I have dated, lots. In many different ways. Speed, blind, online…and regular old meet-at-a-party (or baggage claim, or the laundromat). I’ve had a drink with more complete strangers than I care to remember. It took me a long time, and boatloads of meshugenah to find my long-term guy, because I was making a sh*t ton of mistakes along the way. So many, I spent a year studying and taking expert dating advice to rectify the situation.
And so I present, after years of trial, error (and study!) ten things not to do if you want a BF anytime soon. (Note: if you’re not looking for a relationship, feel free to disregard and go get your swerve on).
1) Spend hours texting/Gchatting/talking to some dude you never see - One time, I thought this guy was kinda sorta my special someone because we had regular marathon phone seshes laden with laughs and sweet compliments. Not so. You know what we didn’t have? Dates. Face time. Anything beyond a mutual, at-a-safe-distance crush we nursed like teenagers (while living ten blocks from each other). Beware of guys who aren’t chomping at the bit to see you. You may feel a virtual emotional connection, but that things’s about as strong as a one-ply napkin in Al Roker’s underpants.
2) Answer that ‘Sup Text: You know the one that comes on Friday night; first cousin of the “U still up” at 2 am text, missive which took less time to type than it’s author’s last nose-picking session? Yeah, THAT. In the early stages, one word pinging (especially last-minute or late), is for hooking up, or chasing away boredom. It’s not for guys who are serious about you as a potential girlfriend. We often fool ourselves it’s something else, and/or can grow into something else. Maybe, but it rarely does. Except more “hey u” and “R u out” missives. If you can’t resist the lure of an instant communication sesh, be prepared: frustration ahead. Maybe not now, but soon-ish. When you can’t figure out what he wants, what he means, where he’s coming from, what he’s up to…
3) Keep Exes in your Life - Let’s face it: being “friends” with your ex usually means “pretending to hold it together because I don’t want to feel the crushing loneliness of not having him in my life anymore.” But ya gotta. If not, you’ll stay stuck in the past, may hook up again, adding confusion and regret to an already focacta emotional cocktail, and won’t be available for other guys (ones who could be right for you). Cut the cord, chicas.
4) Complain about “the scene” - All the good ones are taken (or gay), guys have too many options, blah blah. It’s not the scene, banana head! It’s about you, taking responsibility for the love life you’ve created.You can have what you truly want, but take a look and get real honest with yourself: are your choices lined up with that? Or something else?
5) Refuse to be set up, try online dating or date against “type” - Do you want a great boyfriend more than anything but aren’t open to new ways of making that happen? Enjoy that one-way trip to Singletown. Put aside whatever judgment you may have about non-traditional methods and try them. Go out with guys who are a little more square, or skinny, or creative than your usual “type.” What have you got to lose? Except another wine-soaked girl’s night or lone, wistful viewing of The Holiday?
6) Re-date the same guy: You broke up, remember? There was a reason. Write it down. Unfriend, unfollow and delete him. Ask your friends to kick your hiney (then sleep over) if you drunk text him (so you don’t freak and text him again in the am). There’s no reason for you to still be in contact. Or catch up. Or have “just one drink.” Or hook up. It may satisfy some craving in the short term but that shit is no fun when you don’t hear from him, or stay text-entangled for months and realize (AGAIN) you have no future.
7) Be oblivious to your patterns: Y’know how they say you shouldn’t be allowed to eat in a restaurant unless you’ve been a waiter? Same here. You shouldn’t be allowed to date anyone else until you’ve realized how YOU contributed to your last relationship not working out. What patterns/habits did you bring? (Hint: what patterns/habits do you always bring?) If you haven’t spent some QT reflecting on how it usually goes for you – what type of guys you date, what they have in common, how it starts, how you behave when things go south, how it ends – you haven’t done the work. How can the next one be different if you’re clueless why things always go the way they do? You are the common denominator. Figure out why.
8) Take on a project - A.k.a. sticking around for the potential. He’s oh-so-cute, laid-back, sweet. Also, either: unreliable, in and out of communication, penniless, much younger and less established, living with his parents, not looking for anything serious, not sure he ever wants to get married…Still, you keep seeing him. Because he’s cute. And not mean. And he could be so much more. Hey, he could turn out to be the next Richard Branson. More likely? He’ll stay the same and you’ll push/wait/loan money/wait/hope he comes around/wait/feel let down. Not sexy.
9) Obsess over someone from your past: Picture it: you’ve been broken up for months, nay, years, and you still can’t shake the dude. You’re not re-dating, in fact, you haven’t been in touch for a very long time. But you Google stalk him, wonder if he’s “the one that got away,” compare every other guy you date to him. You’ve got two choices: either take charge of rekindling things or LET IT GO. Hanging out in this middle obsessive ground is no bueno for you.
10) Fast-tracking Sexy Time - Oy. Ladies, memorize this: Find out if the guy wants what you want (exclusive relationship, every other Friday bonk, swinging singles group) BEFORE YOU SLEEP WITH HIM. Wait at least 3-5 dates. Don’t do the deed just because (especially not if) he’s the hottest guy you’ve been out with, you don’t want him to lose interest, you want to find out more about him…etc. Have sex after you have the 411 you need to know if there is future potential.
Sarah Showfety is a New York-based life coach, speaker and author of Dating by the Books: One Blundering Singleton's Search for Love in the Self-Help Aisle. An avid fan of Tostitos, cheese and the Snuggie, she'll travel just about anywhere you invite her. After years of bad jobs and silly dating shenanigans, she got hitched and founded Straight Up You to help women create careers and relationships that rock. Connect with her on Twitter @straightupyou or on Facebook.
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