The more you can be present in the current experience of your date, the more you’ll enjoy yourself. The more you enjoy yourself, the more enjoyable you are to be around. And if you both enjoy yourselves, that is a “successful” date in my book.
When you are trying to get your point across, it is not helpful to scream louder or longer. That is a waste of time and energy—time and energy better spent reviewing the perspectives of both parties involved.
All of the constructs I grew up with and believed I would carry on in my own family had to be thrown out the window. As much as I would like one, there is no guide on how to be a stepfamily—we are all too different.