Here are four first steps to start fresh and date in a way that actually makes you happy.
This is the first and, arguably, the most important step in your dating narrative makeover.
The desire to be partnered is something I felt starting when I was a teenager; At age 16 I thought I would be married by the time I was 25 (ha! I wanted an intimate emotional connection, a relationship built on mutual support and encouragement.
Dating doesn’t have to be as confusing as it is, and we don’t have to let shallow dating apps designed for people looking for a fling dictate how we use them.
Know that you have the power to reset your dating narrative and date in a way you are proud of.
I think too often when we practice enforcing boundaries in our head, we sound preachy or like mean police officers. You don’t have to explain to the guy why you don’t think having another drink is a good idea or why you don’t do casual hookups—just say it.
If a guy is being pushy, he will ask for an explanation (because, let’s be serious, he knows), but most nice guys will accept your answer and do their best to make you feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
Maybe it’s agreeing to drinks back at his place even though the relationship is “complicated,” or maybe it’s telling a date that you would love to have dinner again, even though you know you are going to ghost him from here on out.
Whatever it is, having friendships that support you in your quest for change offers support at your most vulnerable moments.
But then, I think most of us would agree that dating apps don’t just download themselves, which means that we are not so totally innocent as we might think.
In fact, gentleman contributor Isaac Huss contends that it’s not just apps that are bringing us down but also our own unhealthy dating behavior that has contributed to the end of the kind of romance that leads to lasting love as we know it. Not so very long ago, in the bustling city of New York, I was lucky enough to meet a couple of women who, like me, knew their dating narrative needed a reset, and we banded together to do it.
Now that you know what you want out of dating relationships, set boundaries that will help you move in that direction.
Boundaries can sound limiting and uptight, but, as therapist and cofounder of For Zach Brittle explains, boundaries within a relationship can be the most freeing because they make you feel safe.
In the beginning, I would be focused on whether or not I liked the person I was dating, but as soon as I decided I liked them and wanted a relationship with that person, my attention would turn fully to whether or not the guy liked me.