Finding dating tips for women can seem easy, but what really works? Take these five pieces of dating advice from a woman who’s seen it all.
When I got married to my very best friend at age 35, I never in a million years imagined that just a few short years later, I would be in the dating world again to see if I could have a second chance at love.
But when I was 39 years old, life threw me a gigantic curve-ball. My beautiful husband left for work one morning, and never came home. They found him collapsed on the floor. A massive heart attack. His short life was over at age 46, and my life would never be the same again.
It would take me almost 4 years to begin dating again. After an initial rocky relationship fizzled, I jumped onto the dating sites and started searching. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I had no clue. I just knew that I wanted love again, because love is really everything.
I kept trying, but I kept finding men that were emotionally unavailable to me. Or who lied to me. Or who claimed to be divorced but were actually married. Or who would tell me they loved me and tell me how beautiful and funny and amazing I am, and then disappear without a trace or explanation. Or who were really good at making out in their car with me, but much better at not keeping promises or keeping their word.
I dated and dated and dated. I got my heart broken several times. But I kept trying.
And then, about 2 months ago, it happened. I met my next great love story.
We are insanely happy together, and I have become one of those annoying people who everyone hates because I am giddy in love. We are that couple that people roll their eyes at, and yell: “Yuck! Get a room!”
We are blissfully joyful, and very aware that life can change in a split second. I never thought I would fall in love a second time, and that it could be so magical, a second time. But I did. And I am.
I was there for almost three years in the dating world, and I know how challenging it can be, and how much you just want to hang it all up and say: “No more.” So before you do that, please take a few minutes to read these five hopeful dating tips. And then get out there and find your next great love story.
1. Accept that not every guy will like you.
There are lots of single men out there, and lots of single women. There will be plenty of men who you just don’t connect with. There will be guys that find you abrupt, or too tall, or too fat, or not enough fat, or too much personality, or not enough personality, or who hate your laugh, or who don’t like the annoying way you breathe in and out.
Please do not take ANY of it personally. This is easier said than done, of course, but if you can find a way to know this upfront, and not let yourself get upset or depressed everytime you go on a date that doesn’t work out, you will save yourself a TON of heartache. Trust me on this.
During my first month on the dating sites, I had a date that was pleasant but it was clear there was no real connection. The next day, I texted him to politely thank him for the date. He responded by texting back: “We will not be going out again. I don’t date fat girls, and you are fat. You don’t look fat in your profile picture, but you are fat in person.” After I got done crying for an hour and denouncing all men forever, I texted him back: “Thank you for that lovely text message. It’s funny that you say I don’t look fat in my pictures. You don’t look like an asshole in your pictures, but clearly, you are indeed an asshole. Enjoy your future dates.”
Don’t waste any time trying to figure out why someone doesn’t like you or find you attractive, or analyzing to death why you didn’t get asked out on a second date. It’s a numbers game, and the answer to the “why” is always the same: he just wasn’t the one for you. If you can keep repeating that to yourself during the dating process, you will have a much better time.
2. Remember that dating should feel fun.
When I first started my path into the dating world, I was enjoying myself. Then somewhere between month five and year two, I began to lose my stamina. It felt so robotic and pointless. It’s easy to feel this way. Dating is exhausting and stressful. But it really shouldn’t have to be.
So if this starts happening to you, take a break. Put your dating site profiles on hold, or tell your friends to stop setting you up with folks for awhile, because you are “on hiatus” and need a break. Then, when you are ready and not feeling like you’d rather poke your eyeballs out with multiple forks rather than go on one more stupid date, get back into saddle and start thinking about what looks good for lunch.
Dating isn’t supposed to be painful. It shouldn’t feel like going to the dentist or like a series of job interviews. And yes, believe me, I know it’s hard to think in terms of “fun” when you are out with “here’s another boring story about my super boring job” guy. Or “I know I told you I was divorced, but what I meant to say was not entirely separated, and by the way, my wife and I still live together, so really, I’m kind of just a married dude looking for a side piece” guy.
