Navigating the world of dating, hookups, and love can be a pretty daunting task. For some, their first relationship is their only one. Others, throughout their teenage and adult years experience hookups, friends with benefits, friends with benefits they secretly hope will become more, conventional relationships, and everything in-between. If one thing is certain, there is no one-size-fits all criteria for a good relationship. There are, however, certain tools that can help you determine if the person you’re thinking about dating or hooking up with is a good match for you.
Enter The Thinking Girl’s Guide to the Right Guy: How Knowing Yourself Can Help You Navigate Dating, Hookups, and Love, by Psychology professor Joanne Davila, PhD and co-author Kaycee Lashman. The thought provoking self-help book provides practical advice to help women (and men) develop skills to learn the vocabulary of healthy relationships.
Now, even if you’re single and killin’ it, or you’re in a healthy long-term relationship, you can totally benefit from this book. It does a remarkable job of portraying all different types of relationship issues, ranging from a lack of trust, to open relationships, to long-distance… you name the obstacle, this book covers it. And rather than spelling out common relationship issues like “how to deal with long distance,” the book introduces you to a series of characters with unique personality traits and situations to create a more relatable and believable set of lessons.
Without revealing too much, I’m going to lay out a few key points listed throughout the book, which can help lead you to a healthy and satisfying relationship. Let’s say you’re interested in someone and looking to pursue a possible relationship. There are a series of questions you should ask yourself before diving in, and they are:
- Do I know and like myself?
- Do I know and like him (or her)?
- Does he (or she) know and like me?
While these points may seem pretty basic, they are truly the fundamentals of building a potential relationship with someone. A lack of personal understanding and acceptance can lead to choosing people who are totally wrong for us and do not meet our core needs. Which leads to the next question, “do I know and like him (or her)?” When we become infatuated with someone, we tend to idealize their positive qualities without truly taking into consideration the person that they are. I know I have done this, only to discover months down the line that me and my person of interest were not really all that compatible. Bottom line: both parties in a relationship need to have a solid understanding of themselves and each other, and like what the other person has to offer.
I’m going to throw in a personal example. I’m a city girl, so my idea of a good time is going out to a nice restaurant at night, walking around the city, and possibly going to a concert. Now, if the guy I’m dating thinks city life is shallow and uninteresting, he’s probably not the guy for me! The key is to be honest about who you are – not to mold yourself to fit someone else’s version of an ideal partner. Changing who you are and/or forming a relationship with someone who doesn’t accept your way of thinking and living is a sure way to end up unhappy and disappointed in a relationship.
The book also details three skills that are key for a healthy hookup. They are: 1. Insight, 2. Mutuality, and 3. Emotion Regulation. Insight is about knowing what you want, and it’s the first thing you need to do in order to have a healthy hookup. Next comes mutuality. A healthy hookup is about it being good for both people. Not just you. Not just the other person. Both of you. And last, emotion regulation. This skill is about keeping your emotions in check. Feelings like uncertainty and anxiety are normal in relationships. But it’s important to learn how to regulate these emotions and not let them get the best of you.
For more tips and tricks, get yourself a copy of this book. I promise you won’t regret it, and by the end of it you’ll be equipped with the tools to successfully navigate the tricky world of dating.