Here we go again. It’s a new year full of new beginnings, new game plans, and declarations of a whole new me! We bound out of bed on New Year’s Day with the war cry, “This year is going to be different!” Then… well… let’s be honest, how many times have we exploded from that January one starting gate with a fridge full of diet food, an exercise app, and an entire new wardrobe of exercise clothes… only to find those Lulu Lemons months later, smushed at the bottom of the bottom drawer with the tags still on?
More importantly, how many of us have ended the year stuck in the same old, dry, and sometimes heart-breaking dating rut? (FYI, my hand is high in the air, and frantically waving.)
6 Dating Resolutions to Stop Toxic Dating Patterns
This year, not only am a clipping off those tags, cleaning out the fridge, and actually putting on those leggings, I’m committing to breaking old, toxic dating patterns and creating a new, healthy dating paradigm for romance. I’m making resolutions that are reasonable and within my control. I am making resolutions I can keep. And if I can do it, so can you!
… your intuition and your friends’. We all have an internal compass. The key is to follow it. And if you are doubting it, ask your friends. If they love you, they will tell you the truth. If they don’t, they aren’t your friend. Truth be told, our gut is 99.9% correct. The issue is that deep down, we don’t want to follow it. So we rationalize, ignore, even avoid our friends. And when he ends up being a douche, we stop trusting our gut again.
It’s the chicken and egg scenario, and if you don’t heed your initial gut reaction, you will almost always end up scrambled.
2. Pay attention…
… to red flags. Be super-cognizant of how he treats you. Does he flake? Check out other women when you are together? Push for sex too soon? Does he send inappropriate texts? Talk about his ex-wife too much? Is he cheap? Rude to the waiter? A bad father? Have you caught him in a lie? The list is as long as The Bible, but in the end, it’s all the same: You don’t feel respected. Sister, you’re the bee’s knees, you are too special, you deserve the sun, moon, and stars. This year, aim for them.
… with your pain and slow down. When our beautiful hearts are broken, many of us go full-steam ahead looking for the next relationship in hopes of not feeling the gut-wrenching heartache of a breakup. Sometimes the dating race is simply to make our ex jealous. Generally, neither situation ends well – because all we are doing is delaying the inevitable: the heartache of a breakup. The hit of dopamine that comes with that first kiss, does not, a happily ever after make. Dopamine is in essence a drug – a shot of vodka, a valium, an entire chocolate cake. It’s not a salve for pain. And it sure as hell isn’t the cure for a broken heart. Go slow when a relationship ends. Feel your grief. Have a good cry, then cry some more. You don’t need a new man to heal. Instead, clean your house, get a kitten, learn to speak a new language, learn anything! And ride the wave of sadness. Because you will come out the other side – stronger and wiser, level headed and calm. And I promise you will date again. He’s out there, just not yet.
… DRAMA! We all know those people who thrive on it; who get turned on by a rollercoaster of emotion; breaking up and getting back together over and over again. If you are one of these people, please Google “therapists in my area” and get busy. But if you land more on the side of sanity, then at the first sign of drama, exit! Fast!! Because you don’t want to become accustomed to this toxic dynamic. Dramatic emotions can
become a muscle – an addiction even – and once they are embedded in your psyche, “healthy” tends to feel boring. If he is always surrounded by chaos, it’s not going away. You will not fix him. His mental health is not your problem. His happiness is not your responsibility. You will be much more at peace single, drama-free, and watching The Crown on a Saturday night than you ever would be watching a man have a temper tantrum over a flat tire.
… expecting perfection. In other words, get over yourself. Because while I adore you, you, my dear, are not perfect as well. REALITY NEVER LIVES UP TO FANTASY. Keep an open mind. Don’t judge him by what he looks like, his career, or where he went to school. Stop with the lists. Bradley Cooper is married, and his clone doesn’t exist. And while you are busy ticking off those specific requirements of height, body type, and whether or not he loves dogs, you are quite possibly missing the perfect guy for YOU, with all his imperfections… who is out there, somewhere, feeding his cat.
Yes, you read me right: Don’t date. How many of us date because we feel like we should be dating? Your friends date. The rest are married. And, OMG, I’m going to die alone! But the question remains, do you actually want to date? When you are out with a man, do you find yourself wondering what’s on Netflix? Are you curious about what your friends are up to; or longing for that bubble bath and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Does the thought of going on yet another first date cause you dread on par with a root canal? Then don’t do it.
If upon seeing through your dating resolutions you find someone with potential, don’t go all in all at once. I get it. He’s special. This is all the more reason to get it right. Remember, you don’t need a man to complete you. Cherish your independence. Nurture and respect what’s important to you. Because your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you can have. It will get you through the hard times and celebrate the good. Value yourself above all else. Have a life outside of dating. And make it a big, bold, wonderful life. Because you are the bee’s knees, and that’s exactly what you deserve.