Wifey’s & Gentlemen,
I know this is late (about a week late, hehe), but ‘better late than never’ right? Some Fridays, you get up extra early for the world’s slowest work day and you just can’t seem to see past the serious writer’s block that lays before you. This past Friday was one of those Fridays. As many attempts as I made to write, my brain could not find the words. I try my best to be as relevant as possible, but in those ‘special’ moments when the media (aka my friends and coworkers) have nothing exciting for me to report, I feel like I have to be extra scintillating, creative, and academic in order to make these posts worth reading. Last Friday, I just couldn’t do it. There was nothing. The flow was stalled.
I say this because, in addition to wanting to make a good enough excuse to be forgiven, sometimes I think the writer’s process can be just and entertaining as the actual content. Do you ever stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do in a certain, specific way? For example, I find I do some of my best writing in the morning when I arrive at work. It’s quiet in the office, there is a bit of a lull in my workload, and I am able to multi-task between my responsibilities and my creative efforts. Being able to walk away from the writing periodically while I am executing a post (or poem or short story) strengthens the finished product. I can sip on my vanilla tea with honey and (while in the middle of discussing compliance issues, stocks, and IPOs) I can really think about the best ways to communicate the topic of the week. Am I the only one? Does anyone else ritualize certain regular behaviors? For me, the list goes on.
Often times, I think this logic can be applied to the way(s) in which we approach dating and building relationships. Everyone has rituals that they believe will make them more desirable to their intended partners; the process of finding love can often times be more of an adventure than the actual relationship!
This is not to suggest that relationships cannot be beautifully adventurous in their own right, but you have to admit, for some of us, our dating shenanigans and misadventures are much much crazier than the stories we share after settling down. (or is that just me?)
This got me thinking about the kinds of habits and rituals we should go for when dating; the good habits and practices that might calm down some of the chaos we’ve grown accustomed to in this day & age.
Some of these things, I think, are pretty obvious; make a habit of not having sex with someone until you feel it’s right or make sure to avoid contact with anyone who treats you disrespectfully. But what about others? The little things we should ALL start putting into practice in order to minimize the potentially damaging effects of our latest & greatest flings. Here, wifeys and gents, I give you “The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Daters” *(No copyright infringement intended).
- The Highly Effective Dater (H.E.D) is NOT in any rush.
There is a HUGE difference between not wanting to rush the relationship process and not being interested in commitment. & there is nothing wrong with either of these things! A good dater understands this difference and is able to discern this difference in others as well as themselves. If you are someone who is looking for commitment and wants to settle down, own that! But also remember that you do not have to be engaged within the first 6 months of meeting someone you like. There is no pressure! Even if you are mind-blown by your partner and know they are “the one”, easing up on the hyper-drive will lead you to a genuine and successful partnership that happens at your respective paces. Good daters know how to take their time even when their emotions are strong and flying all over the place! Why? Because they know that taking their time means really getting to know someone. They know that, in a long term relationship, when all the ‘firsts’ are gone (first date, first kiss, first trip, first time meeting the parents…), it’s just the two of them. & just being with that other person has to be good enough. They know that time (both literal and emotional) makes all the difference in knowing whether the one you like can be the one you love.
& even at their most impatient, they know that the wait is worth it.
- The Highly Effective Dater has respect for himself.
Whenever I want to start a sentence with ‘this goes without saying’ I always have to stop and reassess. Over the years, I have come to find that this does NOT go without saying. In fact, most of the time, you must remind people to keep their self-respect and dignity intact. Make no mistake, even the highly effective dater is NOT perfect. In fact, she has done some pretty questionable things to get someone to notice her. He’s tried things he wishes he hadn’t tried, bought things he wish he hadn’t purchased, and said things he wishes he could take back. She’s been on the brink of losing her self-esteem and self-worth; all for the sake of keeping someone else around.
However, no matter what has happened in the past, the H.E.D has learned from these mistakes. They have learned that it’s okay to put themselves first, emotionally. They have learned that it is okay to say no, or to be selfish if something doesn’t feel right. They have understood the value of their own lives; work, education, family, & friends, and they know how important it is to find a place for their partner within their lives instead of carving out a life around their partner.
