Dating is an absolute nightmare in our generation.
Whenever you talk to anyone who got married before the 90’s or has been in a long term relationship since before around 2008, their dating stories are somewhat simple aren’t they?
We met and had a few dates (or in some cases a few sex sessions) realised we liked each other and decided to make a go of it.
See, I’ve learned recently that if you were not one of the lucky ones who managed to settle down pretty early on in your life, you’re basically in a bit of a minefield.
Dating. Is. Hard.
I have been in the dating scene on and off from around the age of 19/20… a few random relationships here and there, but never quite got lucky enough to be with ‘the one’ just yet. But in a way, it’s a good thing. I feel more prepped to meet the one now because I have learned so much from my dating minefield life.
So here I am, at the nice ripe age of 35, sharing with you all the fun things I have learned from playing the dating game over the years….
I am also going to back this all up with quotes from one of my favourite chick flicks “He’s just not that into you” (honestly, that film is a bible. Watch it.)
Just a quick disclaimer on this as well, I am a straight woman so a lot of my lessons and comments are going to be in relation to straight dating and men. I do not intend to be sexist or offensive in any of this.
Lesson #1 – The Games thing is bullshit.
If there is one thing that I have learned in my endless 15+ years of desperately dating, hoping to find the one… it’s that we’re constantly told about guys playing ‘games’. If he does something in a certain way, it’s because he’s trying to get your attention. Blah blah blah. It’s all a crock of shite, sorry but it is.
I am going to say this with the nicest intentions that I can without sounding sexist but, the one thing I’ve learned in my years of dating – men are actually quite simple. They aren’t like women, they don’t sit and overanalyse everything.. well, some do. It varies from man to man. But the general rule of thumb is, they’re pretty up front with what they want. If it’s you, they’ll do something about it or say something about it. It’s very rare that they will play endless games to try and make you acknowledge they want you.
“If a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a shit, he genuinely doesn’t give a shit. No exceptions.”
Lesson #2 – Breadcrumbing is the new thing.
“Breadcrumbing is the activity of sending brief and sporadic messages, digital morsels such as short text messages, Facebook posts or Instagram likes, which indicate that you still like someone, when in reality you’re unlikely to meet up with them ever again, let alone pursue a full-blown relationship with them.”
The above paragraph is what comes up when you search on google for the word ‘breadcrumbing’. How often can you say that this has happened to you? Or, you’ve done it to someone yourself? Breadcrumbing is the new trend really. And, with dating apps how they are right now it is so easy to breadcrumb. We literally allow ourselves to be breadcrumbed, constantly.
You know, when you have that guy who has hooked up with you or dated you before, or maybe none of that but has been made aware that you like him, never quite tells you he doesn’t like you but he keeps dropping these ‘signs’ he might want you?.
Yeah, they’re not signs babe. That is him keeping you as an option because he’s bored and wants a little ego rub while he proceeds in a quick wank.
Sorry to be blunt but it is what it is.
They are keeping you as an option so that you don’t go off with anyone else. But they don’t want you either. Sorry hun.
Lesson #3 – The rules are not the same with dating app’s.
Some people out there, have found their spouse on Tinder or bumble. And that’s lovely. It does happen. Believe me, I’m not writing this post out to make people think they’re undateable or put them off using dating apps. It’s a luck of the draw thing, I just happen to not have much luck in said draw.
But the thing with dating apps, is that they’re rather brutal. There are no rules, and sadly, a lot of people just don’t take them seriously anymore. Most people ‘drunk swipe’ so just for a laugh swipe right on everyone and deal with the damage later, and around 85% of people using dating apps (from my experience anyway), turn out to just like to have the odd match here and there to make them feel good about themselves.
When it comes to using dating apps: do not take them too seriously. I know that sounds bad, particularly if, like me: you are using the dating apps for the right reason, but we do have to take everything on this with a pinch of salt. Some people are going to match with you and never speak, some are going to unmatch you ASAP, some are going to message you once every 4 days.
The one thing I’ve now taken from using dating apps is that we cannot take the activity on them to heart. Just go with the flow on it and remember that you can unmatch or avoid someone just as much as they can you. You are under no obligation to meet this person if you don’t want to. Just don’t engage in conversation too long if you have no intention of meeting them.
Lesson #4 – If you want dating advice, be careful what friends you ask for it..
Now this is going to sound mean. And a lot of my best friends won’t like me saying this but, if you have a friend that’s either been in a relationship for more than 7 years, or been in one long-term relationship and gone straight into another… do not count on these people for advice on the dating world.
By all means, get their input if you want to talk about it. I’m not saying their opinions are invalid, but the thing is with these friends: they do not have any understanding or experience on dating app’s or what it is like to date these days. It’s not their fault, and I’m not badmouthing my friends (I love you all I promise). But they will never be on the same page as you, therefore if you need productive opinions on what to do on dating apps or on a new date – speak to the friends who have experience in this field.
From my experience, the dating world seems to change every couple of years. There’s always new words for how you’re treated, apps get weird new upgrades, acceptable places to go on a date changes… so friends who don’t have to do this shit, do not understand this shit. Period.
Lesson #5 – Never compare dating experiences.
