Most people treat dating and relationships like a sport, fun hobby or a cheap toy you play with when you get bored, then you set it aside when you’re finished. But this “casual style” of dating is impossible for an emotionally stable person. Let me tell you why! When you kiss, hold hands, or have sex, intense amounts of the hormones– dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin flood the brain. These hormones make us feel intense bursts of pleasure, reduced anxiety, and help us feel emotionally attached to eachother. These hormones exist in nature to encourage reproduction and to keep families together. When we break up, we go through a physical withdrawal of these hormones because our brain is no longer getting those hormones.
During a breakup, your brain frantically signals you to go back to that source of pleasure by sending you jolts of anxiety and sometimes even physical pain. If you get back together, the hormones return, and the feeling of extreme panic goes away and relaxation returns. In fact, getting back together can be an exciting time like when you first met eachother, your dopamine levels will go through the roof! However, this doesn’t mean the relationship is fixed. The rush and excitement of getting back together will wear off after a while, and the issues that caused the breakup to begin with with will eventually resurface. If these issues are not addressed, another breakup will likely come about 1-6 months later.
Relationships can be awesome. Dating can be a huge thrill of excitement! It’s wonderful having a partner to share your ups and downs with. But, they are no game. People’s emotional, financial, and physical health are all on the line. It’s a huge responsibility. People who are in loving marriages tend to live about 5-10 years longer than single people. However, those who experience a divorce or major breakup are 3-6 times more likely to commit suicide and twice as more likely to file for bankruptcy. The notion of “love can heal, but love can kill”, is certainly true in this perspective.
So, before you join a dating app, before you ask that girl for her number, before you decide to have sex for the first time, before you decide to cheat on your boyfriend or girlfriend… ask yourself a few questions.
1. Am I prepared for the consequences of my actions?
2. Am I emotionally prepared for a committed relationship?
3. Will my current actions possibly destroy my life or someone else’s?
4. Am I ready to let go of the freedom of being single?
5. Am I aware of the benefits of being in a committed relationship or am I just trying to have fun right now?
6. Am I aware of the potential challenges of being in a committed relationship?
7. Am I emotionally equipped to handle a breakup?
And most importantly…
“Do I really know what I want?”
Knowing what you want is key! If you’re 100% sure that you just want sex, don’t lie and say you want marriage to get it. If you are only into tall guys, don’t date a short guy just because you’re lonely and he happens to be available (*until you can meet a tall guy.) These are all horrible strategies that will only lead towards you humiliating yourself and your partner.
If you’re willing to go outside your preference and give someone a chance, go for it! But as always, take it slow, and be honest about how you’re feeling. Once you have sex, kiss, or start exchanging in any physical intimacies, you will complicate things so much more. Moral of the story is, “Don’t eat something until you know what it is, or you may just end up eating something poisonous!”
Relationships and sex can be very exciting and fun, but that intense “high” feeling only lasts for about 6 months to a year at best. A real relationship isn’t just steamy sex and taking trips together, it also involves disagreements, occasional arguments, and communication skills.
Not everyone is wired to be in a traditional monogamous relationship. Some have only been with one person their entire life.Some people hate alcohol. Others smoke. Some love tattoos, others think they are “trashy”. None of these preferences are “wrong” perse, but in order to effectively bond and create harmonious relationships with other humans, we must communicate our wants in a way that mutually dictates the direction of a relationship whether it leans towards a lifetime commitment such as marriage, a casual encounter, or a mutual separation.
All choices come with consequences — pros, and cons!
Casual hookups can be physically pleasurable and convenient, but leave you at risk for diseases and feeling emotionally unfulfilled from the act of sex.
Marriage can create strong partnerships and feelings of security, but can be very consuming of your time and energy.
Breakups can be freeing and allow you to pursue new adventures, but can be emotionally devastating and financially costly.
Dating, marriage, and breakups are all games of strategy and requires a balanced blend of flexibility,a positive attitude, planning, and an open mind.
As a man in his thirties, I have been on the side of every spectrum. I have been faithful, unfaithful, I have broken up with, and have been dumped. I have felt it all. As I enter my mid-thirties and find myself still unmarried, I have made a hard-lined commitment to myself that I will—-
A. Respect myself in all matters.
B. Respect my partner in all matters
C. Demand an action plan when I issue forgiveness.
D. Take responsibility when I act foolish, and be willing to meet demands to ensure it isn’t repeated.
F. When dating someone, maintain my individuality but always being aware that I am a part of a “team”. Adopt a team mindset. It’s not me VS you, but US against the problem.
G. Maintain honest and open dialogue. Things don’t get resolved if both sides aren’t being heard. Put everything on the table, and try to reach compromises if you can’t get 100% of what you want. Meet in the middle.
H. Work on healing past scars. Childhood trauma, addictions, sexual deviancy, mistrust of others– try to fix these before getting into a relationship. If you are dealing with any of this while in a relationship, don’t hide it from your partner, ask them for help, and overcome it together. Remember, its US vs the problem, not me VS you.
I hope this guide has helped you. Hopefully by abiding by these rules you can refrain from hurting yourself and others, mend a broken relationship, or learn to accept a failed one and stop repeating the same behaviors in your next relationship.
No matter what stage you find yourself in life, single, in a relationship, happily married, divorced, or struggling in a failing relationship, just know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are other people who are just as happy as you or just as sad as you at any given moment. There are over 7 billion people on Earth! Your feelings, no matter how good or bad, always have merit. Depending on the feeling, we may need counseling or extra help, but, desiring to change for the better, or being grateful for what you already have are both strong indicators of a bright future ahead.
Good luck! And remember what the Bible says in the book of Matthew.