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There was a long time when I didn’t really date.
Nearly five years, to be exact.
There was the occasional date here or there, and the unexpected guy who showed up and grabbed my attention. But it didn’t last long, for one reason or another.
For the most part, I wasn’t dating. I was painfully and undeniably single.
I couldn’t understand at the time why I wasn’t meeting men, and, more importantly, why men weren’t approaching me as they once did. It was frustrating, confusing, and created a lot of anger and mental anguish.
What was wrong with me? Why had men stopped approaching me? Had I gotten too old? Was I no longer attractive?
These were honest questions I asked myself because I couldn’t understand the silence. It was deafening.
But, fast-forward to today, where I am not only dating and having fun, but I’m a conscious dating and relationship coach, helping women date with greater intention, self-knowledge, and empowerment.
I now have a greater understanding of why my romantic life looked the way that it did and the real reasons I wasn’t dating. What I told myself then and the real truth of my singleness had to be examined closely, and what I discovered was that I was single because I wasn’t actually available.
I wasn’t open to receive. I wasn’t putting myself out there. I wasn’t putting forth the effort and intention in creating what I said I wanted: a relationship. I may have talked a lot about it, even longed for it, but I wasn’t putting in real, intentional work.
Not making myself available and being intentional about dating was the biggest mistake I was making. This is a mistake women who say they want relationship often make. They desire partnership and romance, but don’t take proactive steps toward achieving it. Just like anything else we desire in life—our ideal job, great health, friendships, a home, a new car—we have to be intentional and actionable in our pursuit.
Here are five common mistakes we should try to avoid while dating:
1. Waiting for him to show up at the doorstep.
I have heard too many stories of women who want relationships saying that they’re not online dating and not doing anything out of the ordinary to create dates. We all wish that a tall, handsome man would fall out of the sky and land at our doorstep while we’re binging on our favorite Netflix shows. But chances of that happening are very slim. So, if we want a relationship, we have to put ourselves in the game.
Online dating is the fastest and easiest way to date. Online dating increases our dating pool and allows us to meet men we might otherwise not meet. With online dating, we have control over whether we want to be active or not. We can pause our membership and take a break at any time.
Dating online also allows us to practice the skill sets and tools we need for long-term commitment, including emotional intelligence, communication, vulnerability, transparency, forgiveness, flexibility, adaptability, and so on.
Putting ourselves in the arena of online dating activates the energy of love and romance around us, thus attracting men to us from other places. Dating intentionally helps us to magnetize our desires toward us.
While dating can be frustrating, we have to stay in the game. We have to be in it to win it.
2. Taking “rejection” personally and quitting the dating game.
I wish we could build an armor toward “rejection” in dating. Yet, the truth is that we can.
No one can reject us unless we reject ourselves. Women often take rejection very personally. As young girls, we didn’t have to build that muscle much because the boys did all the asking out. So, now, when we aren’t someone’s particular cup of tea, we perceive it as a blow to our confidence. But, when we are deeply rooted in our self-love and self-worth, while we may be disappointed when he doesn’t call back, it won’t leave us in self-doubt, self-judgment, and questioning our worth.
Even if he’s just “not that into us,” we will remember that we are beautiful and good enough. We will remember our personal power, dust ourselves off, and keep going. The “one” who is meant for us will not pass us by.
3. Too much texting and not enough talking.
If we’re looking for relationships, then creating a pen pal isn’t going to make it happen. I hear from men too often that women want to marathon-text but don’t want to actually meet in person and get to know one another.
If we truly desire partnership, and we’ve faced our fears and sabotage toward creating it, communicating verbally and spending real time together is the path toward creating a loving relationship.
Texting through the dating app is expected in the beginning, but then we can choose intentionality, grab our courage, and just go on the date!
4. Giving up dating others too soon.
Women are, more often than not, wired for mono-relationships. And, while I’m not suggesting polyamorous relationships or multiple sexual partners, I am suggesting that we don’t cut off dating others and meeting other men at the first point of connecting with someone we like. We can keep our options open until we’ve “surveyed” our potential suitor, feel that we know them adequately, and mutually agree upon exclusivity.
Multiple dating allows us to learn more about ourselves and our needs. Exploring different “flavors” in men and determining what’s most suitable for us is dating with intention and consciousness.
5. Too much focus on finding the “one” and not enough focus on becoming the one.
The current dating narrative places the focus of finding love outside of us. Therefore, we search desperately, trying to fill any voids we may have and experience love from someone who thinks we’re great. But conscious dating is understanding that we are the ones we’re in search of.
In order to create a loving partnership, true partnership must begin with ourselves. Our greatest love affairs begin with self. Whatever we seek from our partners, we can practice becoming that through our dating and self-love journey.
Dating doesn’t have to be frustrating and confusing. When we are intentional, we are empowered. We can make dating fun. It depends on the perspective we choose to bring to our experiences.
We can consider dating as an opportunity to get to know ourselves better and to equip us for a long-term relationship.
We can take pressure off ourselves of finding the “one” and just have some fun dating ourselves.