Monthly Archives

September 2017

The 3 Best Ways To Prepare For A Date

Early Dating, Finding A Date

The media and TV shows sometimes make us think that single people are dating all the time. The truth is, most single people don’t go on dates often, and it can be scary and worrying when they do. So the best thing we can do to prepare for a date is: Plan For The Next Day, Focus On What’s Right, Stop Shopping Around.

So maybe we have been set up by a friend, maybe we met someone online, or maybe we met someone briefly somewhere and this is now the official first date.

So what do you do now? How do you prepare?

The obvious answer is to iron your best clothes, put on makeup or trim the beard, and make sure you look nice. But how do you give the date the best chance of success?

Dating Fail

Back when I was dating, I was set up a couple of times with friends of friends. Neither of them went well. I would meet them, think they were great and start texting the next day. I later found out that they thought this was a bit intense. In hindsight, it was too much.

I’ve also had other friends who got excited about their next date, got carried away imagining what he or she will be like and how they would act. Then afterwards, my friends would come away feeling disappointed and upset because their date didn’t perfectly fit the ‘list’ in their head.

Knowing what to do on a date and what to avoid is very important. (Read What Should We Do On A First Date? Part 1) However, there are things we can do before and afterwards which will not only help us avoid the disasters we just read about, but actually increase the chance of success.

3 Dating Tips

The 3 things we can do is:

  • Plan For The Next Day
  • Focus On What’s Right
  • Stop Shopping Around

Plan For The Next Day

This sounds odd, right? I mean, naturally an important event in the week, like a first date, will take our attention and focus. But I think it’s just as important to plan something for the next day too.

This day should involve something you love doing. Playing a sport, going to a museum, meeting up with good friends, watching a film, whatever it is. I say this because it will help us and give us a good perspective, no matter how the date goes.

For example, if it goes badly, doing something we love the next day will not allow it to affect our self-confidence too much. It will allow us to keep a good perspective and realise it’s not the end of the world. It will also allow us to fill up with something good after something bad happened.

Plan something for the next day, it will help protect us and give us time to reflect

Alternatively, if the date went well, it will allow us to create some space. Instead of getting carried away, texting them and jumping in too quickly without knowing how the other person really feels, we will have a distraction that allows us to not rush in and get too intense too quickly.

Plan something for the next day, it will help protect us and give us time to reflect.

Focus On What’s Right

Before we go on a date, we can naturally start to imagine what they will be like, how they will act, their sense of humour, what they like doing. We can easily end up arriving with a mental checklist in our head.

We then make a decision based on how many boxes they tick.

Now I always say we need to think about our values and what is really important to us. And think about the kind of person we want to invest in and grow with. But I also say no-one is perfect. No-one will tick off every single criterion. (Read How Dating Is Like Painting A Room.)

Instead of focusing on what is wrong, on where they ‘fail’, focus on what’s right. Focus on where you connect.

You can allow a romantic spark to grow, instead of trying to force it

Naturally, there will people we date where we realise there isn’t enough in common, or they could say something and a massive alarm bell goes off. That can happen, that’s understandable. But by focusing on what’s really important to us, and focusing on where you connect, you can allow a romantic spark to grow instead of trying to force it via a list.

Stop Shopping Around 

If you have arranged a date with someone, then stop shopping around. Stop arranging dates with other people and commit to what is in front of you.

I have spoken before in more depth about why I think this is a good idea; I believe committing to the relationship in front of us means it has more chance of working, and fosters better relationship principles whether this specific date works out or not (Read What Does Faithfulness Look Like When I’m Dating?).

Give the relationship the best chance of success

It’s best to go into the date looking for ways we connect, and stopping ourselves thinking about other people we may like and arranging other dates. This can give the person in front of us our respect and attention, and give the relationship the best chance of success.

Imagine If…

Imagine if we stopped treating dating like something to fear, and instead focused on the best ways to prepare for it. Imagine going on a date where you both focused on each other, gave yourself the best chance to connect, and were able to keep a healthy perspective no matter how it goes.

The best way to try and do this is to remember: Plan For The Next Day, Focus On What’s Right, Stop Shopping Around.

Is it easy to focus on who’s in front of you when technology now means we can meet more people than ever? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 25/9/2017

What Is ‘Stashing’? And Why Should I Avoid It?

Early Dating, Healthy Relationship Rhythms

We’ve had many unsavoury trends in dating recently, like ghosting and breadcrumbing, but now ‘stashing’ has begun to take hold. This is not very kind, selfless, or fair, and if we are being ‘stashed’, then we can’t put up with their excuses. 

Through the ages, people’s search for love has undoubtedly had its up and downs. Whether we’re talking about modern dating or old school courtship, people have sadly always had their hearts broken.

