This Dating Approach Will Get You A Quality, Long-lasting Relationship

I’ve read countless stories of people who say they want a relationship yet have no idea what they’re actually looking for in a partner, or people who say they need one thing yet stick around with partners who straight out refuse to give them that very thing, or people who don’t even know what is normal or not normal in their own relationships.

You see the problem, right? I bet everyone does. But if it’s so obvious, why is it so common? Well, it’s because it’s ridiculously easy to slip into these situations. It’s what happens when you only see what’s in front of you and “go with the flow” without seriously considering how much this flow might be costing you. It’s the price of mindlessly dating or dating without intention. 

So if you’ve been going on a lot of dates and have nothing to show for it except for funny (or terrifying) anecdotes, or you got into relationships but they were low quality, short-lived, or even toxic, it’s time to re-evaluate your love life. With the increasing dating options thanks to the advent of dating apps, it’s important that you take on an active role in filtering out unsuitable partners and choosing those that work best for you. 

Undoubtedly, a good outcome needs a good approach. Your love life is no different. Interpersonal relationships are rarely black and white: People don’t always behave the way you expect them to, bad relationships don’t always end the moment they go bad, and that’s why, in my humble opinions, you must set up your own guidelines and follow them ruthlessly. You must plot your path to success from the get-go. This is far too important a matter to “go with the flow” on it. 

A simple rule of thumbs when it comes to dating is that if it’s not a yes, it’s a no — no exceptions. If you want your dream love life, you can’t tolerate “maybe”; “maybe” only results in unsatisfied relationships and, ultimately, wasted time (or worse, a wasted life). In order to avoid this sinking trap, first, you need three things: 1) healthy self-esteem, 2) high self-respect, and 3) a life of your own that you love.

These three things, from my personal experiences, could be achieved through therapy, research, surrounding yourself with role models, going on a dating hiatus to find yourself again, and adopting a wholesome lifestyle. High self-awareness and self-discipline will be extremely helpful. You also need patience and an open mind. It’s very likely that your belief system will be challenged and you will feel like you have become a brand-new person. It’s scary but therapy will support you through this grief.  

Though I’m not going to lie: It’s going to take a lot of time and hard work and, during this time, you might feel painfully bored and lonely. But that work is vital. You can’t get around it. Think about it — what is the opposite of those three things? Low self-esteem, low self-respect, and a life that you hate. These are the breeding ground for abusive relationships and traumatising break-ups. If one of those three is still applied to you, you should not be dating. 

Low self-esteem, low self-respect, and a life that you hate. These are the breeding ground for abusive relationships and traumatising break-ups.

— Ellen Nguyen

Some books that will help you along the way: 

Once you’ve done the mandatory self-work and put those three aforementioned things in place — only then — you’ll be ready for a “hell yes” love life. Here’s the dating approach that will guarantee you a quality, long-lasting relationship:

1. Have high standards

When you put yourself out there, you will be presented with many options. Each one will have ideas of who they are, who you are to them, and how they will be treating you. You need to have yours too: sure ideas of who you are, what you’re looking for in a partner, and how you want to be treated, so you can find your match and quickly eliminate those whose ideas don’t align with yours. You need to know what the bare minimum in a good relationship for you is. And you need to uphold those standards all the time. 

People you meet might be unknown factors, but you should be your most known factor, the card that you know best and can play best. Do everything you can to get to know yourself and define your own standards. During this process, you should go all out with it — the sky is your limit. You should envision clearly, gloriously the life you want to live, the partner you want to be with, the future you will be building together. 

Practically, I would start by making two lists. The first list is “What I’m looking for in a partner” and the second list is “What a good relationship looks like for me”. These lists must be as detailed and satisfying as possible — physical, emotional, social, geographical, lifestyle aspects, and so on. It’s very important that you don’t second guess yourself. You know what you can bring to the table and you ask for the same back. You know you deserve good things in life because you’ve already had good things in life. Believe it. 

2. Set strong boundaries

If standards are about saying yes, boundaries are about saying no. People you meet will have different boundaries from you and naturally they will test your boundaries as a way of gathering information about you and how they can relate to you. Some will try to see what they can get away with based on your reactions to their testing behaviours. Having strong boundaries means being able to say a firm no. It means communicating clearly what is acceptable or not to you and responding consistently when this line is crossed. 

If you don’t have strong boundaries and don’t know how to communicate your boundaries to other people, you will allow people to do whatever they think is okay at your expense and you will lose yourself little by little and the relationship will eventually turn toxic. Your boundaries are all about you, your well-being, and your happiness. Think of them as the essential, bare-minimum terms and conditions for you to be a healthy, happy human. They should always be stronger than your desire to be liked or your guilt of making someone feel bad. 

Having strong boundaries is taking the responsibility to protect yourself and trusting that you can take care of yourself. It reflects how you see yourself and what you think you should be given. See, it all starts with you and your relationship with yourself. That’s why having high self-esteem and self-respect is so important. And having a life you love will allow you to walk away from a relationship once you see that it does not function well within your established boundaries.  

It might be hard to cut off someone who you have grown to like or even love, but no quality relationship requires you to compromise your boundaries. A healthy, compatible partner will respect your boundaries; they’re also likely to have the same boundaries and have enough common sense to stop and ask if something’s okay with you before doing it. If you find yourself feeling reluctant to bring up your boundaries with someone for any reason, that person is not for you. 

In a good relationship, you will never — I repeat: never — have to do something at the expense of your boundaries or your self-respect. The wonderful thing about boundaries is that the more you reinforce them, the better you become at reinforcing them, and the more you believe in having them in the first place. They will bring you to the right people and the right relationships. Or more precisely, they will help you get rid of the wrong people and wrong relationships at lightning speed if you keep them firm.   

3. Carry out a rigorous vetting process

The vetting process starts from the first moment you come into contact with someone. Vetting means you take your time getting to know this person, assessing your compatibility in different situations and on different levels while keeping your goals in mind. 

Speaking of which, you need to know what your dating goals are and be absolutely shameless about it. Going with the flow might make you seem cool but it’s bullshit. The truth is if you date without intention, you will end up in a situation that is set on someone else’s terms, serving someone else’s interest while costing you physically, emotionally, financially, and more.

Having your dating goals crystal clear will help you keep your emotions in check, your head cool, and your eyes wide open for anything that falls below your standards, pushes your boundaries, or deviates you from your goals. 

This is especially important in the early stage of dating as this is when the foundation of your relationship is laid and the dynamic is set. If you want your dream relationship, you can’t afford to be carried away. If you find yourself carried away by superficial factors of your dates, however, you’re not ready for your dream relationship. You need to work more on yourself and level up until you’re confident the partner you’re looking for would be incredibly lucky to have you.  

In order to vet effectively, you need to trust your own judgment. When something irks you, don’t ask other people whether it’s normal or not. If it’s not normal to you, it’s not normal. It’s your relationship, you get to decide what is normal, what works and doesn’t work for you. You should never have to adjust yourself fundamentally to justify the way your partner behaves or treats you.

Moreover, you need to have a low tolerance for nonsense. Like I said, in relationships, it’s rarely ever black and white. Not everyone is authentic and has the same dating goals as yours. When they pull moves on you, blow up smoke to cover their inconsistency, or generally something doesn’t feel quite right, you might feel tempted to make excuses for them or give second or even third chances, but this is a big mistake. If you want a quality relationship, you have to look at facts and act accordingly.

Use your dream relationship as the absolute guideline and ask yourself if this is your dream relationship. Adopt an abundance mindset and don’t settle for anything less than the two lists I suggested in the previous point. A reminder is that if they don’t act like your dream partner, they’re not your dream partner. They’re out. 

4. Move on ruthlessly

When a relationship has proved to you that it does not meet your needs or align with your long-term goals, you need to let it go immediately. You might still think about the person, you might still have romantic feelings for them, and it might take you a long time to get over them, and it’s all okay. But getting rid of the relationship is a different matter. It must be done quickly and ruthlessly.

Don’t worry about closure. You don’t need to seek closure from other people. The real closure comes from within you and you can achieve it in your own time. Once a decision has been made to end your relationship, all you need to worry about for now is cutting this ex-partner out of your life completely in order to heal and get back to a healthy emotional state. Your focus should be on you and you only.

You might be inclined to find out all the why’s from your ex-partner or analyse the downfall of your seemingly promising relationship, but this is unnecessary. In fact, it’s costly. Any moment you spend dwelling on the past is a moment you could be spent looking for your dream partner and being in your dream relationship. After all, no analysing matters because one truth remains that this relationship doesn’t work for you and so it must end. 

Once it is over, you need to stay indifferent to everything regarding your ex-partner. This means that if they contact you at some point, you don’t give them your time. If something about them comes up in conversations or social media, you don’t give it your attention. Your time and attention should be paid to yourself, your present, and anyone and anything that makes you happy and adds value to your life.  

It goes without saying that throughout this process you should put your best self forward while staying true to yourself. You should continue to learn communication skills and invest in the things that fulfill you as a person. When you have acquired yourself the qualities that you look for in a partner, this approach will come naturally to you. You will realise you’re already in a dream relationship that is the relationship with yourself.

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