Defining Healthy, Date Smart! Chapter 1.7

Monday, April 20, 2009 1:00
Posted in category Date Smart
<div class=\"postavatar\">Defining Healthy, Date Smart! Chapter 1.7</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle and Dave Coleman (See Relationships page for author information)

Defining Healthy

Date Smart! Chapter 1.7

You must begin to understand and embrace what is normal and healthy for this to occur. During our seminars, we’re frequently asked: “What is normal?” “What is okay?” “How do I know that I’m not so drastically different that it will be impossible for me to find a mate or even a date?” Over the next few posts we will give a more detailed description/definition of work, love and play that may provide you with a foundation or basis for what is “normal.” Being healthy is the ability to work, love and play in balanced harmony. By defining work, love and play, we’re describing what healthy is and how a healthy individual should function.


Work is the ability to dress appropriately and show up more than three days in a row. It’s the capacity to be self-sustaining through your efforts to support yourself. This can be done by working for someone else or for your-self.  By the age of 21, young adults often have three page resumes. If they don’t, people question why they’re not reaching their potential. The work ethic of showing consistency and loyalty to one company or career is waning. The “two years and a cloud of dust” mentality permeates our society.  Executives jump from job to job and company to company out of fear, boredom, and stagnation or to pursue a deliciously dangled carrot. 


Unfortunately, many of you bring this manner of individual thinking into your personal lives, which can sabotage and undermine your relationships. Relationship patterns, issues and stresses filter into your jobs and vice versa. How can a long-term relationship with someone be maintained on either a personal or professional level if relocation occurs every two years? How can you be effective in your job if you’re transferred out, just as you develop solid friendships and become proficient?


Companies rarely have a deep regard for single people and treat them as expendable. Families are given some consideration, but those who are single are relocated without a thought for their personal life.


A company isn’t concerned about whether a single person is in the midst of a long-term relationship. If the company says, “go,” the relationship must go as well. The bond between a couple gets put to the test over money, geographic location, or the extent to which one partner will sacrifice all and follow the other. A single parent may also have to deal with the stressful realities of relocating their children as they find new schools, address spiritual issues such as a change of worship locations, make new friends, meet their new neighbors and manage custody arrangements in the case of divorce or “difficult” breakups.



Love is a sincere “concern” for a person’s spiritual, physical, and emotional growth and needs, including and especially your own. The most important aspect of love is that you can’t give away what you don’t have. Many people are burdened with poor self-esteem and a fear that it’s impossible to love someone else if you can’t even love yourselves. In many cases, the absence of love means the presence of shame.  Remember the shock of seeing pictures of young children in Romanian orphanages, nearly catatonic, faces devoid of emotion. They were starving, not from lack of food but from lack of human contact.  Too many children and not enough staff.  No one with time to play with them, talk to them, hold them. The medical term is marasmus: failure to thrive and dying for no apparent reason. 


As adults, we crave love. As abused adults, living in the illusion of love often leads us to being hurt. When we feel that love keeps eluding us and we’ve been disappointed, wounded, or abandoned frequently, our concept of love and loving relationships becomes damaged or distorted. Maintaining a continuous, healthy interaction can seem impossible to imagine if you’ve lived in the shadow of abuse. Opening ones self up from a position of spiritual bankruptcy may be a nearly impossible task to give what you don’t have.  In an effort to shield a wounded soul, many people appear to be emotionally unavailable or numb. Some even profess to no longer believe in the concept of love and emotionally insulate them from the next potential source of hurt, becoming emotional cynics. “I can’t find love. I can’t get love, and even if I do find it, it won’t last for long.” We call this the Intimacy Defense Mechanism. Love has to begin at home and start with a healthy sense of self. It’s an individual process, not an event. Love isn’t a person. It’s the dreams and desires to have passion and to be passionate. It’s the security of a hug that’s always there, like the unconditional love from an old family pet that’s always available. Love is familiar to some – alien to others. Just as you must practice being a friend, to have a friend and to be a friend, you must practice loving yourself, before you can love others. For many of you who have previously experienced betrayal and fear, you must learn to accept love from a healthy source. Victims don’t feel worthy of love, but they are. For many, you must learn to define concepts that simply were never taught in the first place.  Parents who are on their 4th or 5th marriage might love their children but might not have been the best individual teachers of long term normal relationships.


