Hey sis! If you’ve been single for a while, hopefully you’ve been using this time to pour into yourself. You’ve been hanging with family and friends, focusing on your career, prioritizing health and wellness, and just doing you! Go ahead with your bad self mama!
But there’s still this lingering feeling of “I want to be with someone.” Trust, you’re not alone. I remember this feeling. I went back and forth between I’m happy being single, but also felt like I wanted a companion. The thing is, both of those things can be true. You can enjoy the season you are in, but also have a strong desire for something more!
All this means is that you might be ready to hop back into the dating scene. We all have varying degrees of what “ready” looks like, but if you’ve been living in both spaces, I think it’s safe to say it’s worth a try putting yourself out there!
Getting back in the dating scene can be a little nerve wracking. You might feel like you don’t want to make mistakes with someone or don’t want to choose the wrong person. It makes complete and total sense that you’d be thinking this. What I’d like to offer you is a few tips to ease your concerns and give you the space and freedom to enjoy dating once again.
4 Tips to Dive Back Into the Dating Scene
Know What You Want:
Let’s come off the superficial list of I want him to be 6 feet tall and have a dark chocolate complexion (hopefully we aren’t still here, but in case we are, I had to say it!). Height and skin tone are two things that he cannot control! Why would we put qualifiers on things that your future partner can’t even change if they wanted to? You’re limiting the dating pool before you even get into it. Instead, think of characteristics. For me, I learned from my last relationship that I wanted someone kind at heart. My man has to know Jesus. I wanted someone who could teach me things (the topic was irrelevant, but I don’t always want to be the person teaching!). I wanted someone who was generous, but not to a fault where their generosity then puts them in a position to not take care of their own household. I wanted someone who was patient and caring, thoughtful, and had direction for what they wanted out of their life. I didn’t care about job title or degree level. What was more important to me was that they had a similar mindset about finances and had goals for the ways they wanted to grow both personally and professionally. Now, this is MY list, and it’s not extensive, but you get the gist. When I started dating my now boyfriend, he checked off these things. I was able to clearly see from our first date that I wanted to continue spending time with him and through our conversations and his actions, I was able to see that he fits many of the things that I’m looking for. But knowing what you’re looking for doesn’t mean that you just mark someone off the list if they don’t meet every single thing that you want. It means that you now have a decision point of whether you are willing to give up the thing you said you wanted. Some characteristics outweigh others. There are certain things on my list that I was willing to give up, but others that I wasn’t. And I would strongly recommend that you get clear on that before you dive back in.
Okay, so people say this, but hear me out! I’m not telling you to go on a date with anything that comes walking your way. No ma’am, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. We aren’t doing that. When I say be open, what I mean is that if you even have the slightest notion that you’d enjoy being around this person, then a date will either let you know if it’s worthy of pursuing or not. If that person matches some of the qualities you’re looking for, see if they embody them in their actions. They may not meet your superficial list, but if they have everything else, babyyyy you’re in there! And yes, attraction definitely matters too so I’m not saying disregard this either. But what I am saying is to be open to your partner not looking exactly the way you envisioned in your daydreams.
3. Have Fun:
Friend…take the pressure OFF. You don’t have to decide within the first date if this person is going to be your lifelong committed partner! Don’t badger them with questions, don’t ask themselves where they see themselves in 5, 10, and 20 years (I can’t even answer this necessarily for myself because the world is full of opportunities that I haven’t even thought of yet!). Just. Have. Fun. See if you like spending time with them on the first date. Do you want to see them again? Did you enjoy yourself? I know, I get it…you’re saying, “But I don’t want to waste my time.” Here’s an alternative perspective–I’ve never felt like I wasted my time when I was having fun. I wanted the person that I was going to date long-term and possibly forever to be someone that I could have fun with. Then, maybe on the 2nd or 3rd date, we can get into deep conversations and figure out if our values and orientations to life align or not. But on the first one, you’re going to scare that person away if you start looking too future focused. It screams desperation for a spouse. Don’t do it sis!
4. Don’t Compromise Your Boundaries or Standards:
RED FLAG ALERT…you’ve seen it on social media but real talk, what are your red flags? What are your boundaries or limitations? Where do you want your partner to meet you? Sometimes, we allow ourselves to get into situations (or situationships), because we go with the flow of things and then look up and find ourselves noticing patterns but saying things like “Oh they will change,” “Oh it’s not that big of a deal” If it’s weighing on your brain and you start to notice behaviors that you don’t like, speak up and say something. Share your opinion and how you like to be treated. It’s their RESPONSE to this that will let you know whether you need to cut them off or continue. I was dating someone once who was a serious manipulator. To the point where they had me questioning myself. It was classic narcissism and I missed the signs because in my mind, they were just going through a lot and I felt like once their other life circumstances got better they would operate differently. Well…he didn’t. And once I was able to open my eyes to the pattern, we split up. He had red flags written all over him, but I couldn’t see it because he wooed me. If I had been clear on my boundaries, what it looked like to treat me well, and what I was willing to deal with versus what I wasn’t, I would have seen this much earlier.
So sis, it’s fine to get back into the dating pool. I actually encourage you if this is what you want! But be smart about it and do the work for yourself so that your dating experience can be better. Jump back IN, but in order to be ready for the ONE, you need to DateYourselfGirl!