My dearest readers, allow me to start with an apology. I realize I am an asshole for unceremoniously disappearing for over a year. I’d love to be able to blame my new job or the challenges I was having with the hosting servers (all true!) BUT the fact of the matter is, I dropped the ball and I’m sorry.
For a while I thought maybe I’d just never write again. I really wasn’t sure where to start after such a long hiatus and I spent much time debating the different ways to catch you all up on DC, Robbie, Mister 2 First Names and D. Ultimately I decided that a good old fashioned list of lessons learned would do the trick. Since this past year was probably the most critical year I’ve had in my long dating career, I am hoping that at least a few of my takeaways may be applicable (or entertaining) to you.
So now, without further ado, here are 14 dating do’s and don’t I’ve learned over the past 14 months.
1. Don’t kid yourself that you’re over someone you once loved after only 2 months. You may have moments of strength or clarity, but actually getting over someone takes much more time and perspective.
2. Do set arbitrary dating goals to get yourself back in the game. During the last week of 2014 I knew I was in a dating funk and wanted to do something about it. I decided to be methodical and declared that I would be going to go on one date a week in 2015. In order to accomplish this resolution, I immediately began messaging guys I had been ignoring on Tinder and, as it turns out, one of those guys ended up being someone really special.
3. Do go all in on the moment when it feels right. When I first started talking to DC, I was instantly intrigued. We exchanged some high-quality, witty banter over the course of a few days and, before I knew it, he was on his way up to NYC to meet me. 6 hours into our dinner date I was smitten. I found him super attractive, both physically and intellectually, and I was just so thrilled to be feeling something for someone other than Robbie. Soooo, despite my best judgment, I went for it and joined him for champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and more in his suite. And you know what, it was probably one of the best decisions of my life. The months that followed had some pretty incredible highlights and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
4. Don’t go on a date with your ex- boyfriend an hour before you go on a date with a guy you’re really into. Especially when your ex figures out you’re going on a date after. He will get you drunk, very drunk, and then proceed to text you about how he hopes you think of him when you sleep with the guy your dating. Not exactly the ideal pre date activity. Additionally, don’t go on a first date with a guy directly after spending 24 hours in your ex’s bed.
5. Don’t try to hang out “as friends” with your ex, at his home, while making cocktails. The idea of being friends with your recent ex is laughable enough. But if you ARE going to attempt this, going to his house, alone, is not going to be successful. It’s likely sometime around your second manhattan you’ll both begin talking about your feelings, which will quickly become dramatic and may or may not end in a makeout session and a fight.
5A. (RELATED) Don’t flip your hair and storm out of your exs’ apartment, no matter how crazy he is making you. Perhaps don’t do this at anyone’s apartment, but definitely not your ex’s. It will not result in warm fuzzy feelings OR sex.
6. Don’t hang out with your ex when he’s dating someone else. It may be tempting especially when you still have feelings for said ex and you think his replacement girl is laughable. And you may love hearing how you’re the only one who gets him and how great it is to talk to you blah blah blah… However, if and when you do think about getting back together with him, you’ll never be able to forget how very comfortable he was with kissing you while dating her.
7. Do go out of your way to be romantic. When DC came back for a visit on his birthday he told me “not to do anything at all, because spending time with me would be present enough.” And in the past, I would have probably just listened to him as I would have been afraid of fresking him out and coming on too strong when we were just getting to know each other. But I decided to ignore my anxiety and went out and got him a little cake, balloons, a fancy bottle of champagne and confetti – all of which was very well received. :)
8. Don’t hook up with a guy who is staying in the same hotel room as the other guy you just gave your number to. You will not appear classy… however, you will have a good story to tell.
9. Do be more open to second dates. I used to decline a second date if I wasn’t head over heels on the first date, as I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. But this past year I decided to be more open minded and see where things could go. While none of my second dates ended up being my ideal man, it’s a strategy I feel good about and one I intend to continue.
10. Do know when it’s time to walk away. Sometimes, even if you really, really love someone, you have no choice but to recognize that it just isn’t going to work. No matter how much has changed, or how much potential there may be, you have to listen to your gut when it says it’s over. I clearly spent a lot of time in the past year trying to find a place for Robbie in my life (see above as evidence) but in the end I realized I had tried everything and it just wasn’t meant to be. So I walked away and am proud of myself for finding the strength to cut him out completely and focus on moving on.
11. Do follow your heart, even when you think it might be wrong. I don’t think anyone thought what I was dong with Robbie was smart… He broke my heart once, so why wouldn’t he do it again. But you know what, he didn’t. Yes, it’s true, a lot of my time and energy went into things with him last year. But when it became clear to me that even after everything we had gone through we still weren’t going to work, I was the one to walk away. And while I am of course sad, I mostly just feel good about this decision and grateful for the perspective I now have.
12. Don’t get so stuck on what you think you want, that you miss what’s right in front of you. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The last few years have made it really clear to me what I do and don’t want in a partner, and yet sometimes I wonder if all this clarity might be a bad thing. I can’t help but think I could be missing out on something really good just because it doesn’t fit exactly the mold I think I need.
13. Don’t be surprised when you do actually fall out of love with someone. I saw D for the first time in over a year over Christmas break and it was soooo…. awkward. While his feelings have not changed, mine certainly have, and I felt so odd spending time with him. When I looked at him I could remembered the decade I spent crying, hoping and obsessing over him, and yet now I feel literally nothing. It’s actually laughable to think about the two of us together and I can’t believe how convinced I was that he was the one for me. I very much look forward to the day that I can say the same about Robbie.
14. Don’t waste your time when timing isn’t right. I was HUGELY into Mister 2 First Names (not just due to aforementioned names, although that was part of it). This guy was so incredibly attractive, sarcastic, smart and amazing in bed. In fact, my biggest complaint about him was that he was freakishly perfect, and thus quite intimidating. However, I would have happily gone all in on being intimidated, if he hadn’t told me he was trying to avoid getting into anything serious due to a recent break-up. Seeing as how I have been down that road before and it has gone poorly, I decided to skip it this time around and went on my merry way. That being said, if homeboy ever resurface I will be super pleased, because DAMN.
And there you have it, the 14 dating lessons I learned from my 14 months away. Friends, I promise I won’t be such a stranger and will write again soon. I’ll have you know that I have been very busily dating in order to provide you with good content, soooo you’re welcome.