As 2019 finally gets into gear, there’s a good chance you’ve been setting some goals for the new year — and maybe even for your love life. New Year’s resolutions and goals have a way of slipping away from us (maybe you’ve already abandoned yours). We set our sights too high or come up with something too specific. So let go of those unrealistic resolutions and try to embrace some goals that you might actually, you know, follow through on.
I had a friend who was convinced the way to get her love life on track was to go on three first dates per week, every week. By two months in, she seemed to hate everything about dating, but refused to give it up. Don’t be that person. Instead, focus on more general changes that will make your love life happier, healthier, and, yes, hopefully more productive.
Here are some dating goals that are actually attainable — and will help you feel in control of your dating life in 2019.
1. Swipe less, date more
I know that I’m not going to convince you to only swipe for 10 minutes a day — though I wish I could — so let’s make a more realistic goal: less swiping, more dating. Endless swiping might seem harmless or even entertaining, but it’s a total time suck and keeps you from actually meeting people. The same goes for messaging. Yes, you want to message with someone for long enough that you can be sure they won’t murder you over coffee, but then it’s time to go on a date. No matter how much you seem to spark and get on over messages, you don’t really know until you meet up — so stop swiping and start dating.
2. Leave things that aren’t working
This year, try to say goodbye to things that aren’t working. Whether it’s someone you’re messaging, a date that’s going badly, or a relationship that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, it’s time to ditch it. A lot of the time, we stay in things that aren’t working out of boredom or fear. We think we have nothing better to do or we’re too scared to face the prospect of being on our own, so we stay in something that isn’t actually happy — and sometimes isn’t healthy.
But you also don’t have to spend three hours on a date with someone who is so freaking boring you want to gouge your eyes out. You don’t have to keep dating someone who doesn’t spark joy — Marie Kondo this shit and only stick with things you actually want to bring into your future. The rest of it? Just let it go.
3. Be honest and open
Nobody’s perfect — and nobody behaves perfectly in their dating lives. But you can strive to be the best you can be. In relationships, whether it’s the early stages or years in, communication is important. Try to commit to being as honest as open as possible. No ghosting, no stashing, no hedging — just upfront candor. If something isn’t working, tell them. If you had a great time on a date and you want to see them again, tell them. If you just want to fuck for 10 hours straight and never see each other again, tell them.
So much angst and wasted time and energy come from not being open in our dating lives, so it’s time to treat others the way you want to be treated. Who knows? They may just start giving you the same respect and honesty you’re giving them.
4. Take breaks when you need them
If you’re someone who really prioritizes your love life, that’s totally cool — for some people it comes higher up the priority list than others. But that can also lead to a joyless, perfunctory dating experience, one where you feel like you’re caught in a loop you can’t break. Dating is supposed to be fun, remember? It’s supposed to improve your life. If you find that dating is feeling like a chore or a job — or if you feel like you dread going out and just don’t like anyone anymore — make a deal with yourself to step away. Dating isn’t going anywhere. You can take a time out, take a deep breath, and come back when you have a more positive attitude and it feels fun again.
5. Trust your gut
Finally, if you can do one thing for your dating life this year, it should be trusting your gut. That doesn’t mean saying, “I THINK I’M IN LOVE SO I’M IGNORING ALL ADVICE AND COMMON SENSE AND JUST GOING FOR IT!!” Your gut knows when something isn’t working. Your gut knows if you’re moving too fast. Your gut knows when what your friends are saying is true. Trusting your gut means paying attention to how you feel — is it defensive? Settled? Content? Anxious? Rather than just following a plan set out for you by your mother or competing with your friends’ relationships, tune into how you’re feeling about a situation. Because that’s so much more important.
There are a lot of different ways you can approach your love life — and there’s not a right or a wrong way to do it. As long as you feel confident, empowered, and like you’re making the right choices for you, that’s what counts — not a certain number of dates or reaching a certain relationship goal. So make 2019 the year of dating smarter, healthier, and, ultimately, happier. And when in doubt, do what feels right and screw the rest.
Originally posted on Bellesa Collective