In honor of Valentine’s Day and all the love talk, I thought it would be part enlightening and part hilarious to share some of my dating experiences. I’m not blaming the guys here, either. I’m taking responsibility and going to say I was a bit of a hot mess. Now, that I look back I would love to have a lil sit down with my younger self over a glass of sav blanc and tell her ever so gently, Get your sh*t together, GF.
JK, I’d use my counseling skills and talk to her about building her confidence and learning to love and accept where she was at in life. See, I thought I was soooo behind because I had left a long term relationship that was not fulfilling me any longer after celebrating a milestone birthday. So, I was 30 years old, single, pretty sure I wanted kids at some point and felt the clock ticking. Now, I think-Wow, good for you for not settling and listening to that inner voice that was telling me this relationship is not right for you!
Instead of placing so much of my happiness in a relationship. I’d tell her to explore her passions and enjoy every moment of this independence. Thinking back, if I would have put all the energy I was using to find a date on Saturday night into my career and blog, who knows where I might be now? I am a firm believer that things work out as they are supposed to and I needed all of those lessons in life and love to grow and evolve. They really have made me the person I am today. I realize now much of these lessons had nothing to do with the guys and everything to do with me. They were all building blocks to figure out how to truly fall in love with myself. ♥
And now I can share a little of my journey and hopefully it will resonate with you and help you along yours.
6 Dating Tips
Whatever You Do, Don’t Do this
Get Way Too Tipsy
When I was on the dating scene, Bumble didn’t exist. (I know, I feel ancient) and I wasn’t really into match.com. I think Tinder had just come out so I hadn’t even heard of it, yet. I preferred to meet someone organically…at a bar. Prime location, but this brings with it a bunch of other problems. Number 1 is you may be drinking too much as you try to meet someone who also may be drinking too much. It definitely takes the edge off, but how real is your encounter if you’re both not being your true selves? Not to mention it costs a lot of money and takes a toll on the ‘ol liver. Looking back, I would not make this my sole strategy to meet guys. I would 100% try online dating, be more open to blind dates set up by friends or family and would try to strike up a convo at a coffee shop, the gym etc. Maybe a little awkward, but I feel like the connection could be much more genuine.
Nothing wrong with talking politics or religion to really get to know your date’s values and vibes, but this gets worse. We were talking politics…on a first date…over drinks. This can really kill the mood. At the time, I was a diehard Obama supporter (still am!) and let’s just say he was not. Of course, the drinks did not help, adding to our lack of filters and I was really annoyed by the end of dinner. You can look at this two ways. A. Hey, I learned early on where he stood on some important issues. B. Maybe I should have gotten to know him first and talked about hot topics later, preferably not over drinks.
Food Drinks for thought.
Shop For a Husband
No, no, no. If you go into a date interviewing (or interrogating) him to be your future husband, you’re setting some impossibly high expectations. It’s great to know what you want and to go for it, but you’re also putting an extreme amount of pressure on him and yourself. He will probably sense this and it might kill the chemistry. I would suggest you go into the date with an open mind and let it flow. Of course, after you’ve gotten past the appetizer and let’s say maybe 3 dates, then bring up the fact that you’re looking for something serious.
Read Through The Lines
Or in this case, read through the text messages. I’m just going to say it upfront. STOP making excuses and justifying his damn behavior. Well, maybe he’s really busy with work so he didn’t get back to me. You know, he did say he had family in town. He’s out with his old college buddies. It’s okay he blew me off again. It’s not okay. I was talking to a guy who was the Texting Master. He was constantly texting me asking how my day was, making small talk, saying we should get together, blah, blah, blah. The problem was when it actually came to making plans, he’d almost always break them. He’d give some lame excuse about working late, being stressed at work etc. I didn’t know him all that well, so I believed him.
Key lesson here is to believe their actions over their words.
Needless to say, I held out for awhile on this one because we had a lot of fun on the dates we did go on. In the end, after I flipped out for feeling like he was stringing me along, he FINALLY admitted that an ex had come back into the picture and he apologized for keeping me on the back burner. Listen to your intuition/common sense ladies. If you feel like you’re not a priority, move on. I read the book based on the movie, He’s Just Not That Into You. Best advice in the dating world. If he or she wants to see you, hang out or get to know you, they will make it happen. Simple as that.
Honesty Really Is the Best Policy
It sucks to hurt someone’s feelings. I totally get it. I was actually the queen of this. If I went out with a guy on a first date and just wasn’t feeling the chemistry, I didn’t have the courage to come out and say that. Instead, I would make up excuses when he would ask me out for a second date. Looking back, I should have just told them the truth, it’s so much more respectful. So nice meeting you, but I don’t see this working out. It’s short and kinda sweet. Most importantly, it saves everyone time wondering where they stand and you trying to dance around the truth.
Fall In Love With Yourself
Ughhh, I invested waaay too much time, energy and tears into going out and meeting a guy. In hindsight, I wish I would have invested that time into myself-my passion projects, getting a killer body, taking up new hobbies, focusing on my career etc.
What I know now is that love will find you when the timing is right. As hard as that is to accept. I know, patience is a damn virtue. Yes, you have to be open to love, but you can’t force it. Well, you can if you want to settle. Here’s the secret–If you focus on your personal development and do a lil soul searching, you will start attracting the right kind of people into your life. As you bring to the surface anything that may be (consciously or subconsciously) holding you back and work through the issues, you will become more confident and more at peace. This will begin to raise your energy and you will just be happier overall. As you know when you meet a new dating prospect, someone who radiates confidence and is passionate about their life is so attractive. Rediscover what a badass babe you are and fall in love with yourself. Everyone else will be sure to take notice.
Wondering how my story ends? Well, I was living in downtown Chicago at the time of my dating escapades. Let me tell you- any city girl can attest to the fact that dating in a big city is brutal-a lot of competition and a lot of people not wanting to really settle down. I finally hit my breaking point after going on a vacation to California and reflecting on how I was living my life in a really unhealthy way. I saw this necklace that said Have Faith and I bought it as a reminder that a relationship would come when I was truly ready. I went back home, feeling motivated and got a 2nd job, so I’d quit going out so much. I tried becoming a leasing agent because I thought it would be fun. One of my first clients was a guy who was relocating to Chicago from Austin. We spent 5 hours together that first day looking at apartments and even grabbed lunch. He talked a lot, so I really got to know him. I have to admit I felt some sparks that first day and he made me laugh so hard. But he was my client! Was this even okay? I found him an adorable 1 bedroom with a view of the lake. He was my first deal I closed! (Ok, and my last) We continued to hang out, I showed him around the city and we fell in love. I ended up moving into that cute little 1 bed about 2 years later and the rest is history… ♥