By Ayla Newhouse

Dating is tough. Relationships, like democracy or capitalism, can be wicked problems: as soon as you solve one aspect, three new challenges are revealed. 

Some years ago, after the demise of a particularly wicked relationship, I turned to the only thing I knew to help me repair my broken heart: design. I asked myself, what would happen if I applied design thinking to my romantic relationships?

Design thinking, a concept first coined by the design firm IDEO, is "a deeply human process … [that] relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional". What better framework for examining and creating the relationships we want?

Whether you're single, in a long-term relationship, or exploring some gradient in-between, this handy diagram should help get you thinking about some of the ways you might start to design your way to a better relationship.Blank-700x20


If you’re interested in this way of thinking, check out my upcoming class at Makeshift Society on Nov.21st, or my recently published book: The ABC's of Dating by Design.