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:

    • I’m interested in going from dating to relationship, but I want to have great dates and find the right person.
    • I want my dating experiences to help me learn more about myself and how to have a healthy relationship.
    • I’d like to learn more about better living and how to find true love and happiness.


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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About the Author

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.

What Questions Should
I Ask on a First Date?

Don’t you wish there was a script for first dates? A standard set of screening questions? Have you ever seen the article circulating online detailing 36 questions YOU should ask to “find love”?

We’ve all read magazine articles like this before—promising the perfect interaction and happily ever after if we just screen with the right set of questions.

In reality, there’s no tried-and-true questionnaire for screening your dates. In online dating profiles, we do get the answers to some questions. But not all of us meet our dates online. What about the girl you approach at the gym or the guy you meet at a networking event? You can’t exactly ask them to fill out a match.com profile on the spot, just to see if you’re compatible.

It’s easy to make snap judgments when we walk in on a date. We look at how our date is dressed, we evaluate their jewelry and their habits, and we immediately have a reaction. Maybe his glasses remind you of your dad or her perfume reminds you FAR too much of the coworker who drives you nuts.

The truth about first dates: To have a successful first date (and a successful fifty-first date)—it’s all about what you put into it! What does a successful first date look like, anyway? I consider it a good date if I’m enjoying my own company, learning something new from my date, and learning about myself. When you’re fully engaged, expressing your yearnings, and being up front and honest about who you are, you can discover more about yourself and others—even if you don’t feel a romantic connection.

This ISN’T a Great Date

Sometimes “bad dates” can teach us more about ourselves than the great ones. The next time you’re on a date that seems to be going awry, ask yourself what’s really bothering you about your date.

Maybe he’s rude. Maybe she talks incessantly about herself. Maybe she’s condescending. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be fully IN the situation. Let your date know what’s bothering you, and see what you can learn from the interaction. It will tell you a great deal about how you handle being uncomfortable and the ways you shy away from or engage in conflict.

Not every date is a perfect match, but every date is an opportunity. Part of the joy and fun of dating is getting to know different people and getting to know yourself. If something bothers you, explore what’s going on with you!

This IS a Great Date

Many times, first dates might actually be going well, yet we find ourselves holding back. Maybe you don’t ask the hard questions because you’re having fun: you’re attracted to your date and enjoying your time together. Maybe you don’t want to scare them away by bringing up big topics like babies, houses, and marriage. Maybe you don’t want to find out they’re a homebody when you’re an adventurer.

Here’s the truth: a first date is a great time to ask anything! You haven’t fully invested your time, effort, and energy into the relationship yet. It’s a great time to find out if you’re on the same page and working toward the same outcomes so you can continue. Why wait until you’re six or seven dates in, only to be disappointed that you’re not really jiving on some of your biggest yearnings?

Some of us go into our first dates with our tough question ready—guns a-blazin’. We’ll ask anything, engage in conflict, and figure out what page they’re on. THEN, as time goes on and we become more emotionally invested in the relationship, we start holding ourselves back. By then, we’ve put our emotions and heart into the relationship, so we don’t want to be crushed when we get an answer we don’t want.

Relationships Are About Continued Engagement

In The Heart of the Fight, we talk about how you can continue to discuss and bring up your yearnings, engage in conflict, and keep the communication flowing throughout your entire relationship. For the first TEN YEARS or more, you’re trying to find your footing and you’re vying for control and understanding. Face it: if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to address these issues. Putting them off is just staving off the inevitable.

Dating is such an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself and someone else. It’s exciting to engage with someone and to learn more about your reactions—what you like, what you don’t like, and how you feel. Allow yourself to go off-script and get down to discussing what really matters to you. You’ll feel better about the relationship if you like who you are being. I want to be someone who takes risks, who tells the truth, and who gets to know myself better with each date.

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. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel is a Coach and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Wright. She specializes in coaching adolescents, helping them navigate young adulthood and grow into their gifts and leadership. Rachel is responsible for leading and facilitating groups during weekend trainings. Currently, Rachel is pursuing her master’s in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.

Blog image courtesy Flickr user dickuhne.

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.