Looking for love has never come with any guarantees, and sadly, that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

No doubt some unkind trends have always existed in the search for love, but recently new ones have developed (or old trends have been given names), and they have received lots more attention.


I remember getting ghosted before anyone called it ghosting. I met up with a girl a few times, thought it was going well and we liked each other. Then never heard from her again.

No call, no text, no explanation. It hurt (Read 6 Ways to Break-up Well: Part 1 (No Ghosting or Breadcrumbing allowed!)

Recently, another practice that leaves daters feeling hurt has been given a name: stashing.

What Is ‘Stashing’?

Most of us know what stashing means in general terms. When we were younger we may have hidden our pocket money under the bed, or hidden things of great value somewhere in our house (like sweets and chocolate maybe?) for safe keeping. We stash it away so no-one sees it or finds out about it.

When people are dating and are romantically involved, a kind of ‘stashing’ can occur. It means one person doesn’t want anyone else to find out about the relationship.

So they don’t put pictures up on social media, introduce their partner to their friends or family, talk about them to anyone else, or go out anywhere together where they could be recognised.

It leaves the person getting stashed feeling confused, hurt and undervalued

The person who is doing the stashing gets the excitement of a new relationship and all the perks but doesn’t let it affect another part of their lives. It is ‘stashed’ away so no one else can see it.

It leaves the person getting stashed feeling confused, hurt, and undervalued. (Read Stories From The Dating Scene: Secret Boyfriends and Bad Endings).

Warning Signs

You may know someone in this situation, or be in it yourself. You may be thinking that it’s different, or it will change at some point. Well here are some warning signs to watch out for, because you deserve more than being a dirty little secret.

I Just Want To Be Sure’

Now if two people start dating, and they don’t want to tell everyone at first because they want to keep it private for a while as they get to know each other, fine. Two people have agreed and think the reasons for doing it are valid.

However, if one person is saying it, and weeks or months later only one of you wants to keep it a secret and ‘stash’ it while the other one wants to tell people, there is a problem.

You shouldn’t be made to wait indefinitely while they decide if you are good enough

They may say ‘I just want to be sure’. But if you’re ready to commit, to start to invest and make them a part of your life, maybe you’ve been ready for weeks or months, it is probably a sign that they aren’t ever going to be ready.

You shouldn’t be made to wait indefinitely while they decide if you are good enough. This red flag should make us realise something isn’t right.

‘It Will Change Eventually’ 

I know people in this situation who think that it will just change eventually. They’ll decide they’re ready for a relationship one day and then you can tell everyone.

Sadly, if they’re being stubborn, and allowed to keep it a secret, they will continue to do so. If you can’t get to the underlying reason why you’re being ‘stashed’, and more importantly agree on it, then there is no reason why it will change.

Relationships are meant to be fun and enjoyable. This involves becoming part of each other’s lives. This also takes hard work. And if someone is avoiding that, the relationship won’t work.

The situation will not just change if they aren’t willing to change their underlying attitude and if they aren’t willing to focus on committing to and growing a healthy relationship.


It’s also worth remembering that this person who is stashing, may be doing it to more than one person. They may be having these secret relationships with more than one of you, which is why they don’t want other people to know about the relationship.

Note To The Stashers 

Doing this to someone is not nice or selfless. It sends a message that the person you are dating isn’t good enough to meet your friends and family, and that they aren’t good enough to be known as your girlfriend/boyfriend.

Trying to control them and convince them to not tell other people, can leave them feeling confused and hurt.

It will never lead to the great relationship we are looking for

Ultimately, it’s treating people like a commodity and not as a person you want to build a relationship with. It will never lead to the great relationship you are looking for. (Read Why I Chose To Think Differently About My Relationship)

Imagine If…

Dating is hard enough without creating trends that replace kindness and respect with confusion and hurt. Stashing just leaves people feeling unworthy.

Imagine if we remembered that dating involves making each other part of your lives, which requires hard work, commitment, and brings enjoyment as you build something together.

Stashing should be stashed away, never to be seen again.

Do you know someone who has been hurt by Stashing? Comments welcome below. 

Originally posted 18/9/2017 

Being Cautious Vs Jumping In: Which Dating Habit Is Best?

Early Dating

Some people are hesitant when it comes to dating. They like to think about it, pray for ages, meet up together in big groups first, then decide. Others jump straight in, invest everything, get their hopes up and see what happens. I actually think both can work and no one needs to go against their core personality. But we all can, and need to, learn something from the opposite perspective. 

So there I was, travelling back with a friend and the conversation moved onto her love life.

As someone who doesn’t like to pry too much, I never assume it’s automatically okay to talk about these things, even with friends, unless they bring it up.

But she mentioned this guy about five times and seemed to be waiting for us to ‘stumble’ onto the subject. So we did.

