Rachel Zwell | April 13, 2016

Going from Dating to Relationship : 3 Life-Changing Concepts for Connecting

Each date we go on is like a new social learning opportunity. Every date, from the best to the worst is a chance to find out something new.

Read this post if this sounds like you:


We often look for some sort of formula to apply: “Ask this question on the second date,” or “Never talk about your previous relationships until at least the fifth date.”

Those who are regular readers of our blog know there are NO hard and fast rules when it comes to dating, except to be honest with yourself and engage. Dating is actually a cool playground for personal development and growth. It’s a chance to learn who you are, what you want, and how others perceive you (or how you hope they perceive you).

Dating is also a great chance to let go of our limiting beliefs and explore the things holding us back. It can help you gain a greater and deeper knowledge of yourself and build your confidence and social opportunities.

#1: It’s Time to Let Go of “The One”

Many of us have been raised with this Cinderella/Prince Charming mentality: there’s ONE person out there for us. This is reinforced by romantic comedies, books, and unrealistic portrayals of relationships in the media. This leads to a scarcity mentality and the feeling we might “mess up” our only opportunity by a single misstep.

Thank goodness this is a myth! It’s so freeing to know there are many people out there you might connect with. If one situation isn’t right and you’ve put forth your true and honest self, then you can sleep well at night, knowing you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future.

The most important takeaway is to be true to your yearnings, and to who YOU are.

So often, we find we hold back at first because we’re nervous about being honest and then being rejected. When he doesn’t call, we ask ourselves what “we” did to scare him away. Did we talk about our parents too much? Was it because we mentioned marriage, or children, or “taboos” like religion or politics?

The truth is, if he didn’t call and you were honest with your interaction, then it just wasn’t a good fit for the time. You can’t change someone at their fundamental level or trick them into being interested. That mentality will only lead to bigger problems and shortfalls down the road.

#2: Accentuate the Positive!

In “The Heart of the Fight,” Drs. Bob and Judith Wright discuss the Rules of Engagement and how couples can productively engage in conflict. These rules of engagement can be applied in other areas of our life. (Hint: it’s not just for couples.) They’re important for singles and those who are dating as well.

One of my favorite rules of engagement? Accentuate the Positive. Each interaction you go into, you should enter with an open mind and an open heart. Maybe it won’t be a love connection (or even a “like” connection), but you can always find positive aspects of humanity in each person (even if they’re kind of a jerk).

If they are a jerk and there’s nothing immediately positive about the connection, then reframe it into a great learning opportunity to see how YOU deal with jerks. It’s a chance for you to call them out on their jerky behavior and let them know why you didn’t like it. What a great moment for growth and self-exploration!

It can be hard to get into the growth mindset after the disappointment of a crappy date, but in truth, you learn even more when things don’t go as planned. You can explore the takeaways you gained from the situation, and you can rest easy knowing you were honest, it’s over, and you don’t regret placating him or suppressing your own feelings.

#3: Express and Agree with the Truth—Always!

Another rule of engagement is you must express and agree with the truth, always. This can be difficult. So often in conflict, we get in a tit-for-tat war where one person says, “You’re this way,” and we say, “No, I’m not ALWAYS this way—there was one time….”

Instead, step back; acknowledge that in almost every criticism or conflict there’s an underlying nugget of truth. It’s okay to still be bothered by it. It’s okay to say, “You’re right about this, but it really pisses me off that you said it.”

Finding the truth in conflict is a great opportunity for growth. Maybe it will lead to a deeper connection and a better date. Maybe you’ll find yourself going from dating to relationship. Maybe it will lead to the realization that the person you’re dating is fundamentally different and you’re just not connecting. Either way, it’s perfectly fine. It’s really all about the fun and excitement of dating and learning new truths and new things about ourselves.

Your deeper connection starts with you. It’s about allowing yourself to be vulnerable. We’ve all been there, and it’s not easy. It takes a lot of bravery and strength to be comfortable with yourself and share with another person.

Each time something doesn’t work out, there’s also a tendency to apply it to a formulaic way of thinking: When I talk about this, it doesn’t work, so I shouldn’t bring it up. Some of us might lean back on our limiting beliefs. We start to train ourselves to hold back more and more.

It takes a lot of bravery and strength to pick up, brush off, and overcome this mindset. However, once you find the strength, it will propel you forward to a more comfortable place. Be accepting of who you are and put it out there on each date.

To learn more about how to be yourself, find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general), click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.

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Rachel Zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.

Featured blog post image “couple” courtesy of Flickr user Wyatt Fisher licensed under CC by 2.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.