Single Career Girl: 12 Dating Lessons of 2012
In 2012, I ended a year-long relationship and voluntarily returned to the single life. I started dating again by pushing myself out of the house — going to singles parties, speed dating events, and 8 at 8 dinners. I’ve also reconnected with and found new single gal pals to hang out with, and over the past few months, we’ve swapped a lot of stories. I’ve learned many lessons from my own experiences and theirs. Here’s 12 dating lessons I learned in 2012:
- Be openminded. Just because a guy doesn’t meet all of your ten must-haves doesn’t mean it couldn’t lead somewhere. So what if he’s an inch or two shorter than you’d like, or he lives in the suburbs and you live in the city. If you feel something for the guy, give it a chance.
- Overcome the small annoyances. He doesn’t always load the dishwasher right and some of his socks have holes. It’s okay. Breathe. Learn to forgive the little things, and look at the bigger picture. Some issues are deal breakers, but know the difference between a deal breaker and a small annoyance.
- Make time for dating. My friend Jill Jackson, matchmaker and founder of Mingle Around, reminded me to make time for dating. You don’t need to go on several dates a week, but carve out some time to attend a mixer or speed dating event. Make sure you are getting out and meeting other singles, rather than hiding behind work (which we all know is much easier to do).
- Focus less on trying to impress. When I go speed dating or attend mixers, I notice that I put a lot of pressure on myself to impress the guy. I work hard to keep the conversation going and make him more comfortable. In the process, I end up going out with guys who I later realize I’m not all that interested in. If I focus more on getting to know the guy, and focus less on trying to impress, I’ll go on better dates and find better matches.
- Don’t go on dates with guys you definitely aren’t interested in. I see so many women do this — they go on dates knowing they aren’t interested in the guy. I really don’t get this. Don’t use the poor guy for a free dinner. Be honest and only go on a date with someone you’re truly interested in.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to a guy’s face. I’ll admit that I have a problem when I’m out at singles mixers: If a guy is overly aggressive, I don’t quite know how to handle it. I’ve learned to just say no and walk away — even if he pesters you to ask why you won’t go out with him, you don’t owe him an answer.
- It’s better to be single than to be with the wrong person. I so badly wanted my past relationship to last — even though all the signs told me we were incompatible. I battled with myself to change my own opinions and values to better match his. I eventually broke down and realized I just couldn’t. Sometimes you have to accept that it won’t work, even if you love the person.
- You should be comfortable with your partner, his family, and his friends. Okay, so there’s always one or two friends or family members who bother you. But if ALL of them make you feel out of place, and you don’t feel totally at ease with your partner either, he’s not the right guy for you.
- Know what you want. At a certain point, you need to stop and take a look at what has worked for you in past relationships and what hasn’t. What values do you want a partner to have? What have been the red flags you’ve missed in past relationships? Assess what it is that makes you happiest in a relationship, and try to break any bad patterns.
- You can’t change someone. I’ve told you this before in my post on dating mistakes. You can’t change a guy to fit what you want, and you can’t change yourself to fit what he wants. You should love your partner for who and what he is, right now.
- Always make time for your own life and friends. Always make time to be with your friends and do activities you love, even if you’re dating someone. If you’re secure in your relationship, then you know he’ll be there when you get back.
- Make time for yourself. Whether you’re in a relationship or just dating, always make a little time for yourself. I’ve talked about how great it is to do activities alone, and every Career Girl should do it once in awhile. You can’t be your best on a date or in a relationship if you aren’t also taking care of yourself.