She was so desperate to be loved. She didn’t realize at the time that this need to be desired, valued, and adored was feeding the unhealthy courtship. All she knew was he was super fun to be with, he paid attention to her, they talked for hours and maybe this was meant to be.
Quick dating, quick engagement, and a future she could never have imagined would bring so much pain.
This is my story. Hi, I’m Amie and I was just one month shy of 19 when I got married to my first husband. I remember people whispering, “She’s such a baby”, “They’ll never make it” and how that just made me try harder to be the perfect wife and never let anyone know what was really happening in my marriage.
I have come a long way in my healing after abuse, betrayal, and divorce. In fact, I don’t think I got it wrong the first time and I don’t have any regrets. I made the exact right decision with what I knew and what I was thinking at the time.
As I look back and observe the decision I made in my college dating, it was definitely from a place of need. Meaning, I needed to find someone to date to feel secure, I needed to find someone who would love me in order to feel worthy of love, I needed to find someone who would marry me because that’s what I was led to believe was my purpose in life. I thought I needed to be married in order to really live life and fulfill my life’s work and dreams.
The First Step In The Rubric For A Healthy Relationship
I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was desperate to be loved, to be paid attention to and to be adored. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved and adored! But here was the missing part in all of this- I didnt love and adore myself FIRST! I didn’t have a healthy relationship with myself FIRST. I didn’t create my own inner safety and security FIRST.
There are also those that date from a place of wanting to have fun and experience new relationships. Which is fantastic! Yet, there can be an avoidance of commitment to the point where they don’t get to know someone long enough to develop those healthy levels of intimacy. This usually comes from a fear of commitment, which usually stems from a fear of rejection. This why this first step in the rubric for a healthy relationship is so crucial.
What You Really Need For A Healthy Relationship
These unhealthy behaviors around dating are more common than we realize. There isn’t anyone talking about what healthy dating actually looks like and that in order to have a healthy relationship, it requires two healthy, independent people. There are not enough conversations around the different levels of intimacy, that it’s important to have hard conversations around pornography and masturbation as part of the dating process. We aren’ talking about how to have healthy boundaries in dating, what red flags are and that abuse can actually happen while dating.
The more I meet with young single adults and hear their stories and experiences with unhealthy dating I am more and more convinced that I want to continue having a voice and bringing awareness to what healthy is and advocating for a change in how we date.
Healthy dating means being healthy with yourself and for yourself before you start a relationship with someone else. ! It looks like believing that you are OK, enough and infinitely lovable no matter what. It means learning to validate yourself first, have a voice and feel confident in your ideas, opinions and dreams. It’s feeling your feelings rather than reacting, avoiding and resisting them. Living within your value system and anchoring to a higher power rather. ALl these and more will help you be better prepared to practice vulnerability and healthy intimacy with the person you are dating. For more info check out my short video on the YSA course.
The Levels Of Intimacy In The Rubric For A Healthy Relationship
DId you know there are 7 different levels of intimacy and when we put sexual intimacy before all other levels, it will be unhealthy sex? I didn’t! So it’s imperative to learn what those levels are, and how to achieve healthy in each of these levels. Let’s take verbal intimacy for example. Many young single adults will create a narrative where they feel an instant connection with someone who they’ve met online or have only been messaging on their phones. They say they feel “magic”, “sparks” and “connection” this way. Now, messaging can certainly be a way to communicate however, it’s NOT a healthy way to base connection off of.
Your brain is interpreting those messages and creating your own emotions based on how you read that message. This creates a false story about what the other person is really saying or intending to say. I’ve seen this lead to lots of heartbreak.
I feel passionate about educating young single adults so they don’t have to walk the same path as I did. I want them to know what a healthy INTERDEPENDENT relationship looks like. To be able to recognize those red flags, learn how to say no, lean into those hard awkward conversations with confidence and trusting their gut.
The Last Step In The Rubric For A Healthy Relationship
Lastly, now days more and more women are afraid of dating someone who is struggling with an addiction to pornography and more and more men are afraid to tell those they date of their struggle with pornography. Most importantly here, is BOTH need to communicate about this topic and not just once, but many times. This is also not just a topic we keep for dating, pornpgraphy is the plague of our day and needs to be communicated, we need to be educated and couples need to be aware that this will destroy relationships if left secret. This step in the rubric is vital for a healthy relationship.
In my YSA dating course I help both men and women learn how to navigate these topics and walk you through what a healthy conversation around pornograhy looks like. We talk about the difference between sobriety and recovery and that sex wont cure a porn addiction.
Many young single adults I work with have no idea what boundaries are and how to implement them in their lives, especially around dating. So we also walk through the basics of boundaries and why they are key to a healthy relationship.
The YSA Healthy Dating & Self Empowerment course is for those 18-28 yrs of age. It’s 12 weeks of jammed-packed information, opportunities to get coached by me, and making friends along the way!
Register for the free Healthy Dating Webinar to learn more about this course: Healthy Dating Webinar | Choose Recovery Services
Article written by Amie Woolsey, certified betrayal trauma & divorce coach. Amie utilizes key principles and tools that have blessed her life in her long journey with infidelity and divorce in her coaching with both WORTH and Choose Recovery Services. To learn more about Amie or to schedule with her, you can read her bio here.