Spring Cleaning Your Dating Life: 5 Good Habits to Make Room Forby Scott Alden on May 05, 2011
Yesterday, in the spirit of “spring cleaning” your dating life, we shared 6 bad dating habits you should get rid of according to leading relationship experts and dating bloggers. Today, we have 5 new (good!) habits you should bring into your life to fill the space left behind.
1. Meet New People
Even if you’re not going to meet your future husband or wife at the park, the farmers market, the dinner party or the concert, you might meet the person who will eventually introduce you to them. Or the person who will introduce you to the person who introduces you to them. And so forth. More people means more possibilities.
Dating expert and online dating coach, April Braswell, suggests you make a habit of it: “Make it a new healthy habit to meet new people and weave them into your life. Do this daily to at least weekly. Attend a variety of events. Get up off the couch, get offline and interact with live people.”
Dating coach, Adam LoDolce, agrees that getting out is essential: “It’s so critical to get yourself out the door and go to parties, go to events and approach people for conversation (yes, women can do this too).”
2. Know Your Goal
You don’t have to know exactly what you want, but setting small goals based on what you think you want will help you to clarify.
LoDolce says, “I ensure that my clients are setting two types of ‘dating goals.’ One type of goal is the ‘outcome goal.’ What is your ultimate goal in dating? Is it to get a girlfriend? Is it to have options of people to date? Is it to have multiple partners? Whatever the goal is, it’s important to write down what you are trying to achieve, but only review your progress on a monthly basis.”
3. Adjust Your Expectations
We have to be careful, however, to make sure that we’re not just single-mindedly pursuing our goals to the point where we can’t see what’s right in front of our face. “Dating Makeover” Coach, Kira Sabin cautions against marriage-minded people jumping the gun:
“Somewhere along the way, dates have turned into an interview for marriage. Gee, that isn’t intimidating or anything! This is a date. It’s two people getting to know each other in a safe, social setting. You are not looking for a spouse or even a significant other. You’re just looking for a second date. Your new mindset? Have fun, keep it light, and stay in the moment. At the end of the date, ask yourself if you want a second date?”
4. Have Clear Boundaries
The issue of boundaries is tricky territory in dating. No one wants to be to rigid, but no one wants to get walked on, either. Your boundaries should be working for you, not the other way around. Television dating expert, Donna Barnes stresses the the importance of clarity:
“Enforce clear boundaries. You have to teach people how to treat you. If someone does something you don’t like and you don’t tell them, then you just taught them it was okay and gave them permission to do it again. And keep the pace slow. Really get to know someone before choosing to become intimate.”
It’s equally important that your boundaries be ‘field-tested.’ In other words, don’t let your boundaries stop you from dating at all and be open to letting people in as trust is built.
5. Switch it up
Experiment. Try new tactics. Do it differently this one time, just to see. It’s a relationship that you’re looking for, not a project, right? Switching things up will help you to remain engaged with the person you’re with, rather than just consulting your mental checklist. April Braswell and Kira Sabin both advocate for a fluid dating style.
Braswell: “I suggest strategies and looking at results. If you aren’t regularly meeting a variety of new people weekly and going on at least 1 date per week, then mix things up and switch habits around until you are seeing those results.”
Sabin: “This is a great time of the year to assess what is working, what isn’t and where you want to be in your love life. Just like cleaning out your closet, take a look at your mindset, online profile, expectations and even your dating places and switch it up! If it isn’t working, do the work to make changes to stop waiting and start creating the love you want in your life.”
So, what’s in your “closet?” What bad habits have you been hanging on to just because you haven’t cultivated the good habits to replace them? Like any major cleaning project, it’s hard work. But you’ll probably feel a lot better afterward.