Author, Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., shares what inspired her to write Date Smart. Read along to learn how Dr. Carla created this guide to modern dating and building strong relationships.
Dating pain points
We all want a “happily ever after.” Regardless of gender, race, or age, finding that perfect soulmate—the ideal life-long companion—is often a paramount life goal. With high hopes—and even higher expectations—we often view new relationships through a lens clouded by fantasy and idealization. When illusions fade away and the complex layers of personal issues and reality set in, dating can become confusing, irritating, and overwhelming.
Creating healthy relationships is one of the most significant challenges people face. In fact, most individuals I encounter struggle to some degree in their personal relationships. Given that forming healthy relationships can be one of the most difficult—if not the most difficult—tasks in life, I felt compelled to create a book devoted to healthy dating. By crafting a clear guidebook for dating happily and successfully, I knew readers could create healthy long-term relationships built on a much-needed solid foundation.
How do you date?
Dating in this modern world is more difficult than ever. Most of us never received any type of instruction on how to date successfully. In fact, the trial and error method—which is often largely error-based—has been the general formula. In my clinical work, I’ve discovered that clients can create healthy, satisfying relationships by increasing self-awareness and following basic steps to increase dating and relationship intelligence. From fostering positive communication skills to crafting healthy personal boundaries, Date Smart gives readers the relationship tools they need and deserve.
The downsides to unhealthy dating patterns are substantial. Finding the right partner can be incredibly taxing on emotional, mental, and physical levels. Dating without self-awareness and a clear, thoughtful personal plan often leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and failed relationships. Habitual dating behaviors, like any repeated patterns, become hardwired in the brain. Positive dating behaviors tend to facilitate the formation of strong, healthy relationships; the more these positive dynamics are repeated, the stronger and healthier the relationships become. In the same way, negative dating behaviors are often repeated unconsciously; this leads to unhealthy dynamics that lead to unsatisfying or toxic relationships.
Date Smart draws attention to the simple truth that dating becomes far less complicated when we slow down to invest in self-awareness. By learning more about one’s inner workings—from personal desires to necessary boundaries—self-confidence and self-esteem grow. By focusing on authenticity and personal empowerment, the process of dating becomes far less complicated. As boundaries, expectations, and personal needs become clearer, the reader becomes more mindful and discerning. As illusions evaporate and become replaced by conscious expectations, there is less confusion about which relationships are healthy and which ones are not. Most important, Date Smart draws the reader into an introspective realm for a singular purpose: to allow the dater to become an expert on what feels right, healthy, and sustainable in intimate relationships.
Date Smart is a guidebook for daters who want to be self-aware, other-aware, and emotionally intelligent in the dating process.