After hanging out with some girlfriends last night, I was thinking about how difficult it can be dating in New York, and I realized that, honestly, trying to find the right person is challenging no matter what your geography. Now that I’m out of my mid-20′s, I think I’ve learned a lot about both myself and about the kind of guy I need in my life, and not necessarily just the cute guy who I want (which is one of the hallmarks of maturity, right? I’d like to think so). Here are 3 lessons I’ve gleaned from all the triumphs and the mishaps of my 20-something dating life.
1. If a guy wants to be with you, he’ll know. I’ve spent so, SO much time in my life pining over guys who had already rejected me, or who would kind of drift in and out of my life without ever officially being like, “I want to date you.” Not anymore! I’ve met enough great guys who genuinely liked me to know that the ones who like you will let you know that they’re into you. He won’t be hot and cold. He won’t be “too busy with work” to take 20 seconds to send you a text message, because you’ll be on his mind so much that he’ll want to contact you. Think about yourself: when you’re into a guy, like really truly sincerely into him, you’re always thinking about him. If you kind of wax and wane yourself, you’re probably not 100% smitten. Same applies for him.
2. Don’t put up with anything less that what you deserve. This doesn’t mean you think of yourself as a princess who wants to be spoiled with gifts and money. It doesn’t mean being rude or bitchy or expecting to never have to work in a relationship, because dang, anyone who’s married or in an LTR can tell you that every relationship requires sacrifice and work from both parties in order to flourish. So what does it mean? It means you are a prize to be won, a sparkling diamond in the rough, and a man who truly recognizes this will spend time and effort trying to make you happy, because he wants to.
Dignity means not clinging to someone who’s trying to move on from you. I don’t want to be with someone who’s not really into me, and I’m not going to try to talk someone into dating me who doesn’t really want to in the first place. There are plenty of guys out there who won’t need to be talked into liking you. Feels good, doesn’t it?
3. Don’t freak out about your timeline. I used to fret because I graduated college and wasn’t married. Then, I was 25 and not married. Now, I’m 27 and not married. And you know what? WHO CARES! Of course I’ve watched as countless friends have tied the knot and had kids, but that’s perfect for them, and not necessarily for me. I’d rather be single and happy where I am (because I am!) then try to rush a relationship through my life just to check off some weird insecurity that I shouldn’t really be feeling, anyway.
In general, I think I’ve mellowed out a lot in my approach to relationships since age 20. When the right guy comes along, I’ll know, and it’ll feel natural and easy and wonderful, like the period at the end of a very long sentence. And I’ll be ready for him. Until then, I’ll just focus on making my life as great as it can be.
What dating lessons have you learned in your 20′s?