You’re only holding yourself back.
I had to write this article because I’m getting mad about how people are dating in their quest to find a long-term relationship.
Something is in the air and completely off about the way we are approaching and handling the process.
I had to put pen to paper (actually I mean fingers to keyboard) to get this off my chest and have an honest and open discussion about what is possibly holding you back in the way you date and approach love.
I’m writing this with your best intentions and not as a way to scold you but to help you along. I get so mad when I see others repeat dating mistakes I’ve made and I don’t want you to waste your time, body, or soul on unworthy people.
Okay, soul might be a bit exaggerative, but now that I got your attention, let’s proceed with this conversation.
1. Wasting time on unavailable people.
Forget this timing thing. Yes, there are people you will meet at the wrong time. You’re in a relationship. They’re in a relationship. They are married. They’re separated from their spouse and trying to figure it out. They aren’t ready to settle down yet.
Yes, I get all of these things, but they all mean the same thing. And I just want you to remember this one thing. Time is a commodity you can’t get back. And you are losing time, lots of it unnecessarily when you waste time on someone you can’t be available to you in the way you need them to be.
So, please stop focusing on those who aren’t able to be what you need when you need it. Let them go. The more energy, time, and effort you waste on them, the more it prevents you from moving forward.
And I love this quote that I saw, “Sometimes being single is the upgrade.” Remember that, hold your head high, and walk away from what doesn’t serve you well.
2. Jumping into bed too soon.
Stop having sex with any and everybody and so soon. Back in the day, men had to earn their way into bed with you. They had to court you. They were about impressing you and when other guys were competing for you, it added to your value and them wanting you even more. They didn’t back off, they upped their game.
Now, I realize that we aren’t in the 1940’s or 1950’s and it’s like 2018, but I really don’t care. Because sex is so readily available in every type of form, and access is so easy, it’s become under-appreciated and totally taken for granted. Hook-ups are so random and so frequent that the men I coach say that getting in bed with someone within the first hours, days, or weeks and getting oral appreciation has become the new norm.
You know how it is when you can have something all of the time: it becomes less desired. I think that is why it is so hard for people to settle down. It becomes about what is next versus what is available and in front of you.
Now I’m all about you getting your freak on when appropriate, but some kind of reset needs to happen. Value your body and who you share it with. And I’m talking about guys too. It needs to happen with both sexes. More doesn’t always equate to better and sometimes too much sex can mute out your ability to have a real connection with someone.
3. Fall for lines.
For example, “I want to give you a massage.” Ladies this one is for you. Please don’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe. If you don’t know if it this is code for I want to have sex with you. Now if that is what you want to do, fine, but go into it eyes wide open and if you aren’t trying to have sex then depend on your massage therapist until you decide you want to sleep with that person.
4. Settling for being someone’s option instead of their priority.
“I like you but…..” But what? Whenever someone ends a sentence with but after telling you like you, they are telling you they don’t like you enough. And you are too valuable and too worthy for this type of chatter. Don’t limit your options for someone who isn’t willing to make you their main option.
5. Not changing things up.
Stop sticking to your same method of dating activities. Are you stuck on a dating app? Only going to that same bar, restaurants, or clubs?
If you want to meet someone, I’m going to encourage you to do something simple. Do the things you enjoy. Yep, get in touch with who you are and activities that make you happy. When you are happier you are sexier and more attractive to others. The only caveat is that if your activities are centered on activities where you are constantly at home or doing things that don’t give you access to other people, expand your horizons.
Go out alone sometimes. It’s easier to be approached when you are on your own versus with your entourage. Or approach someone you’re interested in and offer a compliment. You just never know on this one because sometimes — wait for the shocker — someone may actually think you are out of their league and are glad you took the first step to talk to them. Approaching them first eases the tension and is a bold move that is often respected.
6. Exclusively dating a “type.”
Do you have a type? Yes, I know you do. Most of us do. Is he or she hot, blonde, brunette, a red-hair, muscular, funny, a great dresser and witty too? I’m positive that they must have all if not 99% of these qualities. Now here is my next question, how has dating your type been working for you? How have your past relationships gone when you have pursued your type?
Dating smart is all about getting out of your comfort zone. And it means being open to those who may show up in your life who aren’t necessarily your type.
The universe is funny and you will be tested on this one. Sometimes what you need in a SO (significant other) will show up in a package that looks completely different from what you expected or would have wanted. Throw out your “My Type List” and focus instead on who the person is and how they fit into your life.
7. Planning ahead.
If you are that person that has to figure out everything about your relationship and you attach easy or fall in love quickly with those you date, this advice is specifically for you.
Learn to go with the f-l-o-w. The best relationships happen spontaneously and aren’t over-thought out. Go on a date. Enjoy yourself. Relax and be in the moment. Let things evolve naturally between the two of you. When someone says they like you, let it play out and if you like them back that is cool too. But, please stop going overboard in the beginning and don’t try to figure everything out within a couple of dates. Love takes time.
8. Talk too much.
Observe more than you talk. It’s exciting when you meet someone you like. It’s like a jolt of adrenaline and can leave you feeling like a love junkie. But, before you get caught up, chill the heck out.
This is what I want you to do instead. Observe the person. Ask lots of questions. Get to know what is important to them. Figure out if you two are on the same page. Look beyond what is obvious. Are they are a good person? Do they treat you well?
It’s weird, but often we are way more judgmental when someone is real with us right out of the gate and they are genuinely nice, but we will justify and make excuses for jerk behavior all day long. It’s almost like we are conditioned to accept bad behavior over good behavior. Embrace the nice guy/girl and take stock when someone interested in you has genuinely good traits and is consistently demonstrating them for you.
9. You think they will treat you differently.
If I had a $.25 for every person who I have coached or talked about a relationship and said that even though they had a bad history with their exes they were going to treat a new relationship differently, I would be Warren Buffett’s bestie.
What is strange about people is that if you listen carefully, they will tell you exactly who they are as a person. Believe them! If they say they tend to have a hard time committing, it’s probably true. If they tell you, they like to keep their options open, then they probably do.
If you ask the right questions and listen carefully, it’s likely that they will tell you what happened in their past relationships or else there will be clear hints. If there are a string of exes and there is a consistency of broken, tormented, and crazy women/men in their past, this is your big red flag. Seriously, you and I have probably had a bad relationship or two, but if there is the consistency of three or more similar relationship scenarios that ended badly for them, you need to head in the other direction. History has a strange way of repeating itself, especially in relationships.
10. You think what you see on social media with other couples is real and compare yourself to them.
First of all, no matter how great a relationship is, every relationship has some challenges. It’s inherent because we are human and imperfect which naturally carries over to our relationships with others. Secondly, most couples are going to share the happy moments of their relationships. It’s a societal thing and most of the time when we share with others and what others to look at us admiringly. We’re kinda ego-driven in that way.
So knowing this, please stop comparing your relationship and having social media envy of others because the reality is you just never know what happens between two people. Instead, focus on finding and developing a relationship that has dynamics which meet your needs. I promise you it will make you happier and it will help you to have a better relationship when you focus on works for you and your significant other.
If you are making any one of these 10 dating mistakes, you aren’t alone. We have all made them. The important thing is to self-correct now that you know better. Doing so will help you date smarter and more importantly focus your energy on connecting someone in which you can build something authentic and long-lasting.
Elizabeth is often referred to as the ‘relationship whisperer.’ She is an author, speaker, and relationship coach. She coaches women and men to have healthy, fulfilling, and loving relationships. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
This article was originally published at Elizabeth Overstreet. Reprinted with permission from the author.