Girls' Guide To Healthy DatingLearn how to date for the right reasons with this wonderful book on LGBT relationships.

Now, I freely admit, when I was asked to review a guide to dating, I shuddered a little. Oh great, I thought, a book that will tell me all the best ways to dress, flirt, and act in order to find my perfect woman. How wrong could I be? This book is most definitely not that! I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover that this book is full of perceptive and thought-provoking words on just what it means to come out of a broken relationship and move on to another. The author, Kim Baker, is an online dating columnist, and she contributes her thoughts on LGBT dating and relationships on a variety of online and social media outlets.

The entire premise of her book is that before we can find someone we are going to be truly happy sharing our life with, we have to be truly happy with ourselves. All sorts of behaviour patterns, built up from either childhood or past relationships, will have moulded us to expect to be treated in a certain way. That way is likely not to be the healthiest for us. Until we take the time to look at ourselves and be totally honest about who we are, what we want, and what our behaviour says about us, Baker believes we are doomed to repeat the endless cycle of always falling for the wrong woman.

Each chapter in the book progresses the reader through the steps from coming out of a broken relationship, taking the time to discover ourselves, and being ready to look for a new relationship. The first section shows us how to focus on ourselves, rather than others. And while section two focuses on the actual dating process, it does so in a more cerebral manner rather than a ‘what to wear’ way.

Every chapter contains action points that you can follow for yourself and checklists you can work through. Through these, Baker guides us in taking a long, hard look at ourselves.

What is our reason for looking for a relationship now? If it’s just about sex, maybe a relationship is not what we should be going after. What role did we ourselves play in the break-ups of our past relationships? Break-ups are never one-sided, even if we are reluctant to admit it. Baker makes us face up to this, and many other aspects of dating, on the understanding that this self-knowledge will allow us to avoid getting into relationships with women we are simply not compatible with.

The book calls on a good blend of common sense, mindfulness, coaching and experience to present a very easy-to-read, easy-to-use guide to doing it all better. The length is just right, and although there is a little repetition of key points, nothing feels laboured or overblown. If you’re in that spot where you think you might be ready to get out there again, have a read of this first and make sure you are getting out there again for the right reasons.