Three Dating and Mating New Year's Resolutions
Are You Tired of Being Single?
Posted Jan 08, 2016
The New Year is here and you’re still single. And you’re not happy about it. And you’ve resolved to do something about it. But what? And how will you keep yourself on track with whatever it is you decide to do?
This, of course, is the single person’s dilemma. Whether you’re looking for casual dating or a lasting romantic connection, it’s hard to find what you’re looking for – even with assistance from dating sites, hookup apps, social media, meddling mothers, well-meaning friends, etc. Much of the time this difficulty arises because you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for in your romantic life. And even if you’re clear about what you want, you might struggle to identify the dates who do and don’t meet your needs.
If the preceding paragraphs resonate with you, the following tips might help.
Tip Number One: Know Your Goals
When I suggest that you need to “know your goals,” I mean you that need to really, truly, deeply, and innately know what it is you’re looking for. If you don’t, you may be able to find some direction by writing down, in very clear language, what you think you might be looking for. Seriously, get out a pen and a sheet of paper and start scribbling. Write. It. Down. There’s something about writing something down and then reading it that provides clarity in a way that merely thinking does not.
You might end up with one very clear goal, or several. Examples include:
- I want to meet my soul mate and have a serious long-term relationship.
- I want to date several different people so I can evaluate what sort of person does and does not match up with me.
- I want to go on a date. Any date. With anyone.
After you’ve written down your preliminary goal(s), ask your friends and family (and your therapist, your 12-step sponsor, your life coach, etc.) for input. These are people who know you well and care about you a great deal, and they may have some useful input. This is especially likely to be the case if you sell yourself short. For instance, the third potential goal listed above will likely garner significant feedback, and hopefully your loved ones will help you amend it to something like, “I want to go on at least a few dates with a nice person with whom I share at least a few important values and interests.”
Tip Number Two: Create Some Personal Boundaries
After delineating a specific goal or goals, many people realize that they are looking for a serious and potentially long-term romantic connection. So they decide to “make it work” with the next person who comes along. Unfortunately, the odds of that person being their soul mate are not good. In fact, he or she may be more frog than prince or princess. If so, there is no reason to continue dating that person. Nevertheless, many single people hoping for Mr. or Ms. Right will stick it out because they struggle to see the obvious red flags. In such cases, a “traffic signals” dating plan, delineated below, can help. (Even if you’re only looking for something casual, these boundaries are quite useful.)
Red Lights: These are traits that are unacceptable in anyone that you might date. If someone displays even one of these traits, you should immediately stop dating that person. For instance, if you’re primary goal for romance is, “I want to be in a monogamous relationship and to eventually get married,” then a few of your red lights might be:
- I will not date a person who is already in a serious relationship.
- I will not date a person who seems more interested in sex than in getting to know me.
- I will not date a person who says that he/she is not looking for a long term connection.
Yellow Lights: These are traits that should cause you to exercise caution in a particular relationship. If someone displays one or more of these traits, you can still date them – after all, nobody is perfect – but you should do so with your eyes open. For instance, if your primary goal is, “I want to date a person who treats me well and is fun to be with,” then a few of your yellow lights might be:
- I will be cautious about a person who is habitually late, especially if he/she doesn’t call to inform me and apologize.
- I will be cautious about a person who doesn’t want to meet my friends, or for me to meet his/her friends.
- I will be cautious about a person who expects me to plan and pay for all of our dates.
Green Lights: These are traits that you find desirable in another person. If someone displays an abundance of these traits, with none of the red light traits and only a few of the yellow light traits that you’ve listed, then you may have a winner. For instance, if your primary goal for romance is, “I want to have fun with a nice person, with both of us keeping an open mind about a long-term partnership,” a few of your green light traits might be:
- I will happily date a person who has lots of different interests, some of which are shared by me.
- I will happily date a person who likes to surprise me with fun dates, notes, texts, or whatever, and enjoys when I do the same for him/her.
- I will happily date a person who willingly provides emotional support when I am having a bad day, and willingly receives emotional support when he/she is having a bad day.
Tip Number Three: Don’t Give Up
Dating is a numbers game. In other words, whatever it is that you’re looking for in your romantic life, you’re almost certain to meet a few losers while you search for it. This is pretty much inevitable. In fact, if you are looking for a life partner, you should expect to have at least one date with as many as 20 or 30 different people before you find your special someone. Sure, you might get lucky on person number 3 or 4, but if you don’t, there’s no reason to get discouraged.
Similarly, if you meet someone that you really like but he or she does not feel the same way, you need to remain in the dating game. Sure, it hurts to get dumped, especially by somebody who seems totally awesome. But dating is a two-way street, and you both need to feel the spark. And why would you want to be with a person who doesn’t like you as much as you like him/her? The good news is that there is a lid for every pot. You are not too old, or too young, or too fat, or too thin, or too anything at all to attract a great person. No matter what your ego tells you, there is someone out there who will find you incredibly attractive and fascinating and sexy and worth loving with all of his or her heart. So don’t get down on yourself no matter what, because somebody out there is searching just as diligently for you as you are for him/her.
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of National Clinical Development for Elements Behavioral Health. In this capacity, he has established and overseen addiction and mental health treatment programs for more than a dozen high-end treatment facilities, including Promises Treatment Centers in Malibu and Los Angeles, The Ranch in rural Tennessee, and The Right Step in Texas. He is also the author of several highly regarded books, including Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Parenting, Work, and Relationships (co-written with Dr. Jennifer Schneider). For more information please visit his website, robertweissmsw.com.