Sunday, 8 September 2013

Dating & Relationships - Advice & Information

Perhaps some day I will formalize this.  Perhaps I will write it a bit nicer and fancy it up a bit.  But for now, I'm just pointing out a few quick little things that would have been helpful for me to know when, at the age of nineteen, I started dating for the first time.  These are a few of my hastily-written tidbits of advice.  If you want to add to it, please add your two cents in comments!  Thank you!

Social cues in dating are complicated and often very subtle.  I don't know how to read all of them.  And that's OK.  It's not something you can learn overnight.  If you are uncertain and feel comfortable to do so: ASK what the other person is trying to tell you.

Make sure you are comfortable with the person you are dating.  Consider that you'll have to spend probably an hour or so on a date with them.  Are you comfortable with this person for that long? 

Eye contact is usually expected for the date.  Are you comfortable with that?  Especially for a long-ish period of time?

Be prepared for small talk.  Small talk can be uncomfortable for a lot of people, but it usually does come up on dates, especially at first.  Be ready.  

Everyone thinks dating is hard.  Remember that.  Sometimes you can feel awkward and uncomfortable and alone while navigating the complicated world of dating.  But you're not alone.  Other people have experienced the same suffering as you have.  

Really consider whether you feel ready to date before you choose to do so.  "Wanting a boyfriend/girlfriend" is not a good reason to date.  

Practice!  Dating is really socially complex and it can help to "role play" a date, either by yourself or with someone else, to practice and start to feel comfortable with the kind of behaviors and conversations that come with dating. 

Make sure the person you are dating is nice to you and shares your values.  It can be difficult to assess whether someone is interested in you, but if they are unkind to you in any way or do anything you are not comfortable with, they are probably not right for you.  

There are many levels of intimacy, such as holding hands, hugging, kissing, and sexual contact.  Which level you engage in is dependent on various factors, some of which are complicated.  

Consider with yourself and/or discuss with someone you trust whether you are old enough / mature enough / ready for sexual contact.  Be sure to educate yourself and your partner about sex.  Be sure to have an open and honest, frank discussion about sexual contact before you engage in it.  If you are uncomfortable in any way, you should not engage in this behavior.  Remember to always practice safe sex and use condoms properly.