Love is not to be mistaken for lust, fantasy, courtship, a whirlwind romance, heat of the moment passion, or physical infatuation. It’s not to be confused with intellectual arousal, pampering, idolizing, or compliments.  It’s not an intense experience that happens as the result of unclear conditions or mental incapacity (being inebriated or stoned). Love is flexible and doesn’t require certain actions or thoughts. It asks and answers. Love allows for you and another person to make mistakes, and still be there in the end. Love accepts that the best you’ll ever be is human and it’s okay.


Love takes responsibility. The characteristics of love within a healthy relationship are: trust, respect, intimacy, passion, and commitment. Love is attainable when you let it happen. Love is maintainable because you make it happen. Love is sustainable because its characteristics make it so. Even if only one of love’s characteristics is absent, love is guaranteed to die. Without trust, love will question. Without respect, love has no boundaries. Without intimacy, you won’t be heard or understood, and love vanishes. Without passion, love withers. Without commitment, love strays. Where spirituality comes in is the faith, belief in something inside and outside yourself that what the relationship faces, it as a couple and as an individual can over come virtually any obstacle.


All these lofty ideals are what we dream of achieving. But we may find ourselves disillusioned in the process of getting there and frequently feel that we’re lacking healthy direction, drive and support necessary to achieve consistent, romantic love.



The word play comes from the Greek word meaning recreate, as in to re-create or create anew. Sitting at home in front of your computer, watching another movie channel (or video), or drowning out all conversation with one of your 750 CDs or MP3s  is not recreation. It’s vegetation or techno-avoidance. Consuming alcohol to the point of losing control is even more unhealthy. Nothing new is being created.


When we play we tend to isolate ourselves by finding amusement in activities that we do on our own such as video games, surfing the Internet, or working out. We seldom get out and interact with other available singles in a social setting, so our interpersonal skills diminish. The communication skills that go unpracticed during solitary activities don’t miraculously appear in a relationship. What we fail to use and strengthen atrophies over time. Thus, we may see or sense exactly what we want but lack the skills to achieve what we desire.


Fortunately we have sports leagues, camping trips, social events, special interest clubs, group travel opportunities, volunteerism, civic activities, political and religious groups that do promote interaction, spontaneity, fellowship and play. Involve yourself in as many of these as possible as you will learn from each interaction and individual person you encounter. 


Reading the Sunday newspaper together is not considered play. Vegetating in front of yet another movie or sporting event does not constitute play. While you may be undertaking these activities together, they promote self-absorption. Couples at play visit the zoo, take in arcades, or wash their cars together. They go out with friends and expand their boundaries. They dance in public even if only they can hear the music. They sing along at concerts as they acquire each other’s tastes. They laugh. They smile. They touch and converse. They become students of each other’s lives and make time to study together.  Their passion is evident and each individual contributes to the relationship thru common experience as well as what each brings the other by sharing new experiences.


Please come back each week as we will post the next piece of each chapter broken down into posts that you can comment on, ask questions or share your thoughts. We will eventually update and post the whole book Date Smart! 



*Special thanks for co-writing this article goes to Dave Coleman AKA The Dating Doctor. Dave and I wrote Date Smart! back in Jan. 2000. The publication rights have now reverted over to us equally and, with Dave’s permission, I have edited the book and modernized some of the ideas we originally wrote. The book, Date Smart! is still available through some stores and you can contact Random House to request the book be reprinted. With enough demand they might just contact Dave and I to republish and possibly write another one. We are basically giving you the book to read in posts and encourage you to visit both Dave’s website and of course all parts of our website Neither the posts nor the book are in any way to be republished or sold or used without our express specific written permission and all posts are copyrighted and protected (ISBN-10: 0761521739,ISBN-13: 978-0761521730). Dave and I have written a number of articles together as well and so this serves as the byline. A huge thank you to Dave for sharing both our efforts and time to write what we hope are insightful, intriguing and informative articles that we share the creative collaboration and credit for working on over a number of years.


You can contact Rick by posting or by emailing:

askrickhead [at] topicisland [dot] com or read posts at Ask Rickhead

You can write Dave at:

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Defining Healthy, Date Smart! Chapter 1.7”

  1. Suiter80 says:

    May 18th, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Helpful info you have displayed here thanks.

Leave a Reply