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Dating should be fun! Don’t you agree? If you’re filled with anxiety over the thought of meeting new people, it’s time change your focus. These five smart dating rules should help.
Use All Your Options to Meet Someone New
If you’re just waiting on friends to set you up, or hoping to meet someone at church, you are drastically limiting the number and variety of people you meet. This alone can make dating seem tedious, and put you in a bad mood that lingers just below the surface when you’re out and about. If you want to attract people to you, you’ve got to get outside your comfort zone and try new things. There are so many different places and ways to meet people these days it’s mind boggling.
Getting comfortable with being happily by yourself might seem like an odd dating rule, but it actually helps you make better choices with the people you let into your life. If you’re uncomfortable with being alone, you’ll try and push relationships into getting serious faster, and you’ll shack up with just about anyone. You’ve come too far to panic about being alone. You deserve someone great, so be careful about who you let take up your precious time. Remember that solitude isn’t the same as being lonely.
To help embrace your alone time:
- Find a hobby that nurtures your soul. You’ll lose yourself for hours in something that delights you, and isn’t that better than dating a loser?
- Expand your mind. Take a class or read something new. Embracing solitude doesn’t mean you can’t speak to another human being, it means enjoying the peace that comes with quiet time. A class can help you get out and learn a few things that you can go back home and contemplate.
- Take up yoga. Oh, I know, everyone does yoga these days (or they claim they do), but it’s a great way to become more aware of how your mind and body work together.
Be Grateful for Your Ex’s
By the time we get to midlife, we might look back over our dating life and cringe. What were you thinking! And after you cringe you might get angry, because someone (or several people) did you wrong. Well guess what? Rather than getting angry at yourself or someone else, be thankful. I don’t care if you spent ten years in a loveless marriage, be thankful for every ex you’ve known. Your ex’s have:
- Made you smarter about life (including dating.)
- Taught you about yourself.
- Helped you recognize what you want (and don’t want) in a relationship.
This doesn’t mean you need to call them up and have coffee with them, but what it does mean is you can leave your anger behind. You don’t need it anymore.
Give Your Dates Your Full Attention
When you’re out with someone new, use that time to really listen to them. Going on a date isn’t about complaining about your ex, or whining about how hard online dating is. Why waste time complaining about something that happened and is done? Your date doesn’t want to hear that, just as much as you don’t want to hear it from them.
If you’re someone that is generally running from appointment to appointment and so busy you can’t see straight, make sure that you:
- Turn off your cell phone. (Yes, off.)
- Look at your date when he or she is talking. (Not at your watch, other people around you, or the coffee barista.)
- Listen fully to the things your date says. This is a good idea because it helps you figure out if you want to continue seeing them, but it’s also polite. Don’t just wait for a break in their story in order to share some things of your own, but fully listen. When you do this, the rhythm of conversation is much more relaxed and meaningful.
Let Each Relationship Progress at the Pace It Is Meant To
Be patient with people. One thing I’ve noticed about midlife daters is that they tend to get impatient with the pacing of their relationships. They might want a guy they are with to make a commitment so badly that they overlook the fact that the guy isn’t right for them. When you do this, you actually end up wasting time in a relationship with someone that is wrong, rather than just dating casually to see how well you two fit with one another. Each relationship is different and needs to progress in its own time.