From Anxiety to Zen

Getting you on the other side of anxiety

16 Dating Lessons for Single Women

Dating tips to get on the right side of healthy relationships.

1. Being single doesn’t always mean lonely and relationship doesn’t always mean happy.

2. People reveal themselves within 15 minutes on average. Watch and listen. You don’t need to spend a lot of time with every new prospect, you just need to pay attention. Go with your gut, and remember we communicate more via actions than words. So that new guy mentioned he’s super busy at work? Ask yourself “why is he telling me this now?” Read between the lines. If he’s not running the free world, workload shouldn’t be an excuse to cancel plans. We all make time for who’s important in our lives. Period.

3. You don’t need to tell very much of your story in the beginning. We’ve all experienced the dread of premature disclosure (giving up too much too soon). If he’s a keeper, he’ll accept you as is. Never -- EVER -- be ashamed of who you are, and where you’ve been.

4. If you’re not planning on a second date, woman up, and be honest, already. Rejection that comes from a sincere place is far easier to digest than promises you have no intention of keeping.

5. Know when he’s texting more for his benefit than yours. People with low self-esteem often have loose boundaries around time and communication. Discern the difference between, “I’m waiting out front” from the incessant and needy communications that scream, I’m not going to wait on you to get my needs met. You will not ignore me! It takes a lot of energy to constantly stop what you’re doing to check messages.

6. There’s nothing wrong with being helpful and reliable; however, signing up for tasks you don’t have the time or energy for will leave you feeling resentful. Plus, if he’s already asking you to attend his cousin’s wedding in Maine, this should be a red flag.

7. Meeting for coffee is almost always your best bet for a first date.

8. If a guy only hangs out with you when you plan and initiate everything -- get out --he’s lazy and you’re not desperate.

9. Wanting to look good is fine, but if you depend on makeup, Maybelline could sabotage the relationship down the road. Case in point: While at the store recently I overheard a guy say to his friend: “I really like her, but I went to bed with one woman last night and woke up to a different one this morning. I didn't realize how much make-up she wears. It's scary, actually.” Don’t be that gal.

10. If a date makes you feel bad about yourself when you’re together, he’s not worth it.

11. Compile a list of what you're looking for in a potential partner. List your top ten qualities and your top ten deal breakers. Having clear values helps you choose wisely.

12. If you’re wondering how much he makes, whether he wants to get married, or if he wants or already has kids, keep it on the down low. Nothing screams emotional starvation like the sixth degree on the first date.

13. Don’t complain about your ex. This one’s a no-brainer, but people still do it every single date. Vague responses such as, “We grew in different directions,” or “We weren’t compatible” suffice when the topic arises.

14. Pay attention to how he treats and tips the wait staff at restaurants. This shows more about his character than his relationship with money.

15. Leave Freud at home. Talking about your therapy early on may cause him to run for the hills. It’s great to focus on personal development and all, but he may not care about the latest developments in mindfulness and anxiety interventions. Some relationships are meant to remain confidential.

16. Remember you’re single for a reason. For some, this warrants a visit to #15, for others it’s a chance to recover and heal. You can complain that your friends are heading to the alter, or lament that you’re newly divorced at 45, or you can enjoy singledom. It's not about chasing perfection, or comprimising your standards, but choosing the right Mr. Right.

 

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Linda Esposito, LCSW is a psychotherapist helping adults and teens overcome stress and anxiety.

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