Dating Dilemmas

Most people loathe dating. You’re on your best behavior, putting on an Academy Awards performance. Usually underneath the polite chatter is a stream of self talk about whether this person you’ve met is a viable “candidate” for life partnership. It’s a giant size-up game, which is particularly nerve-racking for people who have gone through a divorce, and already often feel a bit bruised, discarded or unlovable. Some typical dilemmas center around the issues of:

  • feeling objectified
  • fear of getting hurt again
  • whether it’s fair to move forward if you know this person isn’t your version of marriage material
  • how much to share
  • who takes initiative
  • who pays
  • when and if to have sex
  • when and if to tell your kids
  • when to introduce this person to your family
  • fear of making the same mistakes
  • what’s okay to put up with

In my therapy work with dating clients I tell them that there are four firm guidelines I suggest which can make the whole thing easier and more fun:

  1. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and honor them. Stand by yourself.
  2. Keep your sense of humor. It helps you maintain perspective. If it goes badly, chances are that nobody will get killed.
  3. Insist upon reciprocity. Expect give and take. Share responsibility for making things happen or not.
  4. Don’t rush it. Pushing things prematurely can create pseudo intimacy, and more illusions. Let things unfold naturally without pressure. If it’s the right thing, force doesn’t make it happen.

Pay attention to these guidelines, and you’ll have a much better time, whether you meet your “life partner” or not.

Good night and good luck,

Susan Lager




About Susan Lager

ABOUT ME Susan Lager, LICSW, BCD I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC, lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with Thom, the sweet man I'm still married to after 34 years. (We have an awesome 29 year old son named Alec who will run the free world someday). I knew I'd survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the scenic, historic little city of Portsmouth, on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I was especially thrilled to attend the Portsmouth Psychotherapy Institute, an offshoot of the B.I.P., where I did post-graduate training, and then went into private practice creating The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy, with individuals, couples and groups. In 2010 I opened a division of the practice called COUPLESPEAK™, providing live and online coaching, training programs, workshops, and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. I'm still passionate about the work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they've taught me lots I'll pass on......
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