I seem to have one of those faces that puts people (even strangers) at ease, and because of this, I end up in a lot of interesting conversations with people at parties, on airplanes, in movie lines, etc.
If my new conversation buddy is single and discovers that I’m a dating and relationship coach, they often solicit impromptu dating advice from me. And time after time, the dialogue often goes like this:
Single person: “What’s the best way to get dating advice?”
Me: “Well, where have you been getting advice up to this point?”
Single person: “From my friends.” (work colleagues, neighbors, etc.)
Me: “Great! How are their relationships going?”
Single person: “They’re all single.”
I have to say, this always puzzles me. Why would you take advice from someone who is where you are now rather than where you want to be? Part of becoming successful at dating and sustaining happy relationships is knowing the right people to ask for advice on the topic. Skip the single friends who obviously haven’t figured out love any better than you have, and instead seek guidance from couples with actual long-term relationship success stories under their belt.
Find a couple who has been in a long-term, happy, healthy, committed relationship you actually admire, and ask them for advice. This couple will be a wealth of useful information because staying together (happily) takes a lot of energy, growth, compromise and caring. Make sure it’s a couple with a relationship dynamic you genuinely respect and then ask them:
- How they met
- What each of them did while dating that successfully wooed the other person
- How they expressed (and continue to express) their needs to each other along the way
- How they handle disagreements
- How many times a day they laugh together
Talk to a couple where one (or both) have divorced previously and now are remarried. This couple will have wise and valuable advice because they have a basis for comparison gained from dating and marrying at different phases in their life. Ask this couple:
- What they learned from their first marriage
- What they learned when they were single
- What they did differently when they dated their current spouse
- What they are doing differently in this marriage versus their first
If religion is important to you, talk to married clergy member. Ask them:
- How their faith has helped and hindered their marriage
- About the challenges they’ve helped other couples overcome
- If they offer marriage preparation classes
Talk to a relationship coach, therapist or psychologist:
These professionals help countless couples navigate a wide variety of challenges, and they know proven steps to help prevent relationships problems in the first place. So learn what they know before you ever officially need them.
The bottom line is, before you assume you are doing everything wrong in love, consider that perhaps you’re just getting the wrong advice from the wrong “experts” (hint: your single friends are single for a reason). Seek wisdom from those already mastering relationship success and see if that doesn’t help improve your odds in love a bit.