6 Types of Dating Support

Against a clear sky with puffy clouds, Dating tip #10 is written: Prepare yourself for a long term project. Build in support!

6 Types of Dating Support

Dating tip #10 is: Prepare yourself for a long-term project.  Build in support!

What does support during dating look like?

​​​​​​​​Support while dating looks a lot like support in life, whether or not you are in a relationship – it means having people and activities in your life that help you thrive and feel good about yourself!

.Why build in support?

You may be lucky enough to find your person when you start dating, right out of gate. But you don’t know that.  For most of us, it takes a while to find the person who is right for us, and we need support from others along the way. If you think dating will be a short-term project until the right person shows up, you may not create the support you need until short-term turns to long-term.  If you think of dating as a long-term project, you can build in support from the beginning.

Rolling green hills with path, and lone shadow at beginning of path
Starting the long dating path

Your dates are not your support

Your dates cannot be your support – they are auditioning for that part, but they have not yet been chosen. Even after you choose one, you will still need support from people around you.

Six types of supportive relationships while dating

We all need relationships with people who encourage us during the ups and downs of our dating journey. These people are key to our well-being during dating, and there are many possible ways to create this.

  1. Relationship workshops.  Experiential personal growth workshops that teach relationship skills are my highest recommendation for two reasons. 
    1. Those relationships skills are just what you need for successful dating (see next blog post on the value of personal growth workshops).
    2. What better pool of people to nurture as friends and potential dates than those seeking to improve their relationships?  You may not meet your partner immediately, but the community of people who have taken those workshops will become your friends and future dates and maybe future partners.
  2. Friends. Choose one or more good friends who can hear your honest experience, not judge you, and make you feel loved whatever you do.
  3. Small support groups.  Form a women’s or men’s group that meets regularly. Choose the friends, acquaintances or even strangers who know how to be supportive, and structure it so everyone is heard and gets support. A chorus of empathy can be stronger than support from just one person.
  4. Small therapy groups.  Join small groups led by a therapist or coach focused on general subjects like communication skills, specific subjects such as dating, or background situations, like being divorced or widowed.  In each of these groups, you will get support from the group members as well as the leader. Make sure you like the leader’s approach.
  5. Therapists. Find a therapist who helps you identify and work on any deep issues that are holding you back from the type of relationship and life you want.  They should also affirm your strengths and remind you of your value when you forget during dating.
  6. Coaches. Choose a life coach or dating coach who can help you strategize how you will reach your life or dating goals. More practical than a therapist, they should also be good listeners and affirm your strengths and value.  The best coaches also invite you into a community of like-minded people from whom you can also get support. 

Support while dating can come in many forms, but it needs to be built into your life. Choose the people or activities that work for you, and make sure that they make you feel good about yourself and encourage you in your dating life. If you are looking for organizations, counselors, or coaches, my recommendations are on my website page, Dating Resources.

What does support look like for you? Have any of these ideas been helpful?

  • Upcoming blog posts about dating support:
  • Relationship workshops as support and training for dating
  • Nonsexual touch as support

Published by Carolyn Lee Arnold

I'm the author of Fifty First Dates After Fifty: A Memoir, about my dating adventures to find my perfect partner in my late fifties. I found him, and we've been happily together for over 10 years. These blog posts explore what I learned while dating and from writing my book. For more about the book, including dating resources, other writings, and fun interviews with me, check out my website at the top of this page.

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