Jumping In 

As she spoke, she stressed that she was an optimist and always full of hope. She liked to jump straight in with things and put her heart on the line, in all areas of her life, including dating.

She said she is happy to invest and hope things are going to develop. But she ends up getting hurt quite a bit because of this attitude. But she doesn’t necessarily want to change her approach completely.

Being Cautious

My friend also mentioned that a mutual friend of ours, her best friend who we saw recently, was the total opposite. If she liked someone she would pray about it, think about it for ages, meet up with the guy in a big group lots of times before she said yes to a date.

This process would often take months.

They get annoyed at each other

My friend said she cannot really talk to her best friend about this stuff because they have such opposing views. They get annoyed at each other. Which is quite sad really.

Avoid The Cliché 

Now, this is the point where the temptation of the cliché needs to be avoided. I feel lots of people would be tempted to say ‘they should avoid the extremes and learn to be somewhere in the middle’. So be a bit cautious and a bit risky. But that isn’t right.

Both and all types of people can find love

I think God loves the fact some people jump into things wholeheartedly. They take chances, take risks and are full of hope. Longing for change.

I also think God loves people who are more cautious and think more long term. Weighing up options and thinking about things from every side.

Both personalities are amazing. We all act differently and have different hopes and baggage, but both and all types of people can find romantic love.

So Now What?

This post isn’t about getting people to date like me, or date like my friend, or in a way that ‘follows-these-simple-steps’. We don’t need to change the core of our personalities to find romantic love. However, that doesn’t mean we can justify all of our actions because it’s ‘how God made me’.

We need to realise that we can all learn something about ourselves and about love. This can help us and the person we’ll be (or are already) with, flourish more and more.

I always say dating should be fun, but not at other people’s expense. Whether we are cautious or jump in, we can’t do it in a way that is selfish and hurts others. But there are things we can all think about.

A Word To The Cautious 

  • Can’t confuse cautious thinking with selfish thinking
  • Need to spend time together

We cannot make the mistake of confusing cautious thinking with selfish thinking. Sometimes people can only think about themselves, and even leave the other person ‘waiting’ ’til they decide what is best ‘for me’. We can’t forget to think about the other person’s feelings too.

Also, if you need to chat with someone and ‘determine the relationship’ and your expectations before you move forwards, that’s fine. In fact, that’s healthy no matter what our personality or starting point. (Read Dating Someone? Commitment Assumptions Can Cause Cracks) But relationships are more than an academic exercise.

You need to go on dates and learn about each other

We need to realise going out on dates, spending time together, is just as important. Keep talking, keep discussing, but spending time together as people who are looking for romance (not just people pretending to be friends). You need to go on dates and learn about each other, love and a connection can’t be totally pre-worked out. (Read What Should We Do On A First Date?)

A Word To Those Jumping In 

  • What kind of person do you want?
  • What ‘type’ has hurt you in the past?

It’s important to ask yourself, in amongst all of that jumping in, what kind of person do you want to date. What kind of person do you want to end up with? Because it’s all very well putting your heart on the line and seeing what happens, but people can get hurt.

There needs to be something behind your decisions. Jumping in after you have thought about what relationship you want to build is different from jumping in blind, which often leads to hurt and confusion. So we need to be active and think about why we want a relationship, what our values are, and who we could build something good with. (Read One Great Dating Tip From Ruth and Boaz. Really?)

Many people go for the same type over and over, and end up with the same result

If you aren’t sure how to answer that, then think about what ‘type’ of person has hurt you in the past. Or what ‘type’ of person it hasn’t worked out with. Many people go for the same type over and over, and end up with the same result. Is there a pattern and if so, why not try to date someone who is different?

Imagine If…

As I said to my friend, there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model for dating. We all need to learn more, but we do need to remember we have different personalities and different challenges. (Read Dating Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint).

Imagine if, we embraced who we are as we dated. No one is perfect, we can all learn from others, but we need to be honest and real to find a relationship where we feel loved for who we are.

What personality do you relate to in this blog? What could help you moving forward? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 11/9/2017

4 Bad Reasons For Breaking Up Which Must Be Avoided!

Break- Ups

All relationships go through highs and lows. But what if you have doubts and fears, how do you know if they are just temporary or a reason to end it? Sadly, some relationships end, and for good reasons. But some can end for the wrong reasons. Thinking about how to avoid these bad reasons is important as we navigate our way through dating.  

So you went on some dates, then on some more dates, and decided you really liked each other. You had the DTR (determine the relationship) chat, and became official. Social media profiles were updated accordingly. Plain sailing now, right?

Well, maybe not.

Maybe a few weeks or months have passed since then, and you’re wondering if it’s what you were looking for. Some doubts have crept in, some fears are growing, but you still really like them. So which feelings are the right ones to listen to?

