Dating well. How do I find the right mate?

By Alicia Falzon

In the world of emotional connection and, ‘falling in love’, I want to explore what Bowen Theory can add to this?

Some people will come for therapy and say,’ I wasn’t happy’, ‘it did not work out’, or ‘we just grew apart.’ The focus can be on being happy. Is it possible to focus on other things in the relationship than being happy?

These days the online dating market has exploded. In our busy world this works for some. However, I feel that it is important to hear the voice experience and to not get too close to the person too fast. This simply means, to talk to the person and hear their voice, connect with their voice, as well as their words on the internet. This gives time to practice having the ability of being yourself in a relationship. This can take time as we tend to open up in varying degrees. To do this you need your principles about dating.

Do you spend 3 years with someone who you know you will not marry? Be consistent and clear about what you want. An example would be a person who is 33 years old and dates for a person for 3 years without asking whether they want children or not.

Know who you are and represent that person.


So what does Bowen Theory offer beyond the couple?

Some topics of discussion would be:

  • Does the person you want to be with have kids? What does this mean for the relationship and what do they bring to the table?
  • Keep in mind that you are dating someone with a family of origin. It is helpful to do a genogram to see who is in their family. This can also be challenging. How often I have said to myself, ‘I am not like the rest of my family, I am different’. Others will say, ’that sounds too complicated and so unromantic’. Have you been told you are being too picky.
  • However, with a genogram we are looking for the facts of our own family and to know the sensitivities of who we are dating. Are you different or similar? How did your family fight? How much fighting went on?


But you need to look at the family you are getting into.

  • What are the day to day life functions or activities that are important to you?

For example:

  • Do you prefer order.
  • Do you like to exercise everyday or not at all.
  • What are your food preferences and sleep patterns?
  • What does respect look like to you?
  • How much attention are you expecting?
  • How much time apart/alone do you need? It is important to know how to be by yourself when you are single and to know how to be by yourself when you are in a relationship. How much is too much and how much is too little?
  • Is there a difference in religious beliefs? Is so are you/can you attend church on your own?

This is about getting practical and interested in the many differences and habits that people have.


Other questions to think about are:

  • What did you not like about your past in your family of origin (FOO) or past marriage that you do not want to repeat?
  • What is the position of importance of the person, in their FOO, that you want to spend your life with? For example; was this person the eldest, the one who was always admired, or got everything? What happens when this position is not upheld in their new family and how will this person manage themselves? How are you both going to work this out?


Family visits are important to talk about.

When do you go to visit your family alone and when do you both go together? Do other people have a problem with the in-laws. What happens in peoples FOO is really important, and dating is a time to pay attention to these issues and judge if they are acceptable with your values and beliefs.


Part of dating well is to have knowledge of yourself, what I know and want in a relationship. So as to be resilient in the pressure from important others in your life.

You may bring a person home that you are really interested in, but not sure. Your family admits to you how much they like him/her. This pressure can change your opinion on what you want. Or your best friend says, ‘he/she is too tall or too short’, this opinion could change your liking for him/her. Hence, pressure can change your focus on what you want; you can find yourself backing into the pressure.


Peace and agree, accommodate, adapt to please, all to keep the peace are not habits founded on successful relationships. Can you hold yourself in the face of fusion without using any or all of the above habits? To know what you think and believe. The core dating process begins with the self.

Adapted from Kathleen Cauley

Alicia Falzon Counselling
Family therapy and Supervision
ABN: 76151850779
B.Psyc., M.Coun., M.MH(FT),A.Cert.B.F.T.

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