Cinderella’s kind heart found her prince, Carrie Bradshaw’s desire for consuming love united her with Big, and Allie’s determination for peace in her heart lead her to her soulmate Noah. For anyone who has seen Cinderella, Sex and the City, or The Notebook, you probably walked away with hope that one day you too will find your true love. A romantic by definition is “a person with romantic beliefs or attitudes.” Today’s challenge of staying true to that with online dating almost seems impossible. People are judged on profile pictures, stats, and the new normal is a “right” swipe as Tinder’s guidelines go. And if you are in the rare category such as myself as someone who has never had any type of online dating profile, understanding the tech world is almost as difficult as learning a new language.
So while some agree to letting Match.com or Loveawake set them up, there are old school romantics who at the same time are hoping to knock into their other half at the coffee shop. The online daters are trusting a greater source can ignite the spark. The old fashioned romantics go on fate that one day, they will stumble into the arms of the one they are meant to be with forever. Both have the same goal of eventually finding their soulmate, the one they can’t live without. No matter which group we fall into, there are guidelines that can help us along the way. I have learned these lessons through mistakes, through friend’s stories, and by watching and reading any and all things relating to love. I am an advocate of it, a spokesperson for it, and a cheerleader that believes we all should eventually settle down with someone that makes us a better person.
Why would we not want that in our life after all?
A Romantic’s Guide to Dating
Be Confident with the Type of Heart You Have
We all have different hearts and knowing how each of ours works is the best tool in guiding it towards love. We can’t try to bend our own heart’s boundaries to try something it can’t handle. An online dater may not have the patience for fate and an old school romantic may not want to let technology chart it’s course. In a world of billions, both have the option and luxury of letting it happen by their own preference. Our personalities play a huge role in how we take care of that organ on a dating level more than we might all like to admit. Trying to date without knowing the essentials your heart requires is like trying to fly a plane with no training. We will crash to put it simply. We will also invest time into something far less than we deserve.
The irony of confidence is that is comes from within. Dating is hard enough without second guessing what each of our hearts might want in a spouse. So before we say yes to that next guy or girl, ask ourselves, what’s on our needs list?
Date When You’re Ready Not Lonely
I find myself saying this to a lot of my friends lately. It’s not said enough! No matter if we just got our heart broken or are the only person in our friends group who is single, there is a season of love for everyone. We just need to be truly ready. There is a country song that has a line…”she doesn’t love you, she’s just lonely” and it speaks a lot of truth to how some of us go about dating. Admitting we might be seeking company rather than actual love is easier said than done. I definitely get it…the holiday parties where so many of our friends are coupled up and we’re afraid to show up without a date. But the other side to that is, if we did show up alone to that party, we are allowing another single person to spot us much easier across the room…kinda a neat concept huh?
What often happens is when we settle for anyone to sit beside us or hold our hand, we are missing out on that person who might be dying to meet us and actually value holding our hand. The reality of when we take up space in a heart that’s just out of loneliness is we do far more damage than we realize. We don’t mean to, we just wanted someone…anyone. Dating when you are ready means listening to our own heart not just going with the norm of others. We all need to learn a little more self-contentment before investing time in another’s life.
Some might ask, how do we know when we are ready? Well, intuition and knowing that we have the ability to bring joy to someone’s life is a good parameter to judge that by. When we can say this and actually mean it, we should go after it and give it all we have got!
Never Be Jealous of Someone Else’s Love Story
We have all been there, the phone call or text that has the word engagement in it. The invitation with two names that will soon become one, and watching the wedding dance that leaves us lingering for that same moment. These are standard progression steps of any successful dating courtship that blossomed into more and yet when we get their news, how often is our first thought…’when is it going to be my turn? Where is my moment? I’m a good person, right?’ Justifying our own right to have that should not be our focus. In fact, it only brews resentment towards the whole dating process altogether. No matter how they met, whether it was online or organically, they deserved it! Keeping that in mind will steer us in the right direction for our own love story.
While it may be easier for the more soft hearted to fully embrace those wonderful celebrations for their friends, we should all hope that for each other! What helps is to remember that not every great moment in the world can happen at the same time. Not everyone can fall in love on the same day. At the Golden Globes this year, George Clooney said this of love, “It’s a humbling thing when you find someone to love. Even better when you’ve been waiting your whole life, and when you’re life is 53 years… Amai, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.” Now imagine how many friends or family members own love stories he had to cheer on before he got his own season of love?
Just as we might seek guidance in how to be a better cook or better in business, we all can learn a thing or two in how to navigate the dating world a little better. These three guidelines I hope help any of us who are still in that in between stage of opening our hearts and giving it away to one person. There’s a quote that talks about finding your own tribe and loving them hard. The same goes for a romantic relationship. Don’t underestimate the achievement of dating to falling in love, it is a rare thing in today’s society!