I was a serial monogamist, mostly.
When I found myself single again, I decided to date for the sake of dating. I wanted to see the variety of shapes, flavors, and personalities that existed in the dating world.
I threw my name into the online dating hat and I started my adventure.
Mostly, it was fun. After the honeymoon period of sampling the buffet line, I realized I needed a better plan that would include more of what I enjoyed and less of what I didn’t. To make that happened, I had to figure out what I liked and disliked beyond physical and a few intellectual aspects of potential partners.
I remembered a book I read once, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. I needed to date myself. If I didn’t know me, how could I expect anyone else to “get me”? If I didn’t know what I needed and wanted, I’d be kissing too many frogs to find the One.
I remember hating beets when I was a child. Mostly because the only beets served in my home came from a can. As an adult, I remember the first time I had roasted root vegetables that had beets. I feel head over heels in love. I’d never tasted anything like that! How could I be so wrong about something I thought I hated?
Everyone is constantly changing, usually subtly. Think back to a year or ten years ago. Things you liked or disliked then may have evolved. Continually getting to know yourself is key to honing in on what you’re seeking in a potential partner. Plus, it builds confidence, which ups the sexy quotient.
You owe it to yourself to invest in you and have a self-date night. In fact, making self-date night a regular habit is quite healthy.
Plan an evening alone, have an amazing candlelit dinner, perhaps a glass of wine, and ask yourself the same questions you might ask if you were getting to know a potential partner.
Who knows, you may have so much fun you get lucky at the end of the date! Why not make love to yourself? Treat yourself in the bedroom the way you’d expect a partner to treat you, rather than going solely for getting the job done.
Here are 15 questions (and follow-ups) to spark thought and insight about both yourself and, ultimately, who you decide to date:
- If you could do anything for “work”—money or resources were no issue—what would you do? When you were a child, what did you want to do when you “grew up”?
- What is the one thing about you that you wish more people knew? Why don’t they?
- What are you looking for in a relationship? What are the non-negotiables? How do you want to feel each and every day in that relationship?
- What is an ideal relationship and whose responsibility is it to make it happen? What happens when those expectations are not met?
- What do you think is the most important value in a relationship? What are your top three values? (Trust me, most people never examine this!)
- What do you do for fun? Do you prioritize fun?
- What is your favorite month of the year and why? How does that month make you feel? What could you do to make the other 11 months as incredible?
- Is sexual compatibility important to you? If you could travel back through time, what single mistake would you correct in your sexual life?
- If you had six months left to live, what would you do first? Why haven’t you done them?
- If your sex life started getting stagnant, what would you do? How would you be willing to spice things up? How do you communicate what you like or are willing to try?
- Describe your perfect holiday. What could make every day even half that incredible?
- Are you a morning person or a night person? Why? What happens when you are forced to be the opposite?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? What would you expect would be different?
- How do you handle stress and differences of opinion?
- What is the most courageous decision/conversation you’ve yet to make/have with yourself? Why not?
- What would it take to give yourself permission?
These are the questions I asked myself.
And the person who ultimately won my heart probably never would have had a chance had I not done the work of getting to know myself.
For those in a relationship, these questions are equally valuable. Dating never ends, even when you are officially off the market! Curiosity and interest keep a relationship fresh by avoiding the “rut” that can derail relationships. Make dating and getting to know each other a priority. Your relationship will survive the challenging times with greater ease and amplify the great times.
How do you get to know yourself?
Author: Wendy Reese
Editor: Caroline Beaton