Healthy Dating Guidelines – Part One


Melissa Killeen

As a recovery coach, I often see that many of my clients have difficulties negotiating new relationships. In the 12 step rooms’ of the sex and love addictions, members write their healthy dating guidelines when they are entering a new relationship. They review their dating guidelines and commit to following these guidelines to their sponsor, before the first date. The following dating guidelines can be used by young adults, people that are separated or divorced, and for those who have been single for decades. This first blog focuses on selecting the characteristics you want in a potential date, the first date guidelines and first date deal breakers. Next week’s blog will cover the dating guidelines for the first month through the sixth month. These guidelines are specific to circumstances that may occur during the courtship period. Hopefully, these suggestions will help anyone avoid the common pitfalls faced by those who are trying to win the heart of another.  Feel free to circle the items that you embrace as your healthy dating guidelines. Write in what you think you need to have for a healthy dating experience. And you can leave any item that does not apply to you.

Characteristics I Want in a Potential Date:

My potential dating prospect should be (circle as many that apply)

  • Single
  • Divorced
  • Separated
  • Straight
  • Gay/Lesbian
  • Transgender


      • Have children
      • Have no children
      • Available for a committed relationship
      • Wanting to marry
      • Only want to date


My potential dating prospect should live (circle as many that apply)

  • Within 20 miles of me
  • Within 50 miles of me
  • Within 100 miles of me
  • Is comfortable with a long distance relationship
  • Is interested in moving near me
  • I am interested in moving near him/her

My potential dating prospect should have this amount of education (circle as many that apply)

  • High School/GED
  • Technical School
  • College, non-graduating
  • College, graduated
  • Graduate School
  • Doctoral, or JD degree

My potential dating prospect should have these qualities (circle as many that apply)

  • Abundant
  • Adorable
  • Affectionate
  • Ambitious
  • Balance of humility & ego
  • Caring
  • Clear Communicator
  • Compassionate
  • Consideration
  • Dependable
  • Flexible
  • Fun Loving
  • Generous with Time & Talent
  • Spiritual


      • Honesty
      • Integrity
      • Inquisitiveness
      • Intelligence
      • Love of Animals
      • Love of Children
      • Optimistic
      • Passion in a nonsexual way
      • Respectful
      • Realistic
      • Self-Reflective
      • Tactile and touching
      • Trustworthy
      • Happy & Positive


It is important that my potential date is healthy in the following factors (circle as many that apply)

  • Emotionally Healthy
  • Physically Healthy
  • Healthy Family Relationships
  • Financially Healthy
  • Mentally Healthy
  • Healthy Relationships with the Legal System

Dating Guidelines — circle any guideline that may apply to you

First Date Guidelines

  • Allow for two days between accepting a date and the actual date
  • A date has a start and stop time of three hours or less, no all day or all afternoon dates
  • The first date is always in a public place like a coffee shop or student center. I will avoid dark places, outdoor parks, bars and the guy’s apartment.
  • Drive to the date location in separate cars
  • A friend, babysitter or adult child is aware of who I am with, where I am going, and what time I can be expected home
  • Call a friend before I leave for the date and tell them I’ll call them when the date is over (bookending)
  • No drinking alcohol on the first date
  • Be prepared to split the bill on all first dates
  • Must have clear conversation concerning marriage status
  • I turn off my phone during a date, I communicate this with my date

First Date Deal Breakers

  • Discussions concerning body parts, innuendos about sex, discussion of sexual likes/dislikes are deal breakers
  • I will not get involved with anyone who is clearly unresolved about past relationships.  No heavy talk about past partners, wives, husbands, etc.
  • I confuse love with pity and/or the need to rescue. Men or women who display a need for a caretaker; or that need to be rescued are deal breakers
  • I will not date active addicts of any type: Drug Users, Cigarette Smokers, Compulsive Overeaters; Hoarders, Debtors; Drinkers; Workaholics; Gamblers; Sex Addicts; in other words, I do not date men or women that are not in recovery
  • The bad boy, bad girl, unavailable men or women (e.g. married, but unhappy, separated but living with spouse, living with parents), and men/women that have anger, rage or impulse control issues
  • Individuals that display intensities beyond the normal- over board passionate opinions regarding religion, politics, race, sports, fashion, social media, etc.
  • Constant use of electronic devices during the date

A long term relationship takes hard work, is it worth it? Being with someone for a long time is a sublime experience. Having a close, intimate connection to another person is unlike any other relationship you have experienced. Perhaps the experience of a lifetime. For people who make it through the heart-pounding passion of falling in love for the first time, a long term committed relationship may seem hard, but it’s worth the effort.


Melissa Killeen wants to thank Juanita Johnson for her input on this blog

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3 Responses to Healthy Dating Guidelines – Part One

  1. I’m 64 and Beverly is 66. We got married last month, after a 4 year relationship. It is the 3rd marriage for each of us. We met from an on-line service, Plenty of Fish.
    Though we only live 15 miles apart, we decided to have our first several “dates” on Skype video. It is something we rcommend.

    I ran through some of my non typical, but deal breaker issues, that involve the daily habits and beliefs that affect how we would live with each other, our families and community.

    Here are a view from my 29 categoires
    How clean -tidy does your home have to be for yourself and the variety of people who would come to visit?

    The battle of the thermostat and open windows. what are your comfot levels for awake and sleeping.

    Do you snore or have sleeping challenges – Do you awaken and function with a good attitude? Do you fall aleep easily?

    Are you a socializer who enjoys meeting new people and having friends and family visit? Describe the people who call your friends.

    In what ways do your views about your position on the socio-economic ladder affect your expectations, behavior, attitudes amd social interactions and what you expect of your mate?

    The conversations from these types of questions clearly brings out a different layer profile than what is your favorite color or restaurants or where you are from.

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