Dating in the 21st century is easier than ever, yet finding love is still exhausting. Equipped with algorithms made by data scientists and apps by developers, the perfect partner still hasn’t come across our digital screens. This is because the perfect partner is not online — they actually don’t exist at all. The biggest dating advancement today is not the ability to find a date, but learning how to date.
Here we begin to understand the meaning of loving another imperfect person, difference of giving and receiving love, and importance of loving ourselves first.
Be aware of how we, all of us, are fundamentally flawed. Each one of our pasts has bullies and exes, building up a substantial wall we must learn how to scale and conquer. Dating is laying siege to a castle protecting a vulnerable heart. For this reason, we have the tricky worry of opening ourselves completely and remaining a seductive mystery. Part of love is trusting another with your emotions, that a partner will address them justly and not use them against you or the relationship. When the time comes, be open to what the other has to share and recognize its value. This makes the difference of feeling like burden or a treasure.
In a world full of options, the right partner may have already passed by. We are leaving underdeveloped bonds behind when speed-dating through swipes and thumbnails. In an era of distraction, shallow judgements made online carry-on to in-person interaction. There is the subconscious thought that the grass may be greener or the man taller elsewhere. Look at the individual across the table, the one you came with, and give them a chance. You might learn something wonderful.
Growing out of childhood, we still seek familial love. We know this as unconditional and direct support — the kind given by our close family with little expectation. Since we are raised receiving love, the act of giving love is a new and difficult challenge. There is a chance of someone not reciprocating an invested effort, but that’s okay. Dating must become less transactional and more generous by both individuals. Don’t be a score-keeper; make your kindness authentic.
Love hurts, especially when you’re not ready for it. A lot of potential relationships are victim to bad timing. Take a moment to reflect on where you are in life. In this introspective scan, list your main priorities and visualize how a partner may fit in. If you’re moving, looking for a job, or recently single, evaluate whether or not you are emotionally available. Once you feel responsible over the moving parts in your own life, you can be supportive to the wants and needs of another person.
Dating while you yourself are unprepared for a relationship is like a police lineup: you might be picking an innocent someone as guilty for provoking jealousy from your own insecurity. To avoid misdirected blame, it is very important to crave connection for the right reasons. Be aware of what you are looking for and see if those needs can be satisfied another way. Are you feeling lonely? Learn how to enjoy your own company. Do you need validation? Find out why you feel inadequate. Work, love, and live from a place of security.
One thing is for certain: give yourself love and the rest will be extra. More is better, especially if it’s something you can share. If you are whole, what you give will not leave you empty. If you are confident, you won’t need someone to complete you. You will love fiercely and freely once you maximize your own potential as a person.
Ultimately, a relationship is a joint effort. Share these pieces of knowledge with your friend or current partner; discuss which areas you might want to improve. Think about how a recent date may have been passed on early because of quick judgement or distraction. And remember: make a promise to get acquainted and fall in love with yourself first, so you’re prepared to give without regret.