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I deal with many people who are either dating, wanting to date, or just broke up with someone they were dating. Those of us who come from dysfunctional backgrounds and lifestyles have many mixed messages that allow us to break the rules. Most of us make them up as we go. I am going to provide a guideline for dating in recovery that will make some of you reading this mad. That is not my intention. I have spent countless hours talking to people about their relationships with other people. These guidelines will be nothing new to most of you, but more on the order of a refresher course.

The first date is always in a public place, you take your car, they take their car, both of you leave in your cars and go back to your own homes.

The second date is exactly as the first.

Exactly as the second.

The fourth date can be in one car, mutually agreeable that each of you will return to their respective homes alone.

There is to be no touching as far as long kisses, arms around each other, longer than a few seconds hugging.

At no time are the two of you to be alone together. Any vehicle causes a chance for being alone. When you arrive home, get out of the car and go inside. There is nothing wrong with being walked to your door. However, talking outside is fine, you enter your home alone.

It is my suggestion that you date for the minimum of one year.

If there are children from previous marriages or relationships, they are not to meet your date for the first year. This causes damage to the children; as they will see people going in and out of your life that they become attached to. Remember, being without their father or mother is already traumatic enough.

Sex before marriage is absolutely out. Many times I have heard people talk about their friends. I ask them if they are sleeping with them, and they say yes. I tell them they are no longer friends. Remember, you dont sleep with your friends!

Any time alone together is dangerous. Inappropriate kissing, fondling, etc. will only lead to hormone adjustments and crossing the line is much easier to do in the heat of the moment. Dont set yourself up to fail.

If you are a single parent with children, just because you had sex at least once in your life, doesnt mean it is all right to have it again. Become a born again virgin.

Avoid conversations that are sexual in nature. Using the someday technique may put you in the present moment faster than you think.

If you cannot stand someones children, dont marry that person. You will resent the children later and the relationship will fail.

Practice makes perfect. Continue practicing friendship. You will need this later in your relationship.

Last but not least, and probably this should be first. Put God first in your relationship. Agree on your religious beliefs now, because later on you wont, no matter what. Remember, attending church functions is safe and the members will hold you accountable. Let them know you are dating. If each of you is spiritually fit, emotionally rounded, healthy and mature, then after one years time, start talking about marriage.


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