Some people that are in the dating scene feel frustrated because their dating relationship is not turning into a long lasting one. I have interviewed licensed counselor Christa R. Surerus for tips on what someone can do to turn a date into a long lasting relationship.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“In 1998 I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a BA in psychology. I worked in research and as a behavioral therapist for children with autism while raising my own children. In 2004, I received a Masters in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University.
I enjoy working with individuals who wish to review their current relationship to gain clarity about the next step, as well as couples who have run into challenges, or who simply wish to deepen their connection.”
What are some tips for turning a date into a long lasting relationship?
“Clearly not all dates, even those that seem intriguing, fun and interesting, should be turned into a long-lasting relationship. My favorite rule of thumb is this: when it’s right, the transition from dating into long-term relationship tends to be effortless. When the chemistry is mutual, both partners are interested in spending significant time with each other. Agonizing about ‘s/he never calls me, I always need to take the first step’ is a waste of time and energy. It also feels miserable. When you find yourself in such a situation, have a polite, drama-free, open and'”if at all possible'”non-blaming ‘what-are-we-to-each-other’ discussion, and then move on.
You should not proceed further when you notice that even after date 5, it is not possible to a) discuss matters that are of substance or concern, b) you feel you want to change your dating partner ‘just a little’ so she or he is more acceptable to you, c) you see red flags, such as lack of kindness, controlling behavior, lying or manipulating. Otherwise, be prepared for a very rocky ride.
Most importantly, be aware of the mental checklist you hold in your head about traits and characteristics your partner must have. The longer and more carefully constructed the list, the less likely you will actually fall in love with the partner that matches your criteria. You see, when it comes to matters of the heart, the head should not drive the bus. Most of us are both humbled and surprised when we feel unusually good with a partner who matches very few, if any, of our ‘must-have’ criteria. Keep the deal-breakers to a minimum, maintain curiosity and a maximally open attitude, and let your heart decide. It ultimately is vastly more powerful in bringing you the right match than your brain, no matter how smart you are.”
What type of professional help is available for someone that feels they are having a difficult time turning a date into a long lasting relationship?
“There are a variety of approaches to help clients who struggle with entering long lasting relationships.
First, it would be important to screen for major obstacles. For example, anxiety, depression or substance abuse very commonly gets in the way of healthy, long-term relationships. Second, I look for patterns or themes that are woven through a person’s relationship history. Third, analysis of the person’s family history and personality variables is important. Finally, the person should be prepared to introspect and integrate feedback.
The work can be done individually or in a group. Clients who are otherwise healthy tend to progress most quickly in groups. Groups offer the unique opportunity to work with others who share similar backgrounds and presenting problems. Through observing the experience of others, and the mirroring other group members provide, clients acquire new perspectives and learn to integrate feedback. As one participant stated ‘I can’t believe I’m saying this, but what I found most helpful was when (group member) told me I came across as a jerk’. Work makes up the majority of my waking hours, and I’m the boss there, so nobody feels comfortable giving me feedback that’s challenging. In a group, you hear others’ stories and you think ‘˜I can’t believe s/he isn’t seeing this about themselves,’ then you share it and it makes all the difference. We all have blind spots. When we feel safe and are ready to look at them, it’s amazing how much we can learn.”
Thank you Christa for doing the interview on tips for turning a date into a long lasting relationship. For more information on Christa Surerus or her work you can check out her website on www.affinitasplc.com .
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