Tonight on my show, Making It Last, I get to dish about one of my favorite topics– dating in the 21st century. Keep in mind that it is only in the last 10 years that modern technology has really changed the game around. Online dating is how 25% of all couples meet; the rest usually meet organically either through friends, work or in school.

Regardless of how people meet, in order to maintain a relationship in today’s modern world, they need to become super apt at communicating via email, text, FB and phone. Expectations are ridiculously high that you’ll be instantly available, and as a result I think the rate of crashing and burning is increasing exponentially.

People– this is not a race. Dating should be a fun social experiment. You learn what you like, what you don’t, you figure out where you have room to compromise, and no one should take it personally if there are some things you just cannot negotiate. The people that go the extra mile of hiring a dating coach are serious about finding a life partner. These are people on a mission, but some of us are just not motivated in that way. Many may not be clear about what they want in a partner, meanwhile others are crystal clear about the traits they are seeking in a spouse.  There is no wrong or right way to approach dating, as long as you are honest.

Ultimately, the more you go in with an open mind, and an open heart, the better off you will be– and for your own sanity, just try your best to avoid one thing: setting ultimateums. No one likes to be forced to make a choice, even though there are certain ones that are inevitable. After a few months of casually dating you do need to assess where you are heading. Maybe after a year, if there is a commute involved, eventually someone needs to pose the question of whether there is any intention of ending that situation by finding compromise ground. If there is a toxic person that is hovering over the couple like a dark cloud, either you both agree to move away or you need to part ways.

Once you are contemplating the idea of playing house together, serious talks need to occur about money and life goals.  If one person wants a family and the other doesn’t share that vision, or one person wants to stay home and raise kids, while the other person wants to be part of a double income family, where both spouses share equally in all responsibilities, you just need to be honest with yourselves that your long-term vision is not in sync. Play out the movie in your head, and work backwards from the end you seek, that is my best advice.

In the end, in dating I think you should envision yourself as a director going through cast calls,and just have fun trying to find the best character to play that lead role in your life!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.