When faced with men such as this, “fun” is the last thing you are thinking about it. But remember what was said above — this is a numbers game. So while you will go out with some real duds that aren’t really worth your time, you will also meet some truly lovely and genuine people. In my time spent in the dating world, I ended up on a few first or second dates with guys, that, for different reasons, things just didn’t work out between us. But we remained friends. I had lots of laughs and lots of fun with some truly quality men. And you will too.
My advice for a first date? Keep it short, or at least PLAN it short. Dinner can feel too stressful and too long, if you’re stuck with someone you don’t want to be with. Meeting for coffee or lunch is great because if there is an obvious connection, you can mutually decide to extend the date and go somewhere else afterwards. And if there isn’t, then you’re only out one cup of coffee. Keep things light. Try and laugh. Have a good time.
3. Take each date for what it is — a date.
There were lots of times when I thought a first date went very well, only to be blown off afterwards, or not asked out for a second date. I would think to myself, “What happened? What did I do wrong? Why didn’t he like me? I thought this was really going somewhere.”
Many times, I got so lost inside of my own expectations and perception of what was happening, that I wasn’t really seeing things through my date’s eyes. I don’t know why that one guy never called me. I don’t know why I wasn’t asked out again. There could be a variety of reasons. But the bottom line is this: it was just one date. He has no obligation or responsibility to take it any further, unless he has the desire to do so.
Sure, the way that some guys handle how they end things with a woman is extremely sucky, but it doesn’t change the fact that they have no obligation to go forward. And if someone has decided they don’t want to go forward with you, then why would you spend even one more minute of your energy on thinking about them?
It’s a date — not a lifetime commitment. An opportunity to meet and talk with someone new. That’s it. Look at all your dates that way, with that simplicity, and you will start to let go of any pre-conceived or unfair expectations.
4. Make a list to define your needs, wants, and deal-breakers.
After a couple of years of off and on dating, and a few non-lasting relationships, I started to notice a pattern. I kept ending up with men who were, in one way or another, emotionally unavailable to me. Not mature enough for love. Not ready for love. Still hung up on their ex-wife or girlfriend. Dating me with half their heart, waiting for something better to come along.
One day, a good friend of mine — who happens to also be a widower who has recently found love again and is now remarried — gave me some excellent dating advice. He told me to make a list that has 3 categories:
- Things You Want In a Partner
- Things You Require In a Partner
- Things That Are Deal-breakers For You
For example, one thing on my “Want List” was that I love men who have a passion for food and like to cook. It’s not mandatory, but I like that. Something on my “Deal-breaker List” was anyone who is violent or abusive in any way, emotionally or physically. I have been sexually assaulted and manipulated in my past, so it is imperative that I feel 100% safe and protected around my partner. Something that was on my “Require” list was someone that would understand that I will love and honor my late husband forever, and that he will always be a piece of me, and I need a partner who isn’t threatened by that.
After the list has been made, my friend then told me the important part: “Now, if you want to keep dating people just to date and to get the experience of dating, then every guy you meet does not have to fit everything on your list. However, if you want to find love, and that is your goal, then you need to decide to never again date anyone who doesn’t fit every single requirement on your list.”
I made my list back in April. By June, I met my new love. When you know what you truly want, and you put it out there, it will come to you when the time is right.
5. Never change yourself for anyone else.
This could be the most important piece of advice, not just for dating, but in life. It is very easy to feel insecure or to compare yourself to others, when dating. When you get rejected, it’s easy to feel like there must be something wrong with you. Please know there is nothing wrong with you. Please know that every single thing that makes you who you are, is the exact reason that your person, will be in love with you.
If you lose yourself in the process of dating, then your person will never find you. Never lose yourself. The person who loves you, will do so unconditionally, and will adore every aspect of you.
And the truth is, once you are comfortable inside of yourself and in your own skin, that energy becomes contagious, and that Is when the one who is perfect for you, will be waiting, just around the corner.
With these five dating tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to your next great love story.
Whether you are a widowed person yourself (like me), or a divorcee, or maybe simply a single woman who is still searching for that perfect someone for you, I hope this friendly advice can help. I’ve been there. And I truly believe that you can find love again, too. Happy dating!