Wednesday, September 25, 2013

my top ten biggest dating mistakes

Now that I have about ten years perspective on my dating history, it's easier to look back and pinpoint all the major screw-ups on my part: things I said and didn't say, things I did and didn't do, times when I was too forgiving and times I wasn't forgiving enough.  Hindsight is definitely twenty/twenty.  So, I've decided to pay my relationship mistakes forward by sharing them with you.  Hopefully they will shed some light on a dating dilemma you're currently dealing with.

That said, let me preface this post by reminding y'all that because I'm married now it doesn't mean I have all (or any of) the answers.  I'm still making mistakes left and right, they're just of a different variety now and I'm reserving them for a future post.  Okay, here we go:

10. I dated just for the sake of dating.  It had been after a year-long dry spell.  My besties both had boyfriends and I was tired of feeling like a third wheel.  So I talked myself into liking a guy I wasn't actually into and dated him purely because it was better than dating no one.  I met his entire family, all of his friends, convinced him to move out of his parents house (for the first time in his life, yikes), celebrated holidays with him, held his hand in public, and the whole time in the back of my mind-- I knew I didn't have feelings for him.  Looking back, I wish I just spent that time enjoying the fact that I was single instead of forcing a relationship with someone that was wrong for me.

9.  I had the "talk" too early.  At the first sign of inconsistency with a guy, I'd panic and ask the dreaded question: "What are we doing?"  As Evan has taught us, guys HATE this question.  And if you feel the need to ask it, it probably means that things aren't going to pan out anyway.  I wish I was wise enough to know that a guy's tendency to cancel dates or be inconsistent with calls or texts meant his heart wasn't really in it.  (in my defense, this was before the book He's Just Not That Into You was published.)

8. I was too thoughtful, too soon.  If a guy acted like my boyfriend, then I assumed it was okay to act like his girlfriend and....treat them to a really nice dinner for his birthday or leave a care package at his door after only one month of dating.  Apparently, this kind of behavior scares men off.  And I know what you're thinking: But Saaara, if he was really into you-- it wouldn't have scared him off.  EXACTLY.  This means I was doing ultra-sweet things for guys who were secretly not that interested in me. 

7. I tried to stay friends with guys post-dating.  Here's the dirty secret no one likes to talk about when they stay friends with an ex.  One person is only going along with the friendship, because they're secretly hoping things will work things out and you'll get back together.  I've been on both sides of the equation. Remaining friends, going out to dinner, playing it cool and DYING on the inside when my ex casually referenced they were dating someone new.  And on the flip side, staying friends with an ex and feeling incredibly guilty when I moved on with someone else.  I'm not saying you can never be friends with someone you've dated, I'm saying it shouldn't be attempted immediately after a break up.  I'd say give it roughly twenty years.

6. I wasn't adventurous enough.  I'm not saying I should have gone home with any tall dark handsome stranger I met who could have turned out to be a serial killer BUT there were a few interesting offers I got from guys I knew were perfectly safe that I turned down, because well, I was kind of a prude.  Looking back, I should have said yes more than I said no. 

5. I was passive aggressive.  Okay, I'll admit-- still working on this one.  But when I was upset with a guy and they asked me what was wrong, I was the queen (okay, am the queen) of saying things like: "nothing" or "I'm just tired" because as far as I was concerned, they should have already known what was wrong.  To me it was so obvious.  But to guys, nothing is obvious.  I mean, they actually buy the "I'm tired" excuse when being tired never actually turned anyone into a cranky psycho-bitch (being hungry does.)  Part of me also chose the passive-aggressive route, because I didn't want to be mad.  If I admitted I was, I might seem high maintenance or needy.  It would have been so much easier to just say "I'm upset, because ____________." 

4. I ignored the signs.  I wanted so badly for the guy to be interested that I ignored the fact that he expertly avoided spending the night, or took Nyquil and fell asleep and forgot to call me back, or that all his ex-girlfriends were Chinese, or that he called me and begged me to meet him at a bar only to be flirting with another girl once I arrived, or that he seemed to take a lot of anti-depressants. (Note: that wasn't all the same guy).  The reason it's easy to ignore the signs is that most guys aren't inconsiderate  the whole way through and sprinkle in a few nice moments here and there. I wish I'd known then that 1 nice thing + 2 shitty things + 1 nice thing = a shit sandwich.

3. I spent too much time wallowing in the pain of a failed relationship.  Per yesterday's post, I believe in mourning a relationship and not moving on too quickly, but I had the ability to romanticize an ex for YEARS.  While he was moving on and falling in love, I avoided dating other guys, because being with someone else meant I was putting the final nail in the coffin of the relationship.  I should have realized that the relationship ending was the final nail.

2. I put my friends before my boyfriend.  As women, we put a lot of pressure on each other to abide by the chicks before dicks rule at all times.  We need to stop the insanity.  There are times when it's perfectly acceptable to put your significant other before your girlfriends.  And this is coming from a person who can't stand girls who go MIA the moment they're dating someone.  I was so afraid of turning into that girl, I went too far the other way at the expense of certain relationships.

1. I went for the old instead of the new.  I made this mistake on multiple occasions.  There was a new guy on the horizon that I liked, but I didn't pursue things with him, because an ex suddenly came out of the woodwork.  Here's the thing.  When you're happy and meeting new guys, exes will always resurface.  And when they resurface, they'll pour their heart out and tell you everything you've wanted to hear.  It's some weird law of the universe we'll never escape from.  But don't fall for it.  If it didn't work out with them once, it probably won't work out with them again and you'll end up kicking yourself for letting another romance slip through your fingers.

Any relationship mistakes you guys have made you'd like to get off your chest?  Comment below! 

6 comments:

  1. I made #1 last night. Was totally worth it though. Oops :)

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  2. #2 is gospel. I HATE those girls who go all black ops when they get a boyfriend. and now that i have one I find it really hard to find that balance. especially because my best friend out of the 7 of us really close knit girls is the only one not dating or married. I dont wanna diss her but how do i tell her i dont want to go to the bar because im supposed to net flix binge with my bf without sounding like a dick?

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  3. oh, saaara, where were you with your #4, #3 and #1 advice, like, a few years ago? I COULD HAVE USED THIS. very much.

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  4. Love this post. All 10 are spot on.

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  5. Yay! So glad you guys enjoyed the post! And Kelly Blue, I totally agree-- I agonize over the same thing.

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  6. I just re entered the dating game after 10 years. I just made the mistake #9. Hah, got blown off really hard, he said he would get back to me that evening and I never heard from him (days have gone by). You and I both know I will never hear from him again, and it will be awkward when I bump into him at the gym.
    We went on a few dates (3 total) fooled around...I got emotional and wanted to clarify "what is this" because he started flaking out on dates and wasn't responding. I accused him of not responding.. I did all the needy demanding things that I could do to result in being blown off. Ouch. Hopefully I got that lesson out of the way.

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