Dating Advice: There Are No Buts In a Healthy Romantic Relationship

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

I have some great dating advice, sparked by a conversation I had today with a friend. My friend has been divorced for a couple years and was in a relationship recently that lasted for several months.


Every time I would ask her how it was going, she would say, “Well…” and then she would talk about some issue she had with him. He was late a lot, he didn’t want to meet her friends, he was distant one night. So basically, every time I asked her about him, the answer was always that they were still together, BUT…


So now, they broke up and she has been dating someone new for a few weeks, and when I saw her today, I asked, “How is the new guy?”


“He’s great,” she said, gushing with happiness. And, she stopped right there. She didn’t say, “but…”


Her response got me thinking about the difference between healthy romantic relationships and those that most likely won’t work out.


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I truly believe that when a relationship is good (healthy) there are no buts. I’m not saying that healthy relationships are perfect. They aren’t. But rather that when someone is truly making you happy, you are only sharing good news about that person and your relationship.


My dating advice is, when in a relationship, LISTEN to yourself when you are talking to your friends about the person. Listen to the words that come out of your mouth. That says everything about whether or not the relationship is making you happy.


It’s easier to stay in a relationship sometimes, even if you know it isn’t right. A, because you care deeply about the person, B, perhaps you don’t want to get back out there in the dating world, i.e. you are comfortable, and C, you don’t think you can do any better or that there are any better men (or women) out there. So, you try to fit a square peg in a round hole, and you keep dating him or her, and you end up frustrated and unhappy because the same “buts” keep coming up over and over again!


You say things to your friends like, “he’s really good, but we fight a lot,” or “He’s good but he kind of drinks a lot” or “good but he never wants to go out with me on weekends” or “good but I don’t know if I see a future.”


Notice that there is a but in every one of these statements.



If a friend asks you, “How is your new guy?” and you answer in one of these ways, keep him!


“How is your new guy?”


  • the best
  • a total sweetheart
  • Great, he surprised me yesterday and showed up at my house with lunch.
  • We are having so much fun!
  • I just love him.
  • Kind and caring and giving.
  • I’m just really happy.
  • I’ve been waiting for him all my life.


Or, you say nothing, and your smile says it all.


I believe that relationships develop what I call “a theme” very early on. In other words, the stage is set almost from the start, and whatever the issues are, they will be there for the entire relationship.


That isn’t a bad thing and that doesn’t mean you are with the wrong person. What I am saying is, in most cases, your theme will not change.


If you are a bickering couple, that will start in month two and you will probably always bicker. Whatever bugs you about each other will continue to bug you for the entirety of the relationship. And it takes guts to really ask yourself if the issues are too big, or if you are willing to live with them.


That said, I truly believe your gut will speak to you and tell you if the buts are too big for the relationship to truly fulfill you.


I remember sitting on a plane next to some random guy one time and he said to me, “When a relationship is right, it will be easy.” I never forgot that. What does “easy” mean? No buts!




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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

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