Dating in the times of online dating apps and hookup culture can be hard to navigate, and to top it off, dating during a pandemic can really complicate things! Despite all of this, many people are actively seeking out opportunities to date. Over the past year or so I’ve learned a lot about dating and guys’ mindset on dating, which led me to realize I needed to change my perspective on dating and guys. Here are some things you might want to think about too if you’re “on the market” and thinking of how to navigate today’s quite unique dating scene.
Know What You Want
It is super important to ask yourself what you are looking for in the dating world. Are you looking for something casual, something minimally serious, or long-term? There are so many options in the dating world, and both guys and girls looking for different things. By understanding what you are looking for, you can better align your expectations of the kind of relationship that you want. This can eliminate some disappointment you may experience if you seek a relationship, for example, and the guy you are dating is looking for something more casual. Understanding the type of relationship you want also helps you define qualities in the kind of person you want to have a relationship with. If you’re looking for something casual, someone’s political stance may not be particularly important to you, but if you are looking for something more serious, this may be a point that is a deal breaker for you. It can be helpful to write down what you are looking for (casual? serious?) and the kinds of qualities you want in that person. What you are looking for can also change with time, so check in with yourself periodically and reevaluate what you are looking for.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
No matter the kind of relationship you have with a guy, be it serious or casual, it is so important to have good communication between you and your partner. While it may be ok to leave things up in the air in the beginning of your relationship, it’s important to make it clear to your partner what you are looking for, and to clarify with them what they are looking for. This sets more clear expectations for both people and aims to establish boundaries in your relationship. It is super important to openly communicate with your partner in order to understand that your expectations of the relationship align, and if not, you may want to reevaluate your current partner and look for something else. Communicating is also important in setting expectations within the relationship itself; for example, how much time do you want to spend together during the week? Or having a discussion on each of your love languages. Failing to communicate with someone you are romantically involved with can lead to confusion, disappointment, and frustration.
Respect Him, Respect Yourself
In a recent conversation I had with a guy friend, he told me about a girl he was talking to that wanted something serious with him, while he was looking for something casual with her. She made her intentions clear in the beginning, but then she and her friends sent some nasty messages to him saying that he is disrespectful to women for wanting something casual with her. Here’s a problem that women sometimes run into nowadays: it is perfectly okay to stand your ground and not let a guy use you or force you to engage in anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. However, it is not okay to shame someone for not wanting what you are looking for necessarily. Guys have feelings too! It is wrong to hurt them just because you two are looking for different things. Respect him, understand that he may be looking for something other than what you want, and move on! There are plenty of fish in the sea.
With that said, it is important to note that you must go into any kind of relationship with respect for yourself. This starts by knowing what you want, making it clear to him, and setting clear boundaries and expectations within the relationship. Don’t let a guy push you around or force you to do something you’re not comfortable doing just to gain his temporary attention. It will hurt you, and possibly him too, in the long run. If he did something to upset you, try to communicate that to him. But do not let him disrespect you. As soon as you lose his respect, your power in the relationship dissipates. Relationships, be they casual or serious, are a two way street! Respecting each other is essential to healthy communication and boundaries.
Keep Tabs on the Progress
If you are actively talking to a guy and it’s been some time since you met, reflect on what you initially set out looking for. Ask yourself, am I in the relationship that I hoped to have? Think back to the expectations you had in a potential partner and compare those expectations to your current partner. If they align, great! You are on the right track and continuing to communicate effectively will help your relationship progress however you picture it.
If your initial expectations don’t align with the relationship you have with your partner, ask yourself if your expectations have changed, and compare your current expectations to your relationship now. If there is a difference between your expectations and your relationship, communicate that to your partner, and see where things go from there. If there is room for both of you to grow, then give it a shot, but realize that sometimes it just might not be working. It is totally ok to let something go if it is not what you expected or want. Not all relationships (casual or serious!) end badly. Sometimes it’s just a matter of “wrong place, wrong time”. Keep your well-being in check and respect yourself enough to let go and find something new.
Hopefully these tips to keep in my mind will help you navigate today’s dating world. Good luck! :)