Let’s be real. Putting yourself out there romantically can be, well, a little scary. Being vulnerable in a dating situation doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In fact, it can seem quite overwhelming, especially if you’ve been single for a while or just got out of a serious relationship.
What you need to remember though, is dating is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience, not an over complicated one.
Personally, settling down with a husband and kids (and a mortgage) seems like something in my distant future, but that doesn’t mean dating is off the cards in the meantime. The reality is, if you’re looking for something more long term romantically, then navigating the dating world is pretty much inevitable for you too. (Unless life gives you one of those movie meet-cutes and you magically begin Falling Inn Love… But we have a better chance of winning the lottery, am I right?).
So how do we navigate singleness?
We all have different ideas about what it means to be single. We are also at different places depending on our age and lifestyle. Some of you have had a broken heart or two already, others may not have even been in a relationship before (or maybe dating isn’t a priority for some of you at all?). Wherever you’re at, something has brought you here to be reading this right now, so there’s most likely a part of you that’s at least thinking about dating.
For some, being single is a time when you may feel like you need to work on yourself. Whether it’s to do with your studies, career goals, or a harsh break up, there’s nothing wrong with pulling the breaks; these things take time to navigate through. Perhaps this time could be your chance to work on being more comfortable and confident in being ‘alone’.
For others, perhaps you’re ready to date. Maybe you even desire an exclusive relationship to arise from dating. This is a state where you’re in a good position emotionally and ready to be vulnerable and open with another person romantically, with the hope of it going somewhere. (If this is where you’re at, it might be time to get back out there!).
‘Loneliness’ and being ‘alone’: There’s a difference.
PSA: You can 100% feel happy, fulfilled and complete being single! In fact, it’s really empowering when you’re content and sure of yourself, before you let someone else in. If you’re content within yourself, you won’t be seeking the validation from another, and therefore in a stronger place emotionally to deal with the ups and downs of dating when the timing is better, and enjoy it a lot more as a result.
When dating with the prospects of a relationship in mind, chances are you will be most successful when you’re at this level of emotional readiness.
Take note of the ‘red flags’.
These translate differently for everyone. A red flag could be something as obvious as being quick to anger, or something as small as subtle jealousy. It’s up to you to determine whether or not these are deal breakers. After all, if you desire a relationship, noting any red flags and getting to the bottom of whether or not they’re too much for you can save a whole lot of heartache down the track.
Your definition of a ‘red flag’ might not be the same as someone else’s.
If alarm bells are ringing for you, and you discontinue dating, you’re actually indirectly helping them find the right person to date too. So instead of worrying about letting them down, or dating them just for the sake of it, take action so you can both move forward.
Guard your heart.
Not getting overly emotionally invested too quick is especially important to do when you’re just getting to know someone. In the early stages, remember you’re still sussing the other person out, and they may very well be doing the same to you. In fact, when dating with the goal of entering into an exclusive relationship, you both should be intentional with this if you’re genuinely looking for a good match.
Resilience, confidence and honesty can go a long way.
These qualities will really have a positive impact in your dating life. With this, not only will your prospective dates be more intrigued by you, but you’ll be able to get the most out of dating with a greater chance of finding the match for you.
Ultimately though, the way you value dating really comes down to your own mindset and your approach; everyone will navigate dating differently. But, being content with yourself in singleness first, and not settling for anything less than you deserve, will set you up in a way that when the right person comes along, you won’t need to question it.
Feature Image Via: PsyCat Games(Creative Commons licence approved)