Every so often, I like to lament on the challenges of dating as a twenty-something.
For women and men alike, finding a partner is difficult. Historically for me, the most taxing part of dating has been putting myself out there again and again, only to be disappointed. As a woman in her late twenties, finding someone who is on the same page as me has been frustratingly elusive. Either they want absolutely nothing to do with commitment, or they want the wedding planned by June.
Please oh please can I just find somebody who wants the same things as me who isn’t completely insane and is capable of monogamy and who has their crap together and who is kind and funny and at least kinda good looking and at least a little bit taller than me and who likes dogs and is capable of being a good boyfriend?
I know, steep order.
In The Single Girl Rant and 10 Things Women Don’t Want to Hear About, I discussed some dating blunders and noteworthy experiences. I think it’s time again to make a list of Dating Don’ts, that either I have done or have been done to me, so I can say I did my small part to get it out there. Here we go…
10 Dating Mistakes We Need To Stop Making
1. Talking to our exes. You broke up for a reason. Being “friends” with an ex is messy and practically impossible to maintain without complications. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between. Don’t make your current love interest deal with your past. Here’s an adult word we should all employ the use of: boundaries. Set them. Use them. Respect them.
2. Flaking. If you set a date, keep it. If you say you will meet at 8pm, then be there at 8pm. This also applies to: not suddenly dropping off the face of the earth mid-text conversation with no apology or explanation, being sure to follow up on tentative date plans, and texting/calling when you say you are going to. I stick to my word, and you stick to yours. Kapish?
3. Keeping our options open. You know the deal- you’ve started dating someone new but still have an old flame on the back burner in case things don’t work out. The problem with this is it keeps you emotionally unavailable and lays a foundation based on dishonesty. Why wouldn’t you want to give your new relationship its best shot? Keeping your options open is just a fuzzy form of infidelity. If you are looking for a committed relationship, act like it. When you meet someone great, use that block function on your phone. You won’t be sorry.
4. Being so self-absorbed. I feel like we are always trying to sell ourselves, and this translates strongly into our dating life. The best dates are ones where you get to know each other and the conversation is equal, rather than just one party using up all of the oxygen in the room. Ask questions. Be interested. Be present.
5. Cell phones. When you’re on a date, don’t be on your phone. This seems like a gimme, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a date whip out his phone mid conversation at the dinner table. I get it, I am as addicted to my cell phone as the next Millennial, but it can wait.
6. Dodging the Question. What do you want? That’s a question we all need to get more comfortable with answering. If you want a committed relationship, then don’t be afraid to say that when someone asks what you are looking for. It’s not shameful to want a relationship. If you want to focus on yourself and keep it casual, then say that. It isn’t callous to not desire commitment. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If we improve on our communication, we will find what we are looking for a whole lot faster.
7. Looking for flaws. Absolutely nobody is perfect. It’s all about figuring out the right fit for you. We can’t expect people to never mess up, but we can expect them to be decent human beings. It’s finding something in between the two extremes that’s the trick.
8. Being Impatient. I think that the best relationships develop organically and progress naturally at their own rate. Expecting to hang out x times a week or talk x times a day puts unnecessary constraints and expectations on your relationship. Each relationship dynamic is unique, and you have to go with it. Just be patient and trust the process.
9. Rape Kissing. Just because you are on a date does NOT mean you have to kiss at the end. If we do not: lean in, make eye contact, maintain eye contact, or give you any sign whatsoever that we want to be kissed- WE ARE NOT READY! Like stated above, things need to develop naturally. There are no rules about when kissing (or anything else) is right, you have to feel it! Make sure your partner is on the same page and is sending you the right cues.
10. Putting love on a pedestal. Finding something great takes time, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Love isn’t some puzzle you have to solve. It isn’t something to chase down and catch. When the right person comes along you will know, and it will be awesome. The sooner you learn to stop looking at love as something perfect and unobtainable, the more free you will be.
Dating is hard. Being is a relationship is hard. It’s all hard. So, try your best to look at the bright side of everything!