“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
For some, dating and relationships can be like searching for buried treasure on the ocean floor surrounded by blood-thirsty sea creatures. While you’re eager to claim the waiting riches, you don’t want to be eaten alive.
Dating can be scary. The scene can be pretty rough, especially if you’ve been out of the game for a while. Coupled with a boat full of self-esteem issues, soul-crushingly bad dating or relationship experiences and the ever-present fear of rejection and you can find yourself adrift, swimming alone in the dating scene’s predator-infested waters.
The rewards can outweigh the risks by a lot, and the ultimate reward – meeting that person with whom you’re meant to spend the rest of your life – is, to many, worth the risk. Fear not, however. There’s help for the unlucky in love. Here you’ll find a list of things that may help you navigate those choppy relationship waters.
- YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO DATE
If you’re older than 35 and believe you’re too old to reenter the dating scene, I’ll ask you to take a moment. Look in the mirror. Raise your right hand. Now, slap the right side of your face. REALLY HARD. Do it again. That’s a good shot. Your age is an advantage, not an impediment. If you’re healthy, have a healthy self-image and aren’t the pimple-faced teen or self-involved jerk you may have been in your 20s then you’re in excellent shape. Your age shouldn’t be a factor. Don’t spend your time moping around your house because you’ve been single for a while and are convinced there isn’t anyone for you. Dating is for EVERYONE, regardless of age, including you!
- CONFIDENCE IS SEXY
Confidence (not to be confused with arrogance) is important. If you’re arrogant, potential partners will see you as either a jerk or snob, or both, or something else entirely. When it comes to dating many men and women respond to confident, self-assured and assertive partners. Don’t be a shrinking violet. Be proud of yourself and let the dating world know you’re a force to be reckoned with.
- BEAUTY IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP
Beauty, or attractiveness, is more than mere appearance, more than a pretty or handsome face and a well-toned body. Pretty faces and ugly personalities equal a losing proposition for a potential partner. If you’re a beautiful person on the inside, assert your beauty. It will show on the outside in the way you carry yourself and the way you treat others. Don’t be sad if you aren’t magazine beautiful or male model handsome. You’re beautiful the way you’re designed.
- IMPERFECTION IS PERFECT
Television and magazines sell a specific, management-approved, largely Photoshopped image of so-called perfection. If you lack self-confidence and believe there is a single, socially approved brand of perfection, you may come to believe everything about the partner of your dreams has to be perfect. Don’t fall for that. Perfect is in your perception of it. Flaws can be cute and irresistible, too.
- PLAYING THE GAME
Dating can be fun. While it’s important to treat it as business, it’s still possible to have fun doing it. Like many games, if you can’t see the fun in it, if you treat it completely seriously all the time, it can become tedious and uninteresting. Enjoy yourself.
- HARD WORK NEVER KILLED ANYONE
Though dating and, later, relationships can be fun, they need work. Entering a relationship thinking it will sustain itself is a mistake. Relationships require trust, communication and compromise. Flexibility is key. Routine maintenance keeps the relationship running.
- VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
The same song and dance can get old quickly. Dating requires creativity. Don’t be afraid of spontaneity. Shake things up a bit. Be adventurous. It doesn’t always have to be dinner and a movie. There are lots of activities for you to try with a partner. Learning something new together can be fun.
- LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX BABY
Dating and sex don’t necessarily equal a relationship. When dating, clearly state your priorities. Ask questions. Do some research. Sex can make or break any relationship, serious or otherwise. Sex is a high priority for some. For others, not so much. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
- KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM
You may discover your partner is “the one.” It’s relationship time! Whether it’s during an afternoon stroll or while sharing a good, side splitting, laugh, it can come at any time, that feeling in your gut that you’ve found your partner. Now the work begins. Remember rules 4,6 and 7.
- KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ‘EM
You may also discover your partner ISN’T “the one”. Maybe he keeps leaving the seat up. Perhaps she saws logs when she sleeps. Whatever the case, you know things aren’t going well and this one isn’t a keeper. Dating isn’t a contract. You aren’t required to stay when things aren’t working. It’s good to know when to cut your losses.
- AND WHEN TO WALK AWAY
Break-ups are never easy. They are, however, occasionally necessary. Perhaps you’ll remain friends. Keep your options open. Explore yourself. Travel. Assess your strengths, weaknesses and figure out what you can do differently on your next date.
- MIND YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Someone said, “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people.” The same goes for dating. Good dates and, eventually, healthy relationships require good models. It’s a good idea to keep company with couples in healthy relationships. Negative people usually create negative outcomes, especially in relationships. Steer clear of people who enjoy undermining you, your partner or your relationship.
Dating isn’t as scary as you may think. Positive thinking, self-esteem, humility and a sense of adventure can help you on your path to finding Mr. or Ms. Right. Now grab your diving gear and jump in!