Going back to the film ‘He’s just not that into you’, one of the common things that comes up in this film is the regular comparison of dating experiences. Gigi spends half her time going through how a friend had a similar experience to her where the guy might not have seemed keen, but it turned out well.
The character Alex makes a valid point: there are rules and an exception. Every guy has an exception to the rule. And we have all seen this play out in real-life too haven’t we?
That guy you kept hooking up with who said he wasn’t ready for a relationship, but a month after you ended was Facebook official with that hot girl from the bar…
It happens. All the time. Guys (and girls for that matter) like to play around. They like having options. We’re not in the 50s anymore, there’s no rush to settle down and my God has everyone really jumped on the fussy horse about it now. It’s a good thing though, people don’t just settle.
But what this does mean, is you’re probably going to get hurt a fair few times. You’re not going to be the girl. This was something I really struggled to come to terms with over the last decade. I spent many evenings in bits questioning what was so special about her that made him want her over me.
There isn’t anything wrong with me. She didn’t have anything outstanding over me. It was just the simple scientific nature that he felt something for her that he could not feel for me.
The point is, just because your best friend got a friend with benefits who somehow ended up her life-long partner, doesn’t mean that every guy you hook up with is going to want to marry you. It’s horrible, but it’s true.
Lesson #6 – Do not get annoyed at them dating other people.
We all want the fairytale. They match, they realise you’re the one. They focus on you and only you. But if you’re on a dating app in particular, this isn’t going to be the case.
I’m a needy bitch. I like attention. I like regular communication. But this doesn’t mean that a guy I’ve known for five minutes on a dating app who’s just exchanged numbers with me, should stop talking to anyone else. The beauty of dating is that you have options. You have a chance to play the field just as much as them.
Lesson #7 – Don’t focus on one person too quickly.
Now this is particularly for if you’re on the above: dating apps. Or if you’re generally trying to play the field a bit. It’s very easy to favour one particular person. I’ve done it thousands of times. You put all of your time, communication and effort into that one person for weeks, you finally meet them, and they are not what you thought they would be.
You’re frustrated. They are nothing how you imagined, and now you have to go back to square one again. This is naturally going to happen a lot in dating life, but this is exactly why you shouldn’t put all your faith in someone you haven’t met yet.
I’m not saying you can’t like a particular person and want to meet them or prefer them over the others. But what I am saying is there is nothing wrong with carrying on conversations with others before you meet someone. Just in case. Just make sure that when it does progress with one person, you let the others down gently.
Lesson #8 – Do your homework.
There are a lot of players out there. I have seen lots of people on dating apps who I know have partners. It’s a horrible world we live in where people don’t actually value the relationship they have. But this is why we need our FBI agent pals.
People make jokes about it, but it’s a valuable thing to have social media now. We can figure out if someone is a bad egg before we meet them and save the red lipstick and heartache.
Here’s a quick example: I saw that a guy I had been chatting with shared a mutual friend on Facebook, so I asked the friend what she knew. Turns out the guy cheated on everyone and spread a lot of STI’s. Safe to say, the guy did not meet me in the end. (I had a bad feeling about him anyway because of things I saw on his social media so my gut told me to ask my friend and I’m glad I did).
Of course, with the homework make sure you are cautious about who you’re speaking to. An ex partner isn’t exactly going to draw your dream man up in a beautiful light, so some of their opinions may be a little bit bias. But generally, you can find out a lot before a date if you really want to.
Lesson #9 – Know your boundaries straight away.
The beauty of apps like Bumble, is that they have options where you can put in what you’re actually looking for, I.e. a relationship, something casual, don’t know yet. This can help you find someone who wants the same things as you, but people will lie.
I’ve seen many guys who ‘want something serious’, who send me a picture of their wang at the first opportunity (just an FYI – I didn’t ask). Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, as sexual banter is part of the chemistry. But when you’re someone like me, who has a few reservations about that area due to past experiences, I don’t want someone who’s just going to talk about boning me 24/7. You have to have the sexual talk at the right levels. If it’s the only conversation they ever have with me, chances are high it’s all they want.
Acknowledge when someone is not on the same level as you and allow yourself to let them down and move on to someone who wants the same things.
Last Lesson: Every one is individual. Stop trying to analyse them all.
I’ve said a lot in this post about how people do certain things as a particular gender. But it’s also important to acknowledge that we are all human, and there are exceptions to the standard rule. Not every man thinks with his dick, not every woman wants to get married and have babies. For every person you talk to, remember that they are an individual. They might not be the same as the last one you spoke to. They might actually genuinely like you and still be shit at communication.
Every person is unique in their own way. The beauty of being human is that we all deal with things in our own way. So, although you should always be cautious and open. Remember that who you’re dating might not actually be what you anticipated (I mean this in either positive or negative, depends on your situation).
Men are never going to fully understand women. Women are never going to fully understand men. I’ve even had people who are gay or pan sexual tell me that even dating the same gender is a war zone and none of it makes sense. We need to stop trying to analyse the way a person is to see if they’re going to be better or worse than the ex.
Truth is, we are all different and we are also all going to act differently in various relationships. We grow and learn from our past ones, so an ex and a current partner is going to have different ideas of you. Let it be. So long as you are happy in what you’re doing and you are clear with what you want, enjoy it.
One day. We will all be the exception and not the rule. But until then, I’m going to leave this here…