HOW TO CAREFULLY INVOLVE YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR LOVE LIFE
By Liz Lampkin
Loved ones are those sent from God to surround and cover us with guidance, reassurance and, of course, love. They offer solicited and unsolicited advice for different aspects of our lives because they want the best for us or what they believe is best for us. When it comes to dating, there are so many ways our friends and family involve themselves. They ask questions about a potential mate, they ask about present and future dates, they remind you of your past dating experiences, and sometimes they offer to fix you up with someone. While their intentions are good, sometimes, these things can seem a bit overbearing. While many singles want to involve their loved ones in their established or developing love lives, the reality is that it is difficult because loved ones often create a picture of what love should look like without genuinely knowing their loved one’s desires. If you’re single and grappling with ways to involve the people in your life in your love life, take a look at the list below.
1. Know What Love Looks and Feels Like to You and Stand Firm on It
Love looks different for everyone. Love feels different. It sounds different. Everyone has a different picture of love for themselves, from physical traits to finances. Many times this happens because we aren’t open about our needs. This happens because we aren’t sure of those needs and don’t discuss them with the ones we love for fear of judgment. Take some time first to understand what your needs are, then help the people in your life understand what love means and looks like for you. Paint a clear picture for them. If necessary, have in-depth conversations about your past relationships and what you’ve learned from them. Many times when relationships end with unexpected outcomes, the people in our lives seem to have a more difficult time letting things go and moving past them. Let your loved ones know you’ve healed, learned, and discovered new things about what you desire in a mate and relationship. We must let them know what we want. If you don’t, they’ll place their expectations of what love or a person should look like for you. Let your loved ones know what your needs in love and dating look like so they won’t bombard you with their ideas for you. Truth be told, the ones we love didn’t know what love looked like for them, so they won’t know what love looks like for you.
2. Date Who You’re Interested In
When dating, be sure you date who you are interested in, not who someone else is interested in you dating. Many people have a preconceived notion of who someone should date. They create a physical vision of the person they want you to have a relationship with. If you are interested in dating someone, date that person. Get to know them at your own pace, and then you decide whether or not you will continue pursuing a relationship with them. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good thing when someone wants to introduce you to someone because they see good things in both of you that could potentially lead to a prosperous relationship. However, this may not be the case. People have many layers to them, and everyone gets a different version. If a loved one has a suggestion for who you should date before they go forward with introducing them to you, do the following: Have an in-depth discussion with them about their person of interest for you. Ask them why they desire to introduce you to someone. Ask them why they think they’ll be a good fit for you. Advise them not to have/set high expectations. If you aren’t interested in them, let your loved one know. Again, it’s a good thing if someone wants to introduce you to someone else; however, you must be sure that your expectations are the priority, not theirs.
3. Discretion Is a Must!
Limit what you share with people about your love interests and your experiences. If you don’t want different opinions about things, it’s best to limit what you share. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything about who you’re interested in, where you go on dates, or how often you communicate with them. While it’s an exciting journey you want to share, knowing who you can trust with certain information is essential. It’s also important to know who has your best interest at heart. Set boundaries. Decide what you want to share if you decide to share anything at all.
4. Listen Carefully
Seek advice from those you know who have a genuine interest in your happiness. Everyone has their own version of happiness. Be sure the people in your life fully understand who and what makes you happy. These people will help guide you toward the happiness you genuinely want and deserve.
5. Help Your Loved Ones Understand Your Dating Process
Dating is a process, and everyone’s process is different. Two people meet and interact with each other through conversation and various outings. If both parties consent to continue seeing each other, it’s their choice. If they don’t, again, it’s their choice. When one interaction ends, another begins at the discretion of the person/people who are dating. It’s important to help loved ones understand what the dating process looks like for you. Make sure you clearly explain your purpose for dating, what you’re looking for and how you plan to see your process through. This way, when you discuss your dating life, at your discretion, they will be clear on your process.
6. The Big Meeting
Introduce your loved ones to the one you’re interested in when you are ready. There is no rush, and both of you must be comfortable enough with each other to take that step.
Meeting people and getting to know them is an exciting journey that should be filled with joy, excitement, and lessons. While we want to involve those who loved us before we meet those who have yet to love us, the reality is that we have to do it cautiously. As you continue on your journey through dating, before you tell those close to you who you’re involved with, give them these tips to help them understand how to support you when dating.
Tip 1. Help your loved ones understand that no one dates intending to get hurt. I repeat, no one dates intending to get hurt. Things happen. People either learn, heal, remain in the hurt, or reproduce their experience. It’s a choice. Whatever happens, as a loved one, be supportive of them on their journey.
Tip 2. Listen without judgment. Let go of past mistakes your loved one made in dating and encourage them to move forward.
Tip 3. Wait to give unsolicited advice.
Tip 4. Don’t compare their experience to yours, especially if you’re married, engaged, in a long-term partnership, or have been out of the dating scene since dating apps became popular.
Tip 5. When dating, it’s trial and error. Things work out, and things don’t work out. It’s okay. Don’t be more upset when things end with someone your loved one is/was involved with.
Tip 6. Don’t expect your loved one to meet their person instantly, fall in love, get married, and have children. It doesn’t work like that all of the time.
Tip 7. Encourage your loved one to weigh their options in dating without judgment.
Tip 8. Don’t ask what your/their intentions are. This adds pressure to both people involved in the relationship. Besides, intentions change, and it’s okay that they do.
Involving those you love in your love life is a good thing. They only want what’s best for you, but it’s up to you to let them know what’s best for you. As you continue this journey, I pray that you and your loved ones develop an understanding and balance in your dating life. I pray that your journey is filled with love, peace, laughter, and lessons. I pray that you are clear on what you want from dating.