I have done a lot of dating in the last year. This has allowed me to compare and experience what at times feels like polar opposites to how guys go about woo’ing a lady.
I’ve known since I was a teenager I wanted to be in a relationship, one-to-one, with a guy who I thought was awesome and thought the same of me. Ever hopeful, I started dating again last year with renewed optimism since the ratio of men to women in San Francisco seems to be in my favor.
After a three year dating haitus, it hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I’ve felt overjoyed with all the attention, blood rushing to my cheeks and giggling like a teenager while at other times experiencing disrespect from guys and going out on dates when I’d rather be at home watching Netflix wondering, “WTF Adria? What’s going on here?”
Update: Shout out to VioletBlue of TinyNibbles (NSFW but in a good way) for linking up this article in her roundup yesterday! I had the amazing opportunity to see VioletBlue present at SXSW this year and it inspired me to not give up on dating. The biggest takeaway I had from “The Sexual Survival Guide For Geeks At SXSW” session was that even if I didn’t know it, I had immeasurable power when it came to dating, especially giving signals to guys I was interested in. I took that to heart and began to work on using my eyes and body language to indicate interest as well as picking out guys in a room to flirt with. Thanks lady!
I’ve been consulting with friends, single and married, straight and gay, on what it takes to have a successful relationship including:
- How they met their partner
- How they knew their partner was “the one” for them
- How they have overcome differences and struggles in their relationships
- What they thought of my dating strategies, choices and goals
I’ve utilized my roommates (and online network of virtual big brothers) as trusted vetters of prospective dates and have attended three times the number of social events I did the year before. My desire? To find a guy who is a solid, long term match for me…and even prospective marriage material (yeah, I said it…thanks Ava for the pep talk in Atlanta!)
All this has led to a series of “ah ha” moments where the qualities I’m seeking in this partner have become clearer with each passing date. I realize that a guy either “has it” or he doesn’t.
Ladies, you cannot teach a man to care, to be romantic or get where you’re coming from. Nope. Your goal is to work on yourself and prepare for the moment when you will meet a guy who is also prepared and the two of you will click. No questions asked. Age, race, location don’t matter. It’s the other person’s life experiences and the lessons they’ve learned from them (hopefully!) that make them the person they are when you meet them.
I made a couple of videos this year on YouTube about my dating aspirations and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, encouragement and connected with others, men and women, who were also frustrated by the modern dating process:
I realize now that many of the doubts, concerns and uncertainties I had with dating guys came from the fact we weren’t a match. Relationships can truly feel like effortless thing when it’s a matched pair.
Here is the list I constructed last night as I thought back to the dates I’ve been on in the past and several that I’ve been on recently:
- He will go out of his way to make you feel special.
- He will make an effort to get ahold of you.
- He will look for ways to make your life easier.
- He lives to make you laugh.
- He will consider how something might affect you before sharing news with you yet won’t withhold if it’s important.
- He will touch you in ways that say, “I respect you and care about you” vs “I can’t wait to devour you like a hungry animal”.
- He will easily pass the judgment of your friends and roommates. No need to explains quirks and weird-isms.
- He will remember things you tell him and find ways to surprise you with references to those things.
- When you look into his eyes, you will see his adoration and respect for you.
- He will like you for the whole package, not parts of you.
- He’s willing to try new things with you.
- He wants to share his favorite experiences with you…and try yours.
- He will call you on your bullshit yet listen carefully to your answer to show he cares.
- He will share ideas, stories and aspirations with you.
- He will let you in during the times he feels down without bringing you down too.
While you may think this list is very focused on the guy or other person, my point here is that it takes time to understand what good dating feels like. While advice from others is great, you’ll probably need to go through the ups and downs of dating in order to determine what you really want.
It’s not enough to make a list like, “He should be attractive and smart. He should like animals. He should be driven but not spend too much time at work, blah, blah, blah”.
You will learn what your dealbreakers are and where your boundaries lie. You’ll also know how to react (in time) when people break those deals and cross those lines.
More than that, when you encounter that person who seems to make the earth stop moving, you’ll truly feel like being yourself is 100% okay and you don’t have to hide or change one thing about who and how you are. That’s the true meaning of “unconditional”.
Within a relationship like this, you have the ability to grow and evolve…together.