Today I am a boring married lady. But, before I exchanged wedding vows with my husband a few months back, I spent more than a decade in, and out, of the wrong relationships. With experience like that comes some good memories, some interesting insights and a whole lot of wisdom.
The dating landscape is not an easy one to navigate. Since I’ve managed to navigate myself out of that occasional quagmire, I’d like to share some of those realizations, to help someone else do the same. Here’s a list of everything I learned about dating before I met my mate. In the spirit of making the world a better place, I hope to spare you from the sort of missteps I made. Happy swiping!
1. It Doesn’t Matter When You Sleep With Someone For The First Time
I spent the bulk of my twenties racking my brain, trying to come up with the perfect formula for when to have sex with someone for the first time. I fell for the myth that “playing hard to get” makes guys fall madly in love with you, just as long as you don’t make them wait so long they assumed you were frigid (By the way, “frigid” is a misogynistic epithet that needs to be erased from the dictionary).
In retrospect, I realize I never made someone who wasn’t into me value me by waiting six dates as opposed to three before getting busy. Plus, if someone doesn’t respect you because you had consensual sex with before X number of dates, they’re a hypocrite. After all, didn’t they bone you, too? If I could travel back in time, I’d take twenty-something Sarah these two things: “Firstly, your foundation doesn’t match your skin tone, and secondly, it doesn’t actually matter when you sleep with someone!”
The number of dates you should wait to have sex with someone is exactly the number of dates it takes before you feel ready, whether that takes one or twenty-one.
2. When Someone Likes You, They Won’t Treat You Like Sh-t They Found On Their Shoe
The misconception that people who mistreat you are secretly besotted with you is hard to shake. Little girls are taught in the schoolyard that if a boy digs you, he’ll pull your hair and steal your lunch money. That means when straight girls grow up, we often conflate losers who exploit us for money and never call with our “One True Love.” Well, if you’re a lady who dates dudes, it’s time to disabuse yourself of this notion. If someone likes you, they don’t want to see you suffer.
I have never been called names by someone with whom I ended up sharing a mortgage. In fact, when someone likes you, they’ll probably pay you a compliment or two! So, if someone ignores you, routinely cancelling plans, or erodes your self-esteem with their words, it’s time to accept that they don’t like you! And you know what? That’s their loss, because you are pretty freaking great. So in the words of Ariana Grande, “Thank u, next!”
3. It’s Probably Worth Not Dating Your Friends
This is a hard one for millennials. We grew up watching shows like Friends, where the plot was basically that a group of privileged white people f-cked their closest buddies with abandon and eventually all got married. But will you and your bestie end up like Chandler and Monica, raising an adorable pair of twins in Westchester? The odds are not in your favor. In my experience, there’s usually a reason you guys didn’t get together when you first met. And that reason is you likely aren’t right for each other!
So, if you think you’re suddenly crushing on your friend of five years, take a pause and ask yourself if it’s worth making it weird. Sure, you might end up hooking up, but unless you think this person could be your forever, why risk losing a good friend?
4. Dating Is a Skill
The truth is, dating isn’t a talent; it’s a skill. For most people, dating is something you improve at with practice. For example, it takes time to learn how to ask important questions about someone’s lifestyle and career goals without sounding like you’re part of The Spanish Inquisition. If you need a couple – or even a couple dozen – first dates to get the hang of things, that’s normal! Just like you couldn’t play Mozart the first time you touched a piano or score three goals in a row at your first soccer game, you probably won’t be your most dazzling when you start dating. And that’s okay!
5. You Don’t Owe Anyone a Second Date
Once in university, I broke off a lackluster relationship after about a month. Neither he nor I were super into each other, and we were primarily dating out of convenience (We were in the same program at school). When I announced the news to my friends, some balked. “But you didn’t even give him a chance!” Their objections confused me, because I was always under the impression you needed a reason to date someone, not a reason not to date them. Wasn’t my indifference to the relationship enough to justify terminating it?
Whether you’ve been dating someone for a month or just a single night, you don’t owe anyone another date. Your time is a precious commodity!
Are there dating tips that you’d like to share? Hit us up on @weraddicted. We may even answer if you slide into our DMs!