Today’s article list 12 Dating Mistakes I made and what I learned from them. If one in particular stands out for you, be sure to click on the linked article to read even more on the topic.
#1 Investing too much too soon
In my early to mid 20’s my life was a mess. I was not financially independent, I bounced between apartments and jobs. While I should have been spending all of my time investing in myself, I thought I had time, money and effort to invest in men I was dating. For example: After only 2 dates, I agreed to do a pro-bono project for a guy. When the project was finished so was the guy. I was pissed with no one to blame but myself. Furthermore the project did not lead to future paid work. Are you fixing the right person? How investing too much in significant others can be detrimental to your own growth.
#2 Trying to leverage a broken heart into a relationship
One of my biggest heartbreaks came from this mistake. After reuniting with an old acquaintance who had recently gone through a devastating breakup, I thought I could “heal his heart”.
I provided emotional support, friendship, and eventually even career advice. Ultimately my goal was to make him realize he should be in a relationship with me. But the relationship never happened. Eventually he went on his separate way, and he was much better for all the free therapy and confidence building he’d received. I on the other hand was devastated and bitter. I didn’t know how improbable it was to leverage a broken heart into a relationship. He wanted a fresh start. He wanted to be with someone who didn’t know the ins and outs of his past heartbreak. You Can’t Heal His Heart: A Note to Rebound Chicks
#3 Not Identifying an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
I always thought things were good as long as no one was physically abusive. I was thirty before I heard the term “emotionally abusive”. At age 23, my boyfriend who was 5 years older looked at me and said,
“You think you’re so great don’t you! We’ll you’re not that pretty and you’re not that smart.”
I was too young and naive to know this wasn’t okay. It was another few months before I finally ended things and another few years before I could fully process the concept of emotional abuse. 9 Signs You’re in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
#4 Being Trapped in a Back-Shelf Relationship
If you haven’t read this article: Love is Not a Marriage grab a hot beverage and settle down for 5 mins. to read it. I promise it’s a great read. For years I was not 100% emotionally available because I was holding onto a Back-Shelf Relationship. I met him in my last semester of college and we naturally formed a friendship and a love. But it took me another 7 years to realize that love isn’t always enough. It took me years to know myself and know what cultural, religious, and other factors were critical must haves or deal breakers for me. If Not Love Then What?: 6 Reasons Why I Married Him Other Than Love When I finally came to terms with this I met my husband. But in order to get to truly know him I needed to be 100% emotionally available, which meant letting go of the back-shelf relationship. It was difficult but ultimately the best thing I could have done. What Happens When You’re Trapped In A Back-Shelf Relationship
#5 Dating too Young
Everyone develops at a different speed depending on life circumstances, and so this is not to say that all younger guys are a no go. This is not to say that you can’t successfully have a relationship with a younger guy. In my experience however, dating younger never worked out very well. The reason it didn’t work was because of the “Ducks in a Row” concept. The ducks in a row concept says that it’s difficult for men to pursue a serious relationship until they feel they have their lives in order in most other categories of life, i.e “ducks in a row”. In my twenties, all of my female peers were actively pursing their careers, traveling when they could, setting financial goals AND actively dating in pursuit of a long term partner, all at the same time. But most of the men I dated that were my age or younger couldn’t do it all at once. Either they were tunnel visioned in their pursuit of career and were not very good at relationships. Or they were focused on finding a wife despite their career, finances, and other facets of life being disheveled. Either way it didn’t work. It wasn’t until my late twenties when I started dating men in their thirties that I was able to see the difference. Their ducks were already in a row. They’d already met some benchmark career goals, had a solid handle on their financial goals, and had a good sense of self. They knew what they were looking for in a spouse and they were ready to handle the responsibilities of a family in the event dating turned into that. For more on this topic check out this article by Heath Wiggins Debunking The Myth:Get All Your Ducks in a Row Before Settling Down
#6 Being too thirsty
Being thirsty or chasing someone really isn’t about what you do or don’t have going for yourself. It’s really about confidence and self esteem. You can be the most beautiful woman in the room and it doesn’t mean squat if you have no confidence. You have to know your worth, and know what you are looking for in a relationship. When I think about the things that made me smitten on someone, it was usually that they possessed a quality I personally felt I lacked. Ultimately you can’t find a healthy, happy relationship until you deal with your own insecurities and build confidence in yourself. 10 Ways to Be More Attractive & Confident
#7 Apologizing Too Much
You should never apologize unless you truly have something to be sorry for. Walking on eggshells in a relationship is stressful and not fun. Trust me, in a healthy relationship you won’t be saying I’m sorry very often, or feeling blame. Are you Apologizing Too Much in your Relationship?
#8 Settling for Less
Right after college was the first round of weddings. Late 20s was the second round. By age thirty I’d been to so many weddings I started to wonder if maybe I should settle rather than stay single. But settling in a major way is a short term solution that could be detrimental to your happiness. A better solution is to take the time to really evaluate what you are looking for and why. 3 Godly Reasons You’re Settling in Love
#9 Not Being Assertive Enough
Once you’ve figured out what you really want in a partnership, you can’t be afraid to ask the right questions. Time is precious. So often we’ve been inadvertently trained not to ask the Taboo Question: “What are you looking for?” We think that if we ask we will scare our date away. But not only is it okay, it’s absolutely necessary. The Taboo Question: Is Purposeful Dating Still Okay?
#10 Comparing Your Relationship to Other Peoples
I have ruined relationships by comparing them to other peoples. “You never do this”, or “Why can’t we be more like ___”. But the truth is, you can’t be in someone else’s relationship. You can only see other people’s relationships from the outside. You see what they allow you to see, or what they tell you. Comparing based on perception is dangerous and unproductive. 3 Steps to Finding Love & Overcoming Social Media Comparisons
#11 Dating Cheap vs. Broke
There is an inherit difference between cheap guys and broke guys. Many people are broke post college. I know I was. But this doesn’t mean a date can’t be special. Coffee, an eclectic BYOB, free day at the museum or a beach date are all fun inexpensive dates. Best and Worst Places for 1st Dates And broke is likely a temporary status. But cheap is an entirely different thing. Cheap is finding a reason to send the food back in order to get it comped. Cheap is when someone takes you out, and then ask when the check comes,
“So you got this or what?”
#12 Not Breaking up Soon Enough
Last but not least, you’ve got to know when to throw in the towel. Too often I knew after three months or sooner that something wasn’t working out. But for various reasons: my eagerness to settle down, guilt about rejecting someone, hope that maybe something would change, and etc etc. I would drag out relationships. But time is precious. When you know a relationship isn’t a good fit, do yourself and the other person the courtesy of not dragging it out.
I hope that sharing my mistakes has helped you to think about and/or evaluate your own dating mishaps. Do you have any confessions or mistakes you want to share? Were there any epic dating mistakes you made and learned from?