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With the Christmas season and New Year’s upon us, many of us will be invited to parties or even set up for dates. How can we be careful to guard our hearts and set some healthy boundaries regarding relationships?dating couple

Stop right now and make two lists. One list is for the traits and character qualities you want in a relationship. That might include: integrity, respect, compassion, a peaceful attitude.

Go ahead and list some of the physical aspects, too: a certain height, healthy – exercises regularly, clean fingernails, etc.

You’ll also want to consider spiritual qualities. Does your ideal person read his Bible regularly? Does he attend a church and is he active in a men’s group? Does he treat others with honor? Does he love animals?

Your second list is the absolute negatives that will be red flags for you. You might include something like: no addictive behaviors, no lies, no crude behavior or rude remarks, no cheating on giving a tip, etc.

You’ll also want to check out this person on social media or even on a professional site such as this one in my area: www.jococourts.org.

You might think that setting relationship boundaries and making these lists takes all of the mystery and spontaneity out of dating.

That may be true. But as single women who have been through trauma, we need to be careful who we associate with and what we do.

Another couple of tips for the dating experience:

  • Meet him at the location rather than depending on him to drive you there. Having the security of your own vehicle means you can leave when you want.
  • Wait at least one year before even considering a date. You need time to process what has happened to you and who you really are.
  • Absolutely no sleepovers. You do not invite an unknown person into your bedroom and into your home. No compromise on this one.
  • Do not introduce this person to your children. It’s likely that a seasonal party date is not someone who will necessarily stay in your life forever. You don’t want to give your children the idea that this is their new Daddy. Too much emotional trauma to cover with that situation.
  • Date in a group and take your drink with you if you leave the table. Date rape happens far too often.
  • Tell a good friend where you’re going and with whom. Be prepared to call for any backup you might need.

New relationships are exciting and can be fun. They may lead to something special in the future, but when you’re testing your emotional triggers – you need to be careful.

©2014 Starting Over Single