the bond between you and your partner.

The Anatomy of Relationships

No relationship is the same, and just like people change over time, so does a relationship. According to Donald Peterson, contributing author of “Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology,” there are five general stages that can be distinguished in the development of close relationships: acquaintance, buildup, continuation, deterioration and ending. Obviously not all relationships go through all stages, but the changes in goals from one stage to another are critical in determining the course a relationship will follow.

Stephen John Read and Lynn Carol Miller, also contributing authors of “Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology,” recount how individuals may base their projections of what a relationship might be like with someone in part on how each other’s life goals will mesh with one other. The idea that “opposites attract” has been debunked by research showing how “most married couples tend to be more alike than different in regards to life goals, interests, values and personality dispositions, as well as education, economic status, and other sociological variables.” In other words, when evaluating a prospective partner, people look at how they can accomplish goals in common, for example having intellectually stimulating conversations, having children, etc.

 

Goal-Setting Strategies

Relationship goals can cover the gamut, including areas such as problem solving, emotional support, financial goals, creating a family, etc. One way to set goals in your relationship is by having a weekly meeting with your significant other to go over the upcoming week and set a ‘to-do’ list of items for each other. Then, review those same items from the past week and move forward anything still needing to be completed. As part of this process, share three positive things big or small that your partner did that you liked in the past week, and one negative thing you would like them to consider working on. In time, you will have created a habit of openly talking about where things are with your relationship, and where you want them to be.

Another way to set goals with your significant other is by applying some of the guidelines set forth in “Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals.” Authors Susan B. Wilson and Michael S. Dobson recommend writing them down in specific measurable terms, so that you can visualize and achieve them with realistic deadlines. As part of defining these goals, make sure to keep them manageable and actionable, as well as include a regular review of their progress. Reward desired behavior, reinforce successes however big or small and provide feedback when correction is needed. When correcting, do so in private and be specific, focusing on the error and not the person to avoid grudges and keep a healthy outlook. Develop objectives for both the short and long term.

 

From Extrinsic to Intrinsic Motivation

In a study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” researchers examined the connection between relationship satisfaction and self-regulation. “Individuals experiencing higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship exhibit higher levels of perceived control, goal focus, perceived partner support, and positive affect during goal pursuit.” This results in higher rates of daily progress on personal goals. In other words, as your relationship satisfaction increases, so does your motivation to effectively self-regulate your actions and progress toward achieving your goals.

According to Peterson, goals between partners tend to converge to the extent that transformations occur mutually. For example, “a person who initially stopped smoking to please a partner may genuinely come to find smoking abhorrent.” Changes in personal dispositions of this kind are independent of the relationship, and when they occur they can reduce the demands for accommodation by shifting the motivation from an extrinsic to an intrinsic place. Keep in mind that any union is limited by the biological needs and personal goals of the individuals in the relationship, so revisiting them on a regular basis can keep interests and values aligned in the long term.

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From: Live Strong by Raquel Villareal