In the corporate world, we use a SWOT analysis all the time, especially during annual retreats, to determine what are the firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  The point is to continue to play off our strengths while finding new opportunities to address the weaknesses and eliminate the threats.  This is an incredibly useful technique that helps companies figure out their competitive advantage, and the fact is more of us should apply this concept to dating.

To be perfectly candid, I did not understand much about the dating scene 8 years ago.  I went straight from college to living with my boyfriend, who later became my husband in law school.  After 12 years of being together, when we divorced in 2005, I was shocked to see how the dating landscape had changed, especially as a result of modern technology.  Luckily, I am a quick learner, and if I had to emphasize 3 key points, they would be this:

1. Pace yourself – you don’t need to speed things up just because someone else has a different agenda.

2. Take breaks when you need to— we all have moments that require us to focus on other things, and rational human beings will understand that work and kids have to come first.

3. Stay focused– don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment.  You need to stay true to your wants and needs and stay clear of your deal-breakers.  Don’t compromise those for anyone.

If someone actually makes it past the four month mark, and you find yourself getting serious, then you may want to start doing a SWOT analysis.  Do you play off each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses?  What opportunities are there together?  And most importantly, what are the threats to this relationship, and can they be addressed?

In law school, I was taught to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  Funny thing is that this mentality has actually saved my life many times and served me incredibly well in dating.  Here’s wishing you too will plan for the worst while hoping for the best!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.