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  • dating again?

    Use these 5 tips to avoid making the same mistakes
  • You're fresh out of a disaster and terrified at the thought of dating again, but you're going to try anyway. Good for you! Here are some guidelines to help you avoid repeating old mistakes:
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  • You're fresh out of a disaster and terrified at the thought of dating again, but you're going to try anyway. Good for you! Here are some guidelines to help you avoid repeating old mistakes:
    1. Pay attention
    You have things to learn here. The most important aspect of this date, in addition to having a good time, is to get to know each other better. No matter how excited, turned on or thrilled you may be about this date, listening to what your date says, watching what your date does and understanding how your date feels are still your primary objectives.
    2. What your date thinks of you is not your business.
    Your business is what you think of your date. One of the easiest ways to lose your objectivity and balance in this is to worry about what your date thinks about you. If you spend your time essentially trying to look at yourself through your date's eyes, guessing what he or she is seeing when looking at you — or hearing when listening to you — you'll miss what's really happening. You're supposed to be evaluating the other person, not pretending to look at yourself through his or her eyes. Pay attention so you know what you think of your date.
    3. Look for integrity.
    Make sure your date walks his or her talk. Anyone can talk big. Actually, some of the best people don't present themselves well. Don't overlook someone who is not gorgeous, charming and glib, but still has all the qualities you really need in a partner.
    4. Be consistent and careful about your sexual safety.
    Until the relationship progresses to the point that you become monogamous, and you both have been tested for sexually transmitted diseases, be careful. The nicest people can be infected with a disease and not even know they have it. If you have had unprotected sex, have your doctor do a screening for STDs. Don't assume your partner is monogamous — especially if you haven't discussed it in detail.
    5. Know the signs of emotional blackmail.
    A demand: Your date won't take "no" for an answer, and requests are really demands.
    Resistance: When every discussion turns into an argument.
    Pressure: Your date pressures you to go along.
    Threats: Your date uses threatening or coercive tactics: threatening to end the relationship, tears, rage, badgering. Hopefully, because you've thought about the serious issues in advance, you'll still be able to relax and have a good time — so good that you decide to keep dating each other. Then, you'll need a whole new set of skills.
    — From the "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again," (Wiley 2002.)
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