Looking for a tip or two on how to tackle the dating scene? Then you’ve probably noticed the onslaught of search engine results when you Google the phrase “dating dos and don’ts.” Yikes! Over 300 million results bombard the computer screen. It seems everyone’s an expert on relationships and human behaviour, or are they? Here, the advice IS coming from actual experts and in this case, six bona fide therapists!
1. DON’T convince yourself you only have one “type.”
DO widen your definition of a compatible mate. Open yourself to the possibility that you can fall in love with someone who doesn’t perfectly meet the criteria that you believe is your ideal or particular “type.”
2. DON’T be overly critical or judgmental.
DO approach others with curiosity, kindness, and compassion. Premature dismissals of someone are a one-way ticket to overlooking a potentially great love match.
3. DON’T come on too strong! Watch yourself for behaviours that could be construed as needy, desperate, unstable, or otherwise undesirable.
DO respect the natural progression of intimacy. Telling a potential mate how much you really, really like them adds a lot of unnecessary pressure! Instead, gradually reveal your inner thoughts, feelings, and personal story starting with light and casual then progressing to deeper, more intimate self-disclosures.
4. DON’T forget the traditional rules of dating.
DO be a gentlemen/lady. Some rules of dating have stood the test of time. Yes, we live in a modern world in which women can pay for themselves and open their own door. Still, it’s nice when the man foots the bill after a dinner date. Likewise, ladies shouldn’t try to be just one of the guys.
5. DON’T be overly influenced by expectations of family and friends such as, “Does she practice the same religion? Is he the same race, or does he have the desired financial/educational status?”
DO find a balance with considering the opinions of others, while staying in touch with your own intuition regarding who is a compatible match for you. When you acknowledge your wants and needs, it’s more likely you’ll land a lasting relationship. Ditch the long laundry list written by everyone else, but you!
6. DON’T get lost talking about yourself and your past, including the mistakes, heartaches, who you were ten years ago or even in your last relationship. When getting to know someone in a new relationship, they want to know who you are today not how you were in a past relationship or lifetime.
DO talk about yourself as who you are today in the present and the values and goals you have for yourself in the future.
7. DON’T monopolise the conversation or make yourself the highlight real, no one healthy or worthwhile being in a relationship with is interested in getting into a ‘couple-ship’ with a narcissist.
DO make the conversation reciprocal, be inquisitive and show your interest in getting to know the other person.
8. DON’T alter who you are to fit what you think your love interest wants/needs. When we alter who we are and portray values that are not our own, we attract people we were never meant to attract, therefore the relationship is doomed before it begins.
DO present yourself authentically. It is much easier than putting forth the energy required to pretend.
9. DON’T complain about your lack of luck with love or blame your city’s [insert city name here] dating scene!
DO keep in mind that dating isn’t easy for anyone, no matter where you live. You can blame your location, the ratio of singles to couples, or even the weather. Bottom line, our attitude is more likely to create opportunities for us. Leave your carry-on luggage packed full of negativity at baggage claim.
10. DON’T stop pursuing new hobbies and other life experiences just because you’ve found a partner. Be cautious of giving up or limiting the time you spend doing things for “you”, whether this be exercise, the beach, reading, cooking, spending time with friends, etc. Finding a romantic connection can be so exciting and exhilarating that it’s easy to lose sight of life before meeting this person.
DO practice balancing “you” time with “couple” time from the very beginning of the relationship. Evaluate each situation and decide when the needs of the couple are a priority and vice versa, decide when your individual needs are a priority.