How to navigate life changes during dating - Christian Connection dating advice

How to navigate life changes during dating

Life happens. This very common saying means that you could be happily going along your day and suddenly, life throws you a curveball – some sort of unexpected problem or event. For most of us, we just deal with it as best as we can and carry on. But what do you do if ‘life happens’ when you’re dating, or getting to know someone for the purpose of a relationship? How do you navigate life changes when someone new is in the picture?

What to consider as you navigate life changes

How to navigate life changes during dating - Christian Connection dating adviceIf someone you’re getting to know tells you they’ve had some really bad news, for example, a bereavement, how do you support them through it? Are there rules as to what you should and shouldn’t do, especially if you don’t know each other that well?

What if you’re the one that suddenly has an unexpected life event? Or one that may not be unexpected but requires considerable thought and planning? Should you pause your dating life whilst you deal with it? If you’re serious about someone, is there a way to navigate these life events together?

Understanding how to respond

I think the answer to that last question is ‘Yes’. There is a way to navigate life events together whilst still dating or getting to know someone. First, it is important to understand the status of your relationship and how you view each other. In simple terms, you don’t want to be doing ‘boyfriend or girlfriend duties’ when you’re still on a ‘getting to know you’ basis.

Having said that, if someone you’re seeing has something sad happen in their life, and they share it with you, you should try to be there for them. This can be as simple as being a listening ear when they talk about it. But it can be difficult to know how to support someone through certain major life events, such as a bereavement. Depending on how well you know each other, you may need to give them a bit of space whilst still letting them know you’re available if they want to talk, or if they need anything else.

Beyond ‘getting to know you’

How to navigate life changes during dating - Christian Connection dating adviceIf the relationship has moved beyond the ‘getting to know’ phase onto something more serious, you may need to provide more support. The important thing is to find out from the person what they need from you at that moment and do your best to give it to them. This is where effective communication is paramount. Talk to each other, so that both parties know what is expected of one another. Don’t assume anything; just ask. Would they appreciate your help or support? Or do they want some space? Asking them would help you to know what is most important to them and prevent any awkwardness if you do the wrong thing by mistake.

Being practical

Sometimes, navigating life events together means providing practical help where it is needed. For example, if the person you’re interested in tells you that they’ve just been laid off and need a new job, you could support them by helping them with job searches or preparing for interviews. You may want to look through their CV and provide some tips on how it could be improved (if they’re open to it).

If it is not necessarily bad news but still a major life event, such as moving house, you could offer to help them move. Help in this instance could range from helping them pack up their stuff, to offering your car to help them move into their new place.

Prayer during change

Another way you can navigate life events together with someone is by praying for them (together or when you’re alone). In addition to being a listening ear, and providing practical support, prayer is something that many people appreciate, and it is powerful. When we involve God in our day to day lives, and especially in our dating lives, He can move in ways that we never expected and turn things around for good.

How to navigate life changes during dating - Christian Connection dating adviceWe will all go through some major life event at one time or the other, but this doesn’t mean that our dating life has to be negatively impacted. These events can even help to provide clarity depending on how we were able to navigate them with the person we’re dating, or getting to know at the time. If you’re getting to know someone, being a listening ear, praying for them, giving them space if needed, and asking them directly how you can support them are all ways to let them know that you care for them and are invested in the relationship. All these make for a great foundation in any relationship.

Life is bound to happen – this isn’t something we can avoid, and whilst it may be tempting to want to stay away or keep someone you’re getting to know at arm’s length when a major life event happens, the way you both navigate life changes can ultimately help you decide if this is a relationship you want to pursue.

Did you find ‘How to navigate life changes during dating’ helpful? Read more posts by Urenna Kiwanuka here

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