Date Better: The Secret To Dating In 2019
If you’re just joining us, I went through a breakup in December. And it sucked. And was hard for a while. And still sometimes is because he’s now dating a girl within his group of friends who I had a visceral gut reaction to from day 1 that wouldn’t subside and talked to him about several times and stated my concern and he’d assure me it was all good and she’s “not the kind of person he’d ever want to date,” AND YET — HERE WE ARE. BUT THAT’S A DIFFERENT STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY* (*my book).
Since that breakup, I made a shift in my approach to dating. In truth, I feel I’ve been shifting my approach to dating for years now. However, every time I think I’ve learned my lesson in my approach, I find myself in yet another dead-end situation that I could’ve easily gotten out of much sooner. Emotions and catching feelings is hard, y’all. I think we can all agree on that. You may have a secure game plan in mind for exactly how you plan to tackle a situation, but once you get your feelings involved, all hell will break loose if you let it.
This week, my friend told me I had to listen to the “Is Love Fucked?” episode of one of our favorite podcasts, Girls Gotta Eat. The guest was Mark Manson, who is not only the author of the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck and his new book, Everything Is Fucked, but also the absolute genius behind the well-known and incredibly insightful article “FUCK YES OR NO.” The article has been around for a minute, having been published in 2013, but it's like Seinfeld — ageless and always relevant. If