This will be the final post of 2016, as I plan to spend the next couple of weeks celebrating the holidays with family and friends. I wish you all a merry season and all the best in the New Year! xoxo
How about we make 2017 the year when all of you who want committed relationships get your wish? Just wishing isn’t enough, so here are twelve strategic monthly resolutions for dating success next year. Follow these guidelines and get what you want!
January: Clearly define your objective for the year.
What do you want, exactly? A committed relationship leading to marriage? A cute boyfriend to do fun stuff with? Or something in between? Think about what you’re ready for emotionally, and what you’re capable of sustaining logistically. Consider all the life factors that may influence your objective:
- Emotional state, especially unresolved issues.
- Work commitments, including hours, travel and potential changes next year.
- Satisfaction with your living arrangement and location.
- Other personal goals for the year.
One of the best strategies when you’re looking to date seriously is to clue in friends and family. There’s no need to feel sheepish about letting those close to you know you’re interested in finding a relationship with the right person. Think of it as a sort of Linked In for relationships. The bigger you make your network, the more new people you’ll meet. Plus, you’ll have those who know and care about you doing some selection and filtering on your behalf. That saves you time and energy.
March: Consider online dating.
I hear a lot of complaints about online dating, but the numbers don’t lie. Nearly a quarter of American marriages are between people who met online. My own daughter just got engaged to a wonderful guy she met on Tinder a couple of years ago!
The key to success online is using your time wisely for only the most promising opportunities. Try out several different apps to see which one feels most comfortable for your personal style of interacting and meeting people.
April: Use good filters extensively.
Sit down and make a list of your “must haves” and a list of your dealbreakers. Make a separate list of red flags and resolve to immediately disqualify anyone who shows two or more. Abide by these lists scrupulously. Your future life partner is the person who ticks all the boxes – but remember, your lists have to be about the important stuff, not superficial stuff. Zero in on the qualities that will serve your relationship well for several decades.
It is always less costly to pass up a good opportunity than to get entangled with a dead end Romeo. Avoiding the wrong guys is your most important strategy this year.
May: Take risks, be vulnerable.
You can’t find happiness, much less love, without taking considerable personal risk. If you aren’t willing to take a chance on getting your heart broken, you won’t find a good relationship this year. Or next year, or the one after that. To get the incredible reward of being in love with someone and having them love you back, you’ve got to lay yourself bare emotionally.
June: Be authentic.
Drop all pretense and artifice. Don’t ever pretend to be less interested than you are. Avoid playing games. Whatever you do, forget about trying to get the upper hand. Never deliberately try to give another person the wrong impression. I promise you, it backfires 100% of the time.
I’m not suggesting you go all confessional after three dates. Keep your own counsel as appropriate so that your new relationship has room to breathe and grow without pressure.
July: Respect yourself and set boundaries.
You may find yourself being treated poorly by someone who turns out to be not so great. That’s where dealbreakers come in. But even the most well meaning boyfriend or girlfriend will screw up sometimes. Maybe it’s a lie of omission, or a situation where they were inconsiderate with your feelings. It’s important that you stand up for yourself and point out unacceptable behavior as necessary. You should also be prepared to respond respectfully when you blow it and get called out.
August: Delay sex until commitment.
“I don’t do casual.”
“I only have sex with boyfriends.”
“I want to take the physical part slow until I know where we’re headed.”
However you choose to phrase it, delaying sex until you’re dating is totally reasonable – and smart. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. In fact, if you get pressure on this front, drive on. No man who wants to date you will balk at this request; in fact, it will be just the opposite. A guy who wants to be your boyfriend will be thrilled that you’re very selective when it comes to having sex.
September: Share the responsibility.
Meet your partner halfway in all areas of your relationship. That includes financially, emotionally and physically. When two people are focused on giving, no one feels shortchanged and starts focusing on getting. If you find yourself feeling that you’re making most of the effort in a relationship, that’s a sign this is not the right relationship for you at this time.
October: Fully commit.
Choose and communicate your desire to be loyal, faithful and loving. Make sure you make it very clear that you believe what you have is very special, and that you look forward to being together into the future. This commitment doesn’t necessarily mean marriage soon, but it does mean building something very meaningful and going all in.
November: Make the relationship a priority.
Every. Single. Day. When your life is truly entwined with someone else’s, there’s no checking out or taking a break. Even if you’re away, you can and should take time to connect. In fact, the times when you’re not available are when you need to offer extra reminders that you’re thinking of your partner.
Sometimes people say they don’t want the obligation of a relationship, that relationships are very time consuming. They’re right. A good relationship is as much a part of your life as anything – or should be. Make it a top priority that takes precedence over all other relationships.
By the way, I don’t mean you shouldn’t see your own friends or do your own thing sometimes. Research shows that couples who retain some independent friendships and interests are more satisfied in their relationships.
December: Enjoy your relationship.
Be grateful for your intimate connection and enjoy it! Don’t fret – anxiety compromises even the best relationships. If you tend to be anxious, work toward getting the support and reassurance you need in ways that don’t frustrate your partner. (As someone who tends to be a bit anxious myself, I speak from experience here. I never made anything better by worrying.) Make the most of what you’ve built day by day – if the relationship is right for you, the future will take care of itself.
By the way, the process isn’t necessarily this linear – and progress doesn’t automatically happen with the calendar. But these resolutions for dating success will serve you well if you implement them. If you put in the work starting now, 2017 should be a great dating year!