So which feelings are the right ones to listen to?

Should you listen to the doubts and end it? You aren’t sure anymore and you just can’t shake these thoughts. But this might be normal right? As you settle into the relationship and get more serious, these thoughts and questions naturally arise, but they do pass as well?

Soul Searching

I actually think it’s normal for people to do some soul searching after starting a new relationship.

Asking the serious questions, making sure the relationship isn’t drifting so someone doesn’t get hurt, is actually very wise and helpful. Deciding if you’re both going to invest more and more is important. The challenge is deciding if your negative thoughts and feelings are temporary or a signal that the relationship won’t work.

Now, if I had a simple five-step plan that would give everyone the answer for this tricky situation, then that would be great, but sadly I don’t. If you’re thinking about your relationship and thinking about what to do, I can at least try and help you avoid ending it for the wrong reasons.

The challenge is deciding if your negative thoughts and feelings are temporary

In a culture that places so much emphasis on finding romance, and being the perfect couple, as well as thinking the ‘newer’ the relationship the better, I think it can lead to some unhelpful/bad reasons for thinking about breaking up.

4 Reasons 

We can fall into the trap of thinking that:

  • The Grass is Greener
  • The Relationship Should Be Totally Fulfilling Me
  • I Don’t Get An Intense Romantic Rush Now
  • I Need To Figure It Out On My Own

The Grass Is Greener

The idea that gets told to us a lot in music, culture, and films, is that that new thing/product/relationship will sort out all my problems. Why work at something when we can upgrade?

And when it comes to romance, the focus is all about the rush of finding someone rather than in maintaining a relationship through the ups and downs and mundane bits. It’s easy for people to think that other girl or that guy will be better.

It’s easy to focus on someone’s best bits, to be drawn to the new and exciting possibility. The skill is in navigating and building a relationship that will last, that can give us the safety and security we really crave.

Breaking up because the possibility of something better isn’t a good or healthy reason to end it. (Read What Does Faithfulness Look Like When I’m Dating?)

The Relationship Should Be Totally Fulfilling Me

‘Be in a relationship otherwise you’re missing out!’ That’s the message that we hear constantly.

Romance is held up as the meaning of life in many parts of our culture. It’s meant to be the thing that saves us from all of our problems. So when we realise the person we date is not totally fulfilling us, some people think it’s time to end it.

In all honesty, this perspective will never lead to a long-term, healthy, and enjoyable relationship. No one person can be the source of all of our happiness and confidence.

If we are thinking of breaking up for this reason, it will not solve the problem, but just transfer it to another relationship. We need to learn to have a full life to share with someone, instead of expecting someone to sort it all out. (Read Are You Making The Relationship Mistake That Causes Less Happiness?)

I Don’t Get An Intense Romantic Rush Now

Relationships evolve over time. The rush you get when you like someone, when they first say yes, and when you start to discover a whole bunch of things about them, is great fun. It leads to intense feelings and a romantic rush.

The intensity often reduces over time, but that doesn’t mean the relationship will become boring or stale. The relationship and love will express itself differently. Growing in love is adapting to new stages.

In films, there are always intense scenes where the future couple first set eyes on each other, and they eventually get together, then the film ends before we see the intensity fade. So we don’t see what happens next. Feelings are important in a relationship, but they can’t be the only thing that guides us because they change so much. (Read How ‘Decisions’ Along With ‘Love’ Can Create Healthy Relationships.)

I Need To Figure It Out On My Own

Independence, self-reliance, and doing what makes you happy. This may be something you believe in and live your life by, but in a relationship there are two people and two hearts involved.

Learning to talk about the relationship with each other, learning to communicate what you expect and what you are both thinking is crucial. Trust and security comes out of good communication. (Read Dating Someone? Commitment Assumptions Can Cause Cracks.)

Learning to talk about everything is key

Deciding to end it without chatting about it, or more importantly, not learning to communicate as you build a relationship together, isn’t a good reason to end it. They may be feeling the same, but they may have another take on it. Learning to talk about everything is key.

Imagine If…

Relationships involve highs and lows, and there are some that will sadly end.

What we can do is learn about how to find ones we think will last, and learn to navigate the lows so that we can enjoy the highs, and keep them strong and enjoyable.

Imagine if we avoided unhelpful reasons, and we focused on helpful wisdom, that can help us build the relationships that will last, and make us feel safe and secure. We must learn how to avoid using the reasons: The Grass is Greener, The Relationship Should Be Totally Fulfilling Me, I Don’t Get An Intense Romantic Rush Now, and I Need To Figure It Out On My Own.

Are there any other bad reasons you have heard of? Comments welcomed below.  

Originally posted 4/9/2017