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Dating Deliberately Home

Vision & Purpose

"Great Relationships don't come to those who hope for them. They belong to those who decide to put in the effort and make them a priority. Don't just hope. Decide!"
Matthew Kelly – Author of 'The 7 Levels of Intimacy'

What we don't know can hurt us.

In the Western world, 60-80% of marriages fail. In South Africa, two out of three marriages end in divorce. Wounded children, victims of parental warfare, become wounded adults perpetuating the divorce cycle.

Ironically, school education does not teach us what we value most – how to have and be in healthy love relationships. We are left to figure it out by watching our parents. Yet our parents themselves were trained by their own equally well-intentioned but uninformed caregivers. We are forced to 'learn on the job', leaving the majority of us with no mentorship and little educated advice.

Culturally we are led to believe that it is the responsibility of a relationship to fulfil us. This unrealistic expectation contributes to romantic relationships falling apart, unable to withstand the pressure. The best relationships are those in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

"When you focus on yourself first, you can walk into a relationship empowered and aware of your own fullness, instead of being driven by a sense of need or desperation. The best preparation for a loving connection is to realise your own wholeness. A partner is not there to 'complete' you. The best he/she can do is helps you to see yourself"*. The more whole and complete you are, the better the relationship.

Optimism and naiveté about how to find and keep a partner, as well as conventional beliefs about relationships, is equivalent to ignorance and insanity. We are doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. It is not working. Divorce is rife. It is time to do something different.

Until we have a change of mind and awareness about how to:
1. enter into; and
2. navigate successfully through the complexities of relationship
there is no other way to effect widespread and meaningful change in the quality and sustainability of our intimate relationships.

Mission Statement:

Dating Deliberately pledges to assist singles to become prepared and skilled for meeting and entering into healthy love relationships with themselves and a significant other, in order to increase the probability of a successful sustainable partnership.

Problems we wish to solve:

The first problem: Very few relationships are based on a mutual interest to help one another become the best versions of themselves. There is little regard, respect and honour for each other. Mostly we are fuelled by our egos, struggling to gain power over our partners. Dynamics swing between behaving carelessly (the one with the power) and carefully (the one without the power) with our partners and less on being caring and considerate. Eventually, we become emotionally disconnected from our partners and then emotionally divorced. After that, it is just a matter of time before the divorce legally severs the bond.

Solution 1: The only dynamic that contributes and encourages the development of meaningful love is one in which both partners recognise and regard each other as equal. The dynamic moves from being 'care-less' or 'care-full' to caring. There needs to be no imbalance in perception of one being better or of greater value than the other. To have a quality relationship you need to be a quality partner, treating your partner with respect and consideration. Ironically, the degree to which you love yourself is the degree to which you are able to give and receive love. Loving yourself enough, releasing the expectation that your partner and the relationship is there to fulfill you, and becoming skilled in things like positive and effective communication and other relationship competencies are keys to a healthy relationship.

The second problem: There is currently no conscious and objective strategy or approach to assess our relationship readiness AND potential life partner candidates. There is no relationship plan. There is, however, more thought and diligence invested interviewing and hiring a managing director at the local retail store than there is in screening potential life partner prospects. What chance do we really have when we make it so difficult for ourselves?

Solution 2: We need to get real about whether we are ready to be in a committed relationship - regardless of how much we want one. We are all unique individuals. Despite us sharing the same fundamental needs (emotional and functional) our preferences and uniqueness make us better suited for one person and not another. There are no 'good' or 'bad' partners, just a better or worse match. The way we can distinguish one suitable life partner candidate from another is by knowing who we are. When we know who we are, we can start to define who will be our best match. Mr or Mrs Right exists; the works lies in discovering yourself in order to recognise him/her.

The third problem: An individual will enter into a marriage with just about anyone who proposes. There is no choosing 'who is the best match for me?' because we have the unfortunate and misguided expectation that relationships have the sole responsibility of fulfilling us. Our culture has us believing that a romantic relationship IS the source of our fulfilment in life. Big problem. We are so desperate to be involved that even signals suggesting 'I'm just not that into you' are ignored. It seems that whoever is willing to have us, can. Hardly a recipe for a successful union. We are led to believe that we are not complete and that a partner is there to complete us, to be our better half. Anytime we place our self-worth on something external (wealth, spouse, status, etc.) we are setting ourselves up to fall. We can never control the uncontrollable. Partners (wealth, status, etc) will come and go and when they leave they will take our esteem with them. The truth is we are whole and complete already, we just don't realise it.

Solution 3: We need to reclaim our self worth. We need to become filled with esteem so that we can say no to inappropriate partners, knowing that even if it sometimes feels good, if it's not good for us in the long run, we will walk away. We would do this because we love ourselves and wouldn't enter into anything that could potentially hurt us. People with self worth would rather be alone, than loved for pretending to be someone they're not. They would prefer to be single than miserably involved. Their lives do not collapse or end when their partner leaves.

The fourth problem: Soon after a couple is married – when they've barely had time to unpack the wedding gifts – the first storm hits the relationship architecture. The 'storm' goes by the name of baby. (It can also go by many other names – job loss, illness, in-laws, parenting). Sleep deprivation, stress, time constraints and fatigue combined with a complete lack of relationship competencies leads to deterioration. The relationship architecture is damaged from the trauma of the storm. The elation of the wedding has dissolved. The couple's foundation starts to collapse and one partner, or both, turn against the relationship, their spouse and/or their children. Contamination of the relationship begins in subtle ways like avoidance, criticism, contempt or less subtle like physical/emotional abuse. Then one day, months or years later, the relationship needs to be abandoned.

Some recognise the destruction early on and leave before they themselves become poisoned. Others, less fortunate, remain out of fear and/or desperation only to become poisoned by the toxicity. Both stories end with the lawyers getting richer and our family lives getting poorer.

Solution 4: People with awareness and a new approach for entering into and navigating successfully through the complexities of relationship, have sustainable intimate relationships. They have the awareness, skills and relationship competencies to work their way through the challenges that life presents.

Optimism and naiveté about how to find and keep a partner, as well as conventional beliefs about relationships, is equivalent to ignorance and insanity. We are doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. It is not working. Divorce is rife. It is time to do something different.

Naiveté about what makes successful loving and long-term relationships is the cancer of marriage. The 21st century single person requires a new approach for a fulfilling and sustainable 21st century marriage.

Dating Deliberately is the place to start.

*Quote from 'The Heart of Love', Dr John Demartini: Best-selling author and leading expert on healing, human potential and philosophy.