Changing up our diet is great, but our dating habits need some updating for the new year too.
The coming of a new year will always inspire in us a sense of it’s time for the new me. We desire to feel like we’re moving forward, becoming our best selves, and maturing. More often than not, we’ll turn to a new gym membership, a wardrobe update, a fresh haircut, or swearing off added sugars. We promise ourselves we’ll cut out all of our bad habits and replace them with good ones.
The habits that are always neglected, however? Our dating habits. We assume if we just keep looking, swiping, or hoping, we’ll eventually bump into the one, like it’s a numbers game. But what if it’s not? What if, just like with our mild addiction to sweets, our dating habits are hurting us more than we realize?
There’s no better time than the new year for a reality check. Here are some dating habits we can all kiss goodbye in 2022.
1. Always Making the First Move
The early days of a budding romance always involve each party dropping little hints, letting the other know we’re on the same I like you page. But in more recent years, more young women have felt coaxed into making the first move, so as to signal independence.
It’s still true that women generally like being pursued by a man they’re interested in.
While some women might enjoy being in the driver’s seat, it’s still true that women generally like being pursued by a man they’re interested in – and we’re not weak or unempowered because of it. If we’re always making the first move, then we’re bound to wonder if the guy was ever interested enough in the first place.
2. Getting Intimate Quickly
We live in an age that’s obsessed with instant gratification, and often regard intimacy as the quickest and simplest way to gain a man’s loyalty – as well as have fun along the way. We assume that, by rushing to the finish line, we’ll entice him to stay and care for us. Plus, sex is supposed to be exciting and empowering.
But the unfortunate truth of this approach is that it rarely goes according to plan, and often leaves us feeling taken advantage of. Intimacy is special, but it’s best experienced within the context of commitment, trust, and love that’s already lasted.
This way, we keep our judgment free of premature bonding to a man who’s shown zero signs of actual commitment or interest beyond our bodies. When it comes to new relationships, developing intimacy doesn’t even need to involve sex.
3. Being Afraid To Ask for Exclusivity
Ah, the dreaded “What are we?” talk. We’ve been told that asking a man this question too early will scare him off or make us seem controlling and insecure. We wonder where he sees the relationship going, but we keep quiet and just hope he’s on the same page.
It isn’t selfish, old-fashioned, or insecure to want a guy who only wants to be with us.
Can I tell you something? You’re worth exclusivity. It isn’t selfish, old-fashioned, or insecure to want a guy who only wants to be with us. If he’s not interested in that kind of relationship, then we should consider ourselves lucky for not wasting more time. The next time we initiate the “What are we?” conversation, we can see it as us owning our worth and should feel no shame.
4. Trying To Change Him
Relationships are made up of two individuals with different desires, passions, and purposes. While there’s a basic amount we need to agree on in order to be in a relationship with someone, there’s no chance we’ll ever find someone whose habits, opinions, temperament, or wishes totally mirror ours.
We sometimes think the best way to fix this issue is to change him – to mold him into the guy we want him to be. But this is flawed thinking, and only leads to his frustration and our unhappiness when he won’t just morph for us.
The truth is, while relationships do encourage us to change, we ultimately only have control over what we change about ourselves, not someone else, even if that change would be healthy for them. If we enter a relationship with a checklist of what we’ll get him to alter for us, it won’t last.
5. Putting In All the Effort
Romance feeds off a give and take – a dance between two people who both want to love the other well. But sometimes, it seems like guys are unaware of this dynamic and leave it all up to us to do the grunt work.
It’s frustrating to feel like we’re the only one who initiates anything, whether it be dates, kisses, gifts, back rubs, or long talks. We need to know that we’re appreciated and sought after, otherwise, we’ll want to find that feeling somewhere else.
We need to know that we’re appreciated and sought after.
If putting in all the effort has been an issue, open up to your guy about it – let him know that feeling pursued and loved by him is important to you, and be specific about what would make you feel loved instead of expecting him to just know.
6. Expecting Him To Put In All the Effort
Conversely, it’s possible that we’ve been letting our guy take the reins a little too often – expecting him to always text first, plan every date, and surprise us with flowers without ever stopping to think what he might like to be surprised with.
Relationships only work well when both parties are committed to making the other feel loved. Instead of taking an approach that relies on our guy being the only initiator, we can offer up the sort of effort and attentiveness that we appreciate getting from him.
7. Being Overly Critical or Controlling
If it hasn’t happened already, one day, our guy will leave us feeling unsatisfied with his actions. He’ll leave a mess in the kitchen or forget we planned to go to the movies or consistently neglect to do something we’ve reminded him of thousands of times.
Criticism is an unavoidable part of life, but even so, no one rejoices at the thought of being criticized. And even worse, we often go about offering our guy criticism with sarcasm, sharpness, or an attitude – we tell ourselves, he should know this already.
Being overly critical or controlling of him will lead him to reject and ignore our words.
Being overly critical or controlling of him will lead him to reject and ignore our words. There will always be something he does that annoys us, but it’s in our best interest to pick our battles (meaning not every annoyance needs criticism) and learn how to give him negative feedback without hurting his feelings.
8. Not Taking Advice from Friends and Family
No one knows our relationship like we do. We know firsthand the ups and downs, the unique challenges, and the best parts of our relationship with our guy. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that we won’t always see things for what they are when we’re in love.
Generally speaking, when our friends or family express concern about our relationship, it’s worth mulling over. They may have the ability to see our relationship’s toxicity in a way we can’t or have more life experience than we do. Their advice won’t always be helpful or legitimate, but for our own well-being, we should take a second look if they ever tell us they’re worried or uneasy.
9. Lowering Your Standards To Fend Off Loneliness
Loneliness can be one of the most painful feelings – it causes us to wonder if there’s something wrong with us, if we’re inherently unlovable, and if we’ll ever find our someone. Often, feeling utterly alone is enough to get us to lower our romantic standards and date someone we wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
Relying on a guy who doesn’t meet our basic standards only solidifies our loneliness.
It’s tempting to fill the empty space of our lives with a guy who’s at least willing to be there, but it’s fruitless in the end. Relying on a guy who doesn’t meet our basic standards only solidifies our loneliness, essentially convincing ourselves we had no chance of finding anyone as we were. If we hold out for the right guy and invest in ourselves, our friendships, and our relationships with family while acknowledging our loneliness as the season we’re in, our future selves will thank us.
10. Only Going After Your “Type”
Most of us have somewhat of a type – maybe we like our guys tall or brown-eyed or freckled. We might find ourselves typically chasing after extroverted, funny guys, or maybe we like the brooding, bleeding-heart artistic types. After dating enough of a similar sort of guy, we come to discover our type and cling to it, white-knuckled.
It’s not immoral to go after a certain type, but holding ourselves and the guys we date to strict criteria can hold us back – especially if our “type” is a guy that’s typically teeming with red flags. We might surprise ourselves when we find ourselves falling for a guy unlike any other we’ve ever dated.
It can be rough out there in the dating world. But taking a closer look at our bad dating habits, and making a commitment to ourselves to change them, can help us find more luck in love in 2022.
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