A recent article by Your Tango summarized the 20 things you learn about dating in your twenties. Curiosity had me flipping through the slide show to determine if I knew these things. Surprisingly, some of them I found out rather recently. Why is that?
People over forty usually got married in their early twenties and often to their high school sweetie. They had very few relationships or dating experiences to serve as a knowledge base. That’s why the dating world is difficult for the mature adult. Single is not something they know. There’s all kinds of rules and expected behaviors. It would be useful to review them.
1. People in bars are looking for sex, not relationships, and certainly not marriage. (I always suspected this despite all the movies and sitcoms that have the heroine meeting her happily ever after in a drinking establishment, usually the bartender.)
2. Games don’t work. It doesn’t mean people don’t play them. Some may remember a book called The Rules. This slender book gave info on how to catch Mr. Right. Ironically, it did work sometimes. This, of course, confuses the issue. Games, like lies, eventually get you in a mess of trouble.
3. You deserve someone who makes you happy. Someone who wants to and does thoughtful things for you. It took me forever to learn this one. My attempts to earn thoughtful behavior failed. Happiness only came after I picked a different type of man.
4. If there’s no chemistry right away, don’t waste your time. Whoa! Wait a minute, I disagree. Many a woman has been on fire for a bad boy only to be disgusted by his shallowness days later. On the other hand, people grow up together and fall in love years later. Sure, a person can rationalize why he or she should like someone, which isn’t chemistry, but pure, unadulterated desperation.
5. Drunk sex sucks. Regret isn’t so great either.
6. Being someone you’re not is an unending game. Realize that if a person doesn’t think you’re awesome as your authentic self then you don’t need him or her in your life. (Late lesson for me.) You do have to present the real you immediately.
7. Save time for you. Too often people become a couple and shelf their friends and interests. Bad deal because eventually resentment sets in over the behavior, even if the partner never requested it.
8. Invest in the past, cancel the future. People who expect their dates to act like previous dates will have issues with ever getting to the second date. It involves being vulnerable. You can’t compare all men to your abusive ex. On the other hand, if your date is bad-tempered now it will only get worse with time.
9. Expensive gifts don’t mean squat. As teens, we wanted gifts as a badge of desirability. One man could buy a Mercedes w/o blinking an eye, but it doesn’t equate love or even indicate exclusivity.
10. Social Media is a relationship killer. Don’t air your grievance aired online. When you do, sides occur, and it grows into a feud.
11. Oversharing confuses the issue. This happens when you decide to trot out every argument between you and your sweetie to a jury of your peers. Yes, they’ll take your side, making you wonder why you even put up with the jerk.
12. Respect yourself. People take their cue from you as far as how to treat you.
13. Dinner & a movie won’t cut it for every date. Eventually one or both of you will decide the relationship is boring and break it off. What you were doing was what was boring. Mix it up, challenge yourself to try new things. Throw in a street festival, dancing, pottery class or two.
14. Date nights are a must. Now that you’re a couple you have to schedule in us time.
15. Breakups suck. What’s worse is living with an abusive, apathetic jerk.
16. Lower Your Expectations. If you’re on the lookout for Prince Charming, he hasn’t been on the radar since the 17th century. He never was since he’s fictional.
17. Being single is better than being yoked w/a weirdo, player, or an okay for right now guy. Singleness looks better and better sometimes.
18. Sex isn’t good if you can’t ask for what you want. Don’t wait a year or two before bringing it up.
19. Be the bold one. Shy guys might love to go out with you, but they need help. My sweetie was convinced I wasn’t interested because I didn’t give him the signal. I still don’t know what the signal was.
20. The guy who won’t commit, won’t. Quit wasting time on grooming someone to get them ready to commit. That’s why previously married men are better than never married men in date ability. Their track record demonstrates they will commit. Sometimes, they just won’t connect with you. Accept it and move on.
I’ll be honest and say I didn’t learn at least four of these until the last couple of years. Now days, people stay single longer and date more, which gives them more experiences and reflective periods. They often make their initial commitments at a much later age. It’s not too surprising couples who married young break up as they grow into different people. There is also the phenomenon of grandma and grandpa parting ways because people live longer. In the end, millions of single people are clueless when it comes to dating.
Here’s a few they missed.
Don’t date people for potential or the possibility you can change or train them. Bad deal, people don’t change.
Rude or bad behavior is exactly that. Don’t make excuses such as a hard day, tired, or drunk. Everyone is capable of trotting out good behavior; failure to do so shows you’re not valued.
Look beyond the exterior. People try to pigeonhole by appearances alone without getting to know a person. People often miss their soul mate because he or she was not in the current popular package.