New Relationship HelpHave you ever thought that you found The One—only to realize later after much heartache that the person was The Wrong One?

Finding healthy love is so important to your mental and physical health. It’s unfair that it’s so difficult to find the right person. It’s not fair. Here is checklist of love behavior to avoid. It comes from my research with thousands of people like you—who are accomplished in many aspects of your life—but, often, not love. Of course, there are always exceptions to the items in this list, but use it as a general guide of smart love behavior.

1. Don’t have sex on the first date—and probably not the next few either!

Here are important tips to remember.

  • Sex is not medicine for loneliness, low sense of self-worth, anxiety, depression, or desperation. Sex arouses oxytocin and other neural chemicals that make you want to feel close to your partner. You risk wanting to pursue—and idealize—someone you don’t know!
  • Sex with a stranger will certainly make you feel alive, but the spark is short-lived. The best way to feel alive is to take your time to get to know someone, build trust in your judgment, and allow yourself to be known.
  • The dating world is upside down now. It used to be that it was more frightening to have sex with someone you didn’t know or trust. Postponing sex allowed you to take your time to build the trust that allows you be loved for being you—flaws and all!
  • But now, it’s easier for people to have sex than it is to be known. Yet, most people want to fall in love and feel accepted. Sex on the first date can get in the way of that exciting process!
  • Postponing sex allows you to be in charge of choosing your partner—and not just be a passive responder to your neural hormones.
  • Sex too soon also risks separating your head from your heart. The ideal goal is for your head and heart to work together to tell you that your actions are wise.
  • And sex too soon actually closes your love opportunities. You can always say yes to sex later. But it’s far more difficult to dial back the relationship after you’ve had sex. It can be done. But you risk diminishing the clarity of choosing wisely: Your people-reading skills might suffer since your goal is now to “make the relationship work.”

2. Don’t rely feelings of “chemistry” to rule a person in or out.

It’s just as easy to feel chemistry for the wrong person as the right person. Just think of your previous relationships that didn’t end well. Did you feel that click from chemistry with them?

Chemistry is a mix of hope, hormones, and history—your personal history from the childhood factors in your life that made you who you are! It’s very possible those feelings of chemistry and comfort with a person could be coming from similar feelings you had growing up in your family—especially if your family was not a healthy environment.

We tend to recreate unhealthy love patterns with our partners because of the familiarity. These patterns seem to give you one more chance to do unwise things such as chase love, adapt too much or be controlling.

Don’t rely on ruling a person in or out based on chemistry from your family emotional comfort zone. It may not be in your best interest to recreate it!

So give a partner at least one more chance.

3. Don’t avoid examining yourself psychologically.

Being honest with you is not easy. You need lots of emotional bravery. Read self-help books and make a commitment to get professional counseling. You should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why did I choose this person?
  • Why did I fall in love when I did? What was going on in my life at the time?
  • What patterns am I recreating that were in my family? Are they healthy? Am I brave enough to change them?
  • Do I like the me who is in this relationship? Do I respect my new partner—and does this person respect me?

4. Don’t  “swear off” love for too long after a breakup.

It is wise to take time off from dating—but only if you use that time to examine what went wrong in your previous relationship. Most people take too long of a break after a bad relationship out of fear of making another mistake.

But think about it: How are you going to learn read people if you take yourself out of life?

Instead of looking for The One, change your goal from finding this mythic perfect person to learning to read people. Skip the romantic datesBut too many women took too long of a break out of fear of making another wrong love choice. Waiting too long to date again makes you rusty in reading men and yourself. It also leaves you vulnerable to choosing a man hastily when you face a crisis.

5. Don’t over-correct your previous love mistake.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing if things didn’t work out with a person who was sweet but not too effective, then next time you should chose a highly competent person. Competency is good—but control is not. And it’s too easy too easy to misread a “take-control-of-you” person as a competent person. And so, to avoid choosing yet another controlling and unkind person, you choose a mild person whom you think couldn’t possibly hurt you as your mean and rotten, controlling previous partner did. But, oops, this new partner turned out to be a basket case who drains you in so many ways.

Get out of this Flip Cycle. Ask yourself:

  • Are we a team? Do we have complementary skills that make us strong together?
  • Is this person my “wing-person?”
  • Do we respect each other?

Thank you for stopping by. I hope these tips help. My mission is to help you stay smart, brave and sweet about love, life and work.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish is a nationally recognized psychologist and licensed clinical social worker #7132, honored for her pioneering work with women’s issues in love, life, work and family. The National Association of Social Workers has named her as One of the Fifty who has contributed to the field. She is the subject of biographical entry in many Marquis’Who’s Who publications. Her latest self-help, research-based books are Smart Relationships and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie, the cartoon companion book where you can follow a year of Cookie’s love missteps and learn about yours! Receive your free gift by signing up on her website