Hey guys! It’s been a while! The past month has been so busy that I’ve barely had any time to blog and I also found myself experiencing a bit of writers block too, but I am back and I have some interesting posts for you all. In January, I decided that I wanted to possibly start dating again so I joined an online dating site (I won’t say which one). Getting back into the dating scene has been so interesting this time around. I’ve adopted a much more realistic and open minded approach to it all. I’ve laughed, I’ve smiled, I’ve been annoyed, I’ve been confused and I have had to utilise the block and delete functions on a few occasions. It’s all a part of the process, and although I’m not 100% crazy about online dating, I have been able to talk to some really cool people, so I’ll keep you guys updated with how I get on.
I hate the word ‘rules’ but I believe that there are certain guidelines women (and men) should follow when they decide to start dating again. Dating IS an extreme sport, it isn’t for the faint hearted. Dating without having any idea of what you want or unwillingly compromising for short term gain is a recipe for disaster. It’s always best to go into the world of dating with an open mind because things almost never work out how you expect them to. As with some things in life, the outcome of any date you go on is completely out of your control. Here are some guidelines or habits that I believe every woman who decides to date (or is currently dating) should follow:
Do not chase – Reciprocation is so important, wherever you are in your dating journey. There are so many people out there who are giving 100% to people who aren’t giving 100% back and this is wrong. If your efforts aren’t reciprocated in the early stages, this is a cause for concern because they aren’t likely to be six or twelve months down the line. Dating is all about balance. If you are always communicating first or initiating dates, you will get tired because the level of interest is clearly one sided. Interest is a tricky one because it doesn’t guarantee that you will get the outcome you hope for. Someone might be interested in you but they may not reciprocate your actions at all. This is where discernment comes in. You’ve got to weigh up everything and decide whether it’s worth continuing to date this individual. When the reciprocation levels don’t match up, it’s time to consider either addressing or working on the issue or calling it a day. Remember, relationships are 100:100.
Actions speak louder than words – When you decide to get into the dating scene, you will probably be showered with compliments and sweet nothings. It happens to us all, which is why it’s important to remember that they are just words – they aren’t an indicator as to how someone feels about you. If someone is telling you how much they like you and they only manage to call you once a month, they are just not that into you. Actions are so much more powerful than words. There are a lot of men out there who will use their way with words into keeping women in situations or relationships that they should have exited ages ago. Everyone is different so it’s important to identify your triggers. If this is you, then think about what keeps you in certain situations longer than you should be: it may be a fear of being alone, being hopeful for change even when it’s highly unlikely etc. There are so many factors. Remember that words don’t stand the test of time, actions do.
Enjoy the experience – If you are fixated with having a certain outcome after dates, then you will not enjoy dating. It will feel like a chore to you and you don’t want this. Whenever I’m on Twitter and I see a tweet which goes something along the lines of ‘I only have one more relationship left in me’, I cringe a little. The success of a dating situation or a relationship just isn’t in your hands, you can’t control it. I’ve written a post about this which you can find here. Of course, it’s essential that you know what it is you are looking for in a partner, but not every man you meet will have partner potential. Let things flow. Learn how to let things flow. Get all of those timelines you’ve created out of your head. It’s ok to want a partner or husband and kids (most of us do) but don’t let this become a point of obsession for you. Dating is fun, as it should be, so don’t forget this. Hold on to your standards (what you need, want and expect) and the right relationship will come.
Do not justify red flags – You know what they say: ‘if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…’, so taking the same approach with red flags is a must. Stop ignoring red flags because they never ever go away. Justifying a red flag in the moment may seem like nothing, but over time you will look back and you’ll probably regret your actions. From experience and what I’ve seen and heard, loneliness is one of the main driving forces behind the justification of red flags. If you are questioning your desirability as a woman and potential partner and then wondering why you’ve had so many crappy dates and unfulfilling relationships, then the temptation to have a back-up person around may be there. This is why dating isn’t for the faint hearted because you need to be honest with yourself about the emotions you’re experiencing – if you can’t check in with yourself and review your intentions from time to time, then you shouldn’t be dating anyone. Don’t be the person who only realises what their triggers are six or twelve months down the line (or even later). If you’ve acknowledged that you have a problem with justifying red flags, think about why this may be and also write down your non-negotiables.
If you feel like you need to take time out, just do it – Dating when you feel like you’ve started to get fed up of it all is just going to demotivate you. It was the summer of 2018 when I decided that I couldn’t go on any more dates. I was fed up. I was dating a poor communicator and I had addressed this issue with him, only for it to rear its head again. At this time, I was so sensitive and I was blaming myself for all of my unsuccessful dates so I decided to just be, to have fun and just enjoy life and I have no regrets. I know I always say this but check in with yourself, talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling about your dating experiences. Do not date because you feel you have to, especially if you’re not ready for everything that will come with it: the good, the bad and the questionable.
Educate yourself – When a relationship ends, self-reflection is needed. A lot of people don’t reflect, regardless of whoever ended the relationship. The truth is that there is always something to learn from a failed relationship. Reading articles about different types of relationships or learning more about personal relationships doesn’t make you stupid or weak.
Educating yourself is smart, it’s the right thing to do and you’ll come out 100 times better than before. When I became single in 2016, I came across a TED video called ‘Select the right relationship’ and I could not stop listening to this talk because everything the speaker (Alexandra Redcay) said had me evaluating my relationship: from start to finish.
If videos and articles aren’t your thing then watch a dating show: there are so many out there to choose from such as Love Island, Love Is Blind and even First Dates. If you’ve been single for some time, I definitely recommend watching one of these shows. Yes, they may be partially or fully scripted, but there are many things that can be learnt from an educational perspective.
Crappy communicators should never make it to the ‘first date’ stage – Communication is a basic human skill – don’t date someone who doesn’t know how to communicate. If someone is talking to you one minute and then going cold turkey on you the next, that is not your cue to chase them till the cows come home. Take things as they are, no matter how much you like them. Of course, addressing any issues surrounding communication is something you can do, but if a potential partner is not a consistent communicator, then this isn’t likely to change.
A big issue millennial women are having with dating is a lack of consistency from the men who show them interest. This is how a lot of women fall into the trap of doing the most to get attention from the guy they like. Once what I call ‘crappy communication’ has been identified, you should be planning your exit. In order to get to know somebody properly, a combination of calls and messages are essential. Relying solely on texts and WhatsApp messages in the early stages is incredibly lazy; it shows a lack of effort.
This guide isn’t exhaustive. I just wanted to share a few points with you all and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. If you are single, what’s one dating rule you’ll be abiding by in 2020? If you are in a relationship, what advice would you give to a singleton?
P.S – We all know what’s happening in the world right now and in the UK, the government have advised people to avoid all kinds of social gatherings. Prioritise your health and stay safe xo.