If you’re a single, heterosexual woman in her 20’s and early 30’s who’s looking for a better way to find true love, you’ve come to the right place! I was once in your shoes. One by one my friends were getting married while I stood by and watched – wondering when (and if!) it was ever going to be my turn. I thought the day would never come. But it did. 😉
“Why Should I Listen to You?”
A date with a guy I really liked wasn’t as big of a dilemma for me as scoring a second or third or fourth date. Oftentimes, after our first date, I never heard from them again. It left me filled with self-doubt. For a while, I believed something was wrong with me. In my eagerness to find my soulmate, I didn’t stay true to myself. Instead, I tried so hard to please in order for them to like me. The disappointment seriously had a negative effect on my mental health.
The good news is that all those years of experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly side of dating did not go to waste. For every failed attempt to find romance, I learned more and more about myself. I noticed a distinct pattern in my approach to dating, i.e. my thoughts and behavior, interactions, and the type of guy I was typically drawn to. Before I knew it, I’d mastered the art of dating in America’s 20’s and 30’s social scene.
So I’m here to share with you what I know to help you find love the healthy way. Keep in mind though that I’m a product of Generation X so if you are a Millenial or Gen Z, my tips may seem antiquated and irrelevant but, overall, the basic ideology of love and romance in our culture translates across all generations.
The Dating Game
Men are natural-born hunters and have been since the early ages of humankind. You can’t break it out of them as it’s an innate part of their genetic make up. While no longer hunting for prey as a means of survival, men still enjoy the thrill of the chase. They will quickly lose interest when you, the object of their desire become an easy catch.
Rule #1: Don’t be at their beck and call.
You want to appear interested yet often unavailable. They’re not a priority yet (they shouldn’t be) and you want to show them you have a life (you should).
Pause … before replying to texts.
Pause … before saying yes to a date.
Pause … before going on a date.
The bottom line is that you want them to think you’re busy, not easy. They will otherwise lose interest.
Rule #2: Don’t meet up on the first date with your beer goggles on.
You want to see them as they really are, without alcohol influencing the way you feel and think about them.
If you want them to like you, you also need to make sure they are seeing you for you, not someone just to have fun with on a Saturday night.
Also, the more aware you are of yourself and your surroundings, the more you can trust your judgment. You’ll be able to tell if you truly like the guy when you’re alert and sober. When you’re buzzed, you could be having fun with them just because they’re there, not because you’re attracted to them.
To play it safe, I suggest that you meet in public on your first date, i.e. coffee or lunch. Keep it casual. No expectations.
Rule #3: Don’t let them know too much about you.
So you’ve had your first date. You learned that you have things in common and are pleasantly surprised how quickly you’ve bonded. There was an instant connection and undeniable chemistry. You’ve developed mutual trust. Now, you feel safe, like you can tell each other anything. Don’t.
As I said, men tend to lose interest pretty quickly. Even though their feelings for you are genuine, their natural instinct is to try to win your affection. Most of the time, they’re not even aware of this. Keep their undivided attention by remaining discreet for a while, at least at this stage of the game, and only divulge your life story a little at a time.
Rule #4: Make them wait.
No hooking up. Even when the chemistry between you two is sizzling hot, don’t give in to the temptation. This is not a popular answer, I know. Back then I couldn’t accept it either but it has been my experience (as well as others’) that having physical intimacy this soon is the fastest way to get your heart broken. Sex can kill any budding romance right from the start, before it can even get a chance to blossom. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. Just wait a while so they don’t grow tired of you.
Don’t go rushing to him whenever you want. Just like what Rule #1 says: Don’t appear so available. You’re busy loving life anyway, right? Well, you should be. 😉 Try to stay busy by doing something that bring you joy, like a favorite activity. Spend time with friends. Work on projects – something fun that will keep your mind preoccupied. Having them wait to hear from you will leave them wanting you more.
Rule #5: Don’t make the first move.
So let’s say you hit it off on your first few dates. He’s interested in you and wants to continue seeing you. Since you like being with him too and can’t wait to see him again, you reach for your phone to contact him even if it’s just to say hi. Don’t. Here’s why:
By contacting them before they contact you, you are taking away their innate need to chase you. It will now become too easy to ghost you when they know they’ve got you. Soon they’ll be searching for a new challenge. However, I’m not saying don’t contact them. I’m saying don’t contact them first. Let them make the first move.
How the Dating Game Can Affect Your Mental Health
We all want love. We all want to be loved. Sometimes, though, in an effort to love and be loved, we lose ourselves. Some of us end up loving too much for our own good. That’s when loving someone can do us harm.
Generally-speaking, guys (who are mentally well) are repelled by women who appear desperate to be with them – even more so when your emotional attachment happens so soon. If you find yourself working too hard to get a guy to notice you, move on. You’re wasting your energy. He’s not the right one.
It also wouldn’t be wise to invest so much of yourself into a relationship that may or may not happen. By doing so, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. Nothing can ruin your mood, self-esteem, and self-image more than the pang of rejection. The more you like the guy, the harder it will hurt and the harder it will be to bounce back. It will also make it that much difficult to love yourself if you’re struggling with that already.
Love, passion and romance as shown on TV and movies do not exist. Their allure is deceptive. The kind of love, passion, and romance that exists in real life is so much more meaningful. The right (and healthy) kind is always worth the wait.
Finally, my biggest take away: Learn to love yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company. When you do, everything will fall into place.