A new season of dating is officially in bloom. Daters no longer feel pressured to hastily jump into a relationship during the cold winter months. The weather is getting warmer and cuffing season is in the rearview mirror. You may now find it easier to take your time and figure out what you want for your dating life.
If you’ve been off the market for a bit, jumping back into the dating pool can feel overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways to get your feet wet and take the process however fast or slow you prefer. Here are five tips for getting back into dating.
1. Take Care of Your Sexual Health
Caring for your sexual health is vital to your well-being, especially while dating. The first step is often to find a birth control plan that feels aligned with you and your body. The process may require some research to discover the right fit. Additionally, staying up to date on STI screenings is crucial while dating, especially if you’re sleeping with multiple partners.
Prioritizing your sexual health also means exploring what you want in the bedroom. Find partners you feel comfortable communicating your desires with. You want to feel safe while you discover and enjoy your preferences. Building a healthy sexual relationship can bring you closer to your partner and yourself.
2. Figure Out Your Goals
Understanding your dating goals can save you time and heartache. This personal insight includes knowing the kind of relationship you want and what you hope to find in a potential partner. The best place to start is to determine if you desire a long-term or short-term relationship. You might also need to consider whether you’re exploring open relationships or prefer a monogamous arrangement.
Try writing out a list of all the ideal attributes you’d like to have in a significant other. This blueprint of qualities helps you better spot green flags when getting to know someone new. A solid idea of what you’re after also makes red flags jump out earlier, saving you valuable time and energy. Your goals may shift the more you date, so be flexible and open to change as needed.
3. Avoid Putting Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Finding the perfect partner can feel like a ton of pressure. Try not to let that heaviness suck the fun out of dating. Allow yourself to have a good time and not take everything too seriously. A more carefree attitude will especially come in handy after a lousy date, and it can help you not take things personally. Additionally, this mindset will help you avoid feeling pressured by the opinions of others, like overzealous friends and family members.
You are also more likely to attract energies more aligned with your dating style. For example, giving too much space to your worries leaves you vulnerable to engaging with an anxious attachment style. If you’re not careful, this type of attachment can be a magnet for those with more avoidant or disorganized behaviors. Conversely, embracing a secure attachment style is more likely to attract partners with healthy relationship skills.
4. Nurture Other Parts of Your Life
While romantic relationships can be wonderful, they shouldn’t consume all your time and focus. If you haven’t dated in a while, you might easily fall into hyper-fixation mode when starting up with someone new. Be mindful of how much energy you put into dating and avoid neglecting the other parts of your life. Continue to prioritize important connections like your friends and family.
Try to nurture a range of the things that bring you joy, such as your hobbies and interests. You also don’t want your career goals to fall by the wayside, so stay focused on your professional endeavors. Having a fulfilling life outside of dating helps you avoid falling into a cycle of codependency. Knowing that you have a full life with or without a romantic partner is liberating.
5. Embrace Self-Love
Self-love is the bedrock for all other meaningful connections in your life. According to researcher and author Brené Brown, we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. And we have to believe we are deserving of love. It feels impossible to give someone something you don’t give yourself first. So start with building a loving relationship with your life’s most important person — you.
Consider going to therapy if you’re struggling to find love for yourself. A mental health professional helps you form a better relationship with yourself, which in turn strengthens your connection with others. Loving yourself raises the bar for the energy you allow in your life. You are less likely to tolerate disrespectful behavior when you understand your worth and own your truth.
Getting Back in the Game
Dating opens space for a deeper understanding of yourself and others. Embrace all the feelings that arise as you explore this new chapter of your dating story. Enjoy the butterflies after an amazing first date and move through the disappointment that comes with the bad. A vast spectrum of emotions is all part of the experience.
While much is out of your control while dating, you have the power to decide how you show up. Remember that you must be your most authentic self to achieve genuine connection. While trying to fit someone else’s ideals is tempting, the relationship you deserve requires you just to be you. Anything outside of that isn’t worth your time, energy, or love.