About The Time My Friends Put Me On A Dating Plan To Find A (Good) Man
Much like pregnancy, the first couple of “trimesters” in dating and developing a relationship can be very delicate. It’s the phase where we as women set the tone and he as the man often takes the lead. It’s where the foundation is laid and we hope it’s a solid one built on trust, understanding, and acceptance. It’s where you first start talking to someone and try to act normal because you’re not sure when you can let your freak flag fly. It’s the time where you sometimes screenshot your text threads and send them to your friends asking for advice on what you should say in response (well, I do that).
For me, dating has been a tad bit different and difficult since my last relationship. After a spring and summer full of fun, heavy partying, drinking and some not-so-random hookups, I found myself sitting in the Hookah Lounge feeling lonely, and I realized I didn’t want to be there anymore. The hookah lounge or the dating scene that is.
I began to crave stability, someone to come home to every day, a companion and best friend. And as I sat in the smoke-filled haze surrounded by women twerking and the men drooling over them, I realized this wasn’t “it” anymore. I needed more.
But it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be to find someone I could see myself settling down with. In this Netflix and Chill, hookup culture, it’s hard for me to find someone who actually wants to take those significant and detailed steps in dating. It makes me wonder what the standards of dating are and if they even matter anymore. It’s become common and okay to see someone you like, invite them to your place and hook up continuously without even a conversation on what you all define your relationship as being. Are you dating? Is it just sex? What the hell is going on?
I want dates. I want serious conversations about our individual plans for the future. I want long phone chats, quality time, culture, and I want all of these things to lead up to us making a decision that we’re compatible enough to be together.
That’s where my friends came in. My marriage-bound, engaged, deeply-committed friends and their six-month dating plan. Now, I know you might be rolling your eyes. Believe me, I did too. I’m more of a go with the flow type of person, but that right there was my problem when it came to dating. I was flowing all over the place and ending up nowhere. So I thought, why not? Why not let my friends, who were clearly doing something right, play matchmaker and cupid to their dear old friend? Here’s what they came up with:
Rule One: Be Consistent
I know we all want a man who’s consistent. One who calls when he says he’s going to. A man who makes plans and follows through with them and one who isn’t flaky and will potentially wake up the next day and decide he doesn’t want you anymore. I must admit, I want a man like that, but I have been utterly inconsistent when it comes to men. It was to the point where I had to stop and ask myself, when did monogamy become such a hard thing to me? Why was I struggling with something that used to come so naturally to me?
Rule Two: Don’t Get Attached Too Quickly
Part of the reason I would get bored too easily was because I got attached too fast and pressed fast forward on everything until there was nothing intriguing left to learn about a guy. That took about two months to happen. And apparently, it wasn’t very attractive to the men I was dating either. I was too intense for them and aside from being a fun and cool person to be around, I was way too serious for them. There was no balance.
Rule Three: Do NOT Talk About Marriage And Babies
I’ll admit, when I meet a guy I really like, I tend to start planning the wedding and naming the kids right away. And it doesn’t help that all of my friends are getting married or having babies. But they always have to remind me to get a realistic grip on life whenever I find myself with wedding or baby fever. Don’t get me wrong, when dating, you want to know what his intentions are or if marriage and kids are in the cards for him, but don’t get out of hand with it and start expecting a proposal sooner than later.
Rule Four: Abstinence
I know you’re probably rolling your eyes again, but this is definitely a tough one for me. I’m not some wild woman or anything, but when I’m genuinely interested in a guy, I tend to skip the formalities a little too soon. I once “dated” a guy for four months and knew nothing of substance about him. While I wasn’t physically lonely, there was an emotional and mental void that wasn’t being filled. When he would leave in the middle of the night or following an after-work tryst, I still felt empty.
Rule Five: Stop Making Long-Term Plans With Temporary Men
I once dated a man for six months, and things got serious really fast. It just naturally flowed and we were talking marriage, children, and an entire life together. I had just come out of a serious relationship and didn’t realize I was trying to pick up where I left off with my ex with a new guy who was just going along for the ride. But I thought we had something special. So when he started to distance himself from me and treat me like just a friend, I wasn’t prepared for that hurt.
Rule Six: Stop Dealing With Temporary Men
It’s bad enough I was making plans with temporary men, but why was I dealing with temporary men to begin with? I knew that I wanted something serious, but it seemed that men with short-term plans were always the most available. The lesson that I learned was that the good ones and the ones who are meaningful will always be worth the wait. The temporary ones, the ones not looking for anything serious, will always be in reach. I had to learn to sit down somewhere and wait.
I stopped dating for a while because I realized I wasn’t ready for all of the things I said I wanted. In taking that time to myself, I’ve grown tremendously in my career and in my life. But now I’m open to trying to get back out there. My friends encouraged me to follow these rules when dating instead of repeating the same patterns that haven’t worked, and I don’t think they’re so bad. I actually think they can help me build a solid foundation with a man. But only time will tell.
So as my friends continue to play matchmaker and I keep these rules in mind, I wonder if any of them resonate with you? How are you hoping to change it up when being open to love in 2016? Are you down for a dating plan?