Being at the start of the New Year, January is the quintessential month for new beginnings. As cliché as it might sound, it’s also the perfect opportunity for you to revamp your attitude about dating and relationships — after all, you have to choose some sort of resolution for 2014, right?
At the very least, kick off the year by making this the one in which you banish completely unhelpful — and counterintuitive — dating habits from your life for good. Here are six things you should stop doing.
1. Not making the first move.
Whether you’re a guy or a gal, you should just put yourself out there. The outdated rules that men have to send the first message or make contact first are old fashioned and, really, kind of silly at this point. Besides, ladies, would you really want to marry a guy who was turned off by the fact that you got in touch first? Thought not.
2. Constantly checking your inbox.
Of course you’re going to be itching to see if the person you messaged wrote you back — that’s completely natural. But don’t let your dating life rule your life-life. First, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Second, you’ll miss out on deepening the real connections you already have with friends, family, and coworkers. Be sure to unplug when it’s time to be fully present in the flesh.
3. Writing off a potential partner for not being “your type.”
So, a woman who messages you is a couple years older than your “ideal.” Or, a man who gets in touch has less hair than you’d prefer. If you let yourself be ruled by superficial qualities, then you better get used to being single. I know, that’s harsh, but it’s true: Giving off a too-good-for-others vibe is a sure-fire way to make yourself completely unattractive to other people — and, trust me, those you message will pick up on your attitude. Rather than rigidly sticking to what you think are must-haves and discounting anyone who seems to have a deal-breaking quality, start being flexible. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Excusing unworthy behavior.
On the flipside, stop trying to rationalize bad behavior: A guy who says he just wants something casual won’t make a good potential husband. A woman who says she’s not interested in starting a family won’t be the mother of your children. Listen to what people say to you and take their actions at face value. Being aware is key when you’re looking for a life partner — when someone tells you something about him or herself, you need to believe them!
5. Putting off your bucket list until you’re in a relationship.
I know I was guilty of this in my single days and I’m sure many others are as well: Just because you’re flying solo doesn’t mean you need to put your goals and dreams on hold. If you’re dying to climb to the top of Machu Picchu or learn how to tango, don’t wait until you have a romantic partner. Grab a friend or a family member, or even start ticking items off your bucket list alone — there’s no reason to wait. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet…
6. Unnecessary stressing about your relationship status.
One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with women especially is waiting in limbo while they wait for men to define their relationships. If you’re not sure if you’re exclusive, or if someone is your boyfriend or not — ASK! It’s that simple. Sure, you might not like the answer, but, hey, you may also be pleasantly surprised. All I know is, life is too short to be wondering what you are to someone.
Changing your dating habits is a process — luckily, you have a whole year to practice getting rid of these all-too-common patterns. But, no matter how long it takes, I assure you that doing so will lead you to a healthier, happier relationship … or at the very least, a better single life.
And, to help you navigate your coupledom when you do find your significant other, please check out my latest book, 101 Quizzes for Couples, which is chock-full of helpful questions to ask your partner — and yourself — to help make your bond deeper and your relationship more fulfilling.