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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > Secrets of Successful Dating

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

The Secrets of Successful Dating

My parents recently celebrated their 30th Anniversary, which is quite impressive if you ask me.  But I asked them:  what is your secret to a long-lasting, happy marriage?  Their answer:  “Having a daughter who is a dating columnist.”

Okay, I made that up, but from what I observe, they are happy together, even when they are involved in their separate interests.  My Mom likes to quilt, but my Dad isn’t going to start quilting just because she does it.  He’ll put on a Yankees game.  They have their separate interests, but when together, can talk about them.  And they find humor in a lot of things, which, as you might know, so do I.  Hey, maybe that’s where I get it from.


So I set out to find what makes a happy couple.  I questioned some of my friends who are either married, about to be married, or in long term relationships, and asked them, “what is your secret?”  What is the secret to a successful relationship, or even more simply, successfully dating?  How did they make it past the mere triumphs and tragedies of dating into that relationship phase, and then perhaps more?  Here is what they said:

My friend Andrew has been dating a girl for a year now.  Of course they have had their ups and downs, but when it really matters, they are quite happy.  They started dating because they worked together.  At first it was magical, then he thought she was a little too much for him, but he waited it out and is glad he did, because things are working out great. 

“I think my secret, and I don’t think I can say it’s to successful dating, because there have been low points, but everyone has low points.  Anyway, my secret would be sticking it out when times are tough.  There were a lot of times I wanted to call it quits, but I didn’t.  I’m glad I didn’t, because I’m happy now,” he told me. 

If Andrew had broken up with her in those early stages of dating, he could have missed out on the happiness he has now.  Sure, everyone can nitpick little details of their date in those first weeks and months of dating, but that’s the hump we have to get over.  Realizing that everyone has quirks, even you, will make you more accepting, and once you get over them, you could have one great relationship ahead of you.

Emily is an old friend of mine who just got married and never thought she would.  I mean, never.  She didn’t even like to date.  Until she met George—this funny, sweet, and goofy guy.  She just couldn’t say no to a date with him, even though she wanted to resist.  She went out with him and it was wonderful.  “My secret is giving guys a chance when you wouldn’t normally do so.  If I followed my normal routine, I would have said ‘no’ to the date with George and I wouldn’t be happily married right now.  I’d be missing out on a lot.  My life would be so different.”  Her secret is to be more open to those you might normally shut out.  Give people a chance because you never know where it might lead.

Nate and Marissa are single, yet were in a relationship and now friends.  It just didn’t work out romantically, but they were lucky in that they were able to keep their friendship, whereas a lot of couples don’t. 

“There were sparks at first,” said Marissa. 

“There were?” joked Nate.

On a serious note, they both agreed that they were attracted to each other, had the same interests, and dated for about six months.  They were both happy during this time, but that spark fizzled out.  Nate noted, “I think the secret is finding someone that you’re not only compatible with, but that you really feel…”

“Butterflies,” Marissa finished his sentence.

“If you want to put it a girly way, yes.”

“Butterflies may seem silly but they’re important.  You sort of want your breath to be taken away.”

“I think that’s the secret to a lasting relationship.  If you get that feeling every time you see that person, you know it’s more than friendship.”

Chemistry is definitely important to a relationship, as Nate and Marissa found, but fortunately, they found a good friend in each other as well.

So the top three secrets to lasting dating that I found were:  don’t call it quits too early over some simple quirk, give someone a chance who you might not normally, and look for a bit of chemistry, not just a best friend.  Every couple has their secrets to a lasting relationship—whether they have been dating for a week, a year, or have been married for thirty.  And they are all individual things.  They can be simple as a love of dogs or hot dogs.  But every couple has something.  You might ask them and they don’t say a word, they just smile each other.  Then you don’t need an answer, you just know they are in love.  I hope you all find that person you can just smile at and know you have your own secret to your lasting relationship, and that secret is each other.


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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