They begin any and all relationships with a strong sense of self, knowing that it is almost impossible to be with someone and have no identity of their own (almost, exceptions do exist). They know who they are and what they bring to the table and they give their partner the space to do the same.
- The Highly Effective Dater knows where she is headed and how she’d like to get there.
If you are a person who knows that one day you’d like to own your own cupcake bakery, get married, and never have children; you’re doing something right! This is not to say that this particular life goal is right for everyone (it isn’t!) but if this is what you know you want, you’re ahead of the game! *I do want children & this was JUST an example of someone’s possible life goals/aspirations (not everyone wants kids, you know).*
You see, H.E.Ds have a good idea of the path they are on. Do you want to be a stay-at-home parent? Do you want to travel internationally? Do you like the idea of marriage? Are you uncomfortable with lots of wealth or money? Knowing what you want out of life and expressing those desires attract the type of people you want and need to have in your circle.
This doesn’t mean that you are actively searching for someone who is exactly the same as you! I have always believed that opposite attract and challenge each other to be better, but it does help to save you from hardship and chaos down the line. If you know you don’t believe in marriage, are you going to get attached to someone who thinks marriage is the most amazing institution ever created? You can! But…why? Having a roadmap (or at least a solid idea) for the life you want saves the you loads of time and energy…& heartbreak.
- The Highly Effective Dater knows the devil is in the details.
Why have your past relationships ended? What have you learned from them? How have you grown? What have you changed? The H.E.D knows the answers to these questions. They pay attention to the details and learn from their mistakes (as best as they can, anyway). We’re you always late for dates or found yourself having to cancel often? A highly effective dater learns to value their partner’s time. They learn to be upfront about their busy schedules and commit to making time to spend with their partner as much as they can.
Focusing on and acknowledging the little things that can make us better partners separates the effective from the dysfunctional. As my mother always used to say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Why would you keep approaching your relationships in the same way and expect anything to be different? Sure, the people will change, and some things might not bother others in the same way, but people know when you are trying to treat them well. They know when you are putting efforts into minimizing your negative, destructive habits. Listen to yourself (& your partner) and pay attention to what they say. It’s those moments that prove to your lovers how much they matter in your lives.
- The Highly Effective Dater keeps his mind and heart open.
I know I just said that the H.E.D must know himself and pay attention to the detaisl, but please remember that the highly effective dater is also open to changing their mind! Maybe you once thought you wanted to have 5 children? Can the right person come along and help you see things differently? Can your partner make a convincing argument for only have 1 kid or 2? The effective dater is an extremely discerning individual who understands that he is a human being with life experiences that will develop and change him. He knows that, under the right circumstances, he might be willing to change his mind on some of the issues he previously thought he understood. This is the very definition of growth.
This does NOT mean they compromise themselves. Having self-respect and knowing what you want work in tandem with keeping an open mind/heart. A highly effective dater knows the difference between a genuine change in perspective and compromising important parts of themselves.
Be open to the ideas, hopes, and dreams of your lover and prepare to open their eyes as well.
- The Highly Effective Dater uses her words.
Ding ding ding! You guessed it, loves! I could NOT make a list of effective dating habits without making a (short, I promise) plug for communication! Highly effective daters communicate openly with their partners. It really is just that simple! If no one is talking, no one is listening. If no one is listening, no one is changing. If no one is changing, no one is growing. If no one is growing, you are not in a relationship. Period.
While I know this isn’t a definitive list, and it likely isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, why don’t we all make a pact that whether we be single, dating, married, or engaged (like me!…hehehe…I got you! I got it in there, again! I made you think I wasn’t going to say anything and then I did! Boom!) that we will all try to embody the habits of highly effective daters. At the end of the day, these habits do more than make us successful in love; the make us good, open, responsible, and successful people.
Anything I missed? Feel free to let me know! I’m always up for adding new, positive habits into my life!
Until Next Week,
Carry on Wifeys!