A Single Parent Lifestyle Blog

Tips… How to have a successful relationship… What not to do…

At the ripe old age of ‘never you mind!’, I can definitely say that I have dated. Had fun, then heartache. Vowed never to do it again, then did it again…..

So what am I actually going to write and tell you about? Well, we are going to have a few laughs at some disastrous dates I have been on such as the only blind date I agreed to where my date turned out to be shorter than me! (I’m 5 foot 5 so not exactly tall). We will look at my tips for first dates, and examine why some of my relationships have not lasted. Which of course will lead to ‘what not to do in a relationship’. Lastly, I’m going to blow my trumpet about my current relationship as its one I’m rather proud of. I’m not going to tell you why now, you’ll have to read on for that. Oh, and also for the advice on how to have a successful relationship.

How to have a successful relationship

I have had what I would call two long term relationships. But we are going to go go back a lot further in my romantic history than that. My only blind date was set up by a colleague at work. The mother of a young man that she wanted me to meet. No pressure there then! We met at a restaurant, I was there on time, had already been seated and he was a little late. So I did not realize until we left that I was actually taller than him. Did it make a difference? Well… it actually did a little….

We did meet one more time as we had a good time but I really did not like the height difference. I struggled with the decision and I knew it was a vanity thing but I discovered that I do actually like that feeling that your partner is taller than you. It makes me feel feminine and protected. I feel like I am now exposing myself to troll comments now about feminism etc. but its really nothing to do with that. Its just a preference. Oh and did I mention the fact that he had JUST got out of a long-term relationship? Not a good start.

In-laws –

Then of course, there was also the mother situation. This particular mother thought her son was perfect and just could not understand why I did not want to date her son. A disastrous scenario and not one I would want to repeat.

From this first experience of meeting someone I had never seen before and the online dates I had a few years ago, I had come up with a checklist that I mentally ticked before I meet anyone new. I want to share these with you in case you are considering dipping your toe into online dating or have someone wanting to set you up on an online date.

successful relationship

Discussions to have before you meet for the first time

  • How tall are you?
  • Are your pictures recent?
  • Did someone else set your profile up for you?
  • If separated, establish whether they are living in separate houses.
  • How do you feel about children? ( I consider this mainly for those who already have children)

So, you’ve completed this checklist and arranged to meet. A successful first date turns into a second then a third. As a single parent, I believe our priorities have to be different in some areas so the next checklist we have tends to be slightly different. When I started dating after my long-term relationship ended, I found my expectations and questions were not any I had experienced before.

Questions for after your first couple of dates

  • How close are you to your family? (This can relate to the ‘who set your profile up?’ question)
  • How often do you see your children?
  • This last is not a question, but take note of the language he uses when talking about ex / ex’s

Another first (and only) date I had, spent the whole time we were together (about an hour and a half) talking about his ex’s. By this I mean calling them names and generally being nasty about them. During this time, he kept moving closer to me and I kept moving further away. This type of behavior is an instant game changer and should give you massive alarm bells about the type of person he is. Don’t go there! It will never result in a successful relationship.

Dating when you are no is longer in your twenties or thirties is both the same and different to dating when you are younger. I get the same butterflies in my tummy, the nervous excitement and the joy of planning dates. But as I have matured so has my outlook. Here is a list for those entering the ‘market’ after a long time out of it.

How to prepare for a first date

Always look upon a new date as an experience. It’s fun meeting someone new and going to a potential new area/bar.

Don’t have more than one drink before hand. Believe me, it will mar your judgement and will also influence their opinion of you.

Follow the golden rule of dressing – only show either cleavage or legs. It’s up to you to decide what is best but remember this is the first time you have met this person so just giving a hint is best.

Have confidence and don’t go in with too many expectations. Let a picture unfold of your date as the evening progresses.

My personal preference is to go dutch. It’s best to get to know someone first and their personality before deciding to pay for an evening or let them pay for you. As I know well, money can cause a lot of problems in a relationship.

Make sure someone knows where you are. Whatever your age, this is always a rule you should follow.

Have fun!

Now that we have some tips for a first date, I’m going to muse a little on reasons why relationships are not always successful. I need to take a deep breath for this as its something I have pondered and even agonized over before.

successful relationship

Reasons why relationships are not always successful

1. Not communicating

I think this is a ‘biggie’. Over time, couples can become so involved in their busy day-to-day lives that they forget to properly talk to each other. It’s almost as if they become ‘part of the furniture’. This often leads to one feeling a lack of appreciation.

2. Lack of intimacy

A relationship normally starts off with a high level of intimacy. There is no reason why this should not continue. Touch is a very important part of a relationship and a lack of it can make a partner feel that the sexual attraction is disappearing, which can lead to doubt and resentment.

3. Money

Money can lead you down a very rocky path. Whether its a total disparity in income, one partner expecting financial help or one having debt and experiencing bad spending habits there are many reasons why this can be a problem between couples.

4. Lack of trust

There are numerous reasons why a relationship can develop a lack of trust. Having faith in each other is imperative for it to succeed. Whether you doubt they are being faithful to you, have reason to believe they are lying about their finances or any other reason, a lack of trust can pull you away from each other.

Now that we have looked at some of the main reasons relationships end, I want to make us feel better and examine how we can turn this around. I like to think that my relationship history has been pretty good. I’ve met some good men and had great experiences and a few have even evolved into friends. But one big thing I have taken away from it is experience. I now like to think I know what to do if something is going wrong or if I realize i do not actually have much in common with this person. Maturity and experience have helped tenfold.

successful relationship

How to have a successful relationship

Take time out of your day to talk. It doesn’t have to be an hour long deep discussion. Just make sure you listen to each other and make the other person feel valued.

Take time to touch each other. Set your alarm five minutes early and surprise your partner with a long hug. Give them a mini massage at the end of their work day. Something that reminds their body how much they like your touch can be amazing and will help retrieve that spark.

Be honest about your finances. I’m a single parent and do not earn a great deal. But from a previous relationship going wrong in this area, I am very strict in paying half and only doing what I can afford. I make sure I treat my boyfriend and buy him gifts and he does likewise. So much more harmonious.

Trusting each other stems from being open. As you get to know each other initially, it is best to be open with each other. If you have not been right from the beginning, maybe it is a conversation you now need to have. After all, most things are found out in the end so there is not point enduring the stress and waiting for that to happen. This is a major point in a relationship being successful.

successful relationship

Why my current relationship works

I am currently in a successful relationship. After a few years together, I can say that I am more in love with him every day. Why? Is it because he is good-looking? Well, no, even though he is good-looking. Is it because he is intelligent? Again, no, even though he is very intelligent.

It’s a combination of reasons. We continue to be very curious about each other. By that I mean we are interested in each others lives. We talk about our jobs, our days, our interests and hobbies. And we are both genuinely interested. Touch is also very important to both of us. I love holding hands, stroking his hair and being intimate. It is part of showing him that I care and that I find him attractive.

Even though our finances are different, we do lots of things together. Concerts, food, daytrips etc. I make sure to factor these into my budget and feel comfortable about this. There is no resentment about this and we spend valuable time together doing things we both love. From this we form memories together and a firmer attachment.

We trust each other. Trust stems from all the other good points in your relationship. If you are honest in all areas, listen and communicate, enjoy participating in events together and take an interest in your partners life then trust will blossom.

We never know what is in our future. However, to be in with a chance with either a date coming up or your current relationship, have faith, examine your relationship history and pause before making a snap decision, a sarcastic comment or entering into an argument. Harmony is relationship building, antagonism is relationship destroying.

Have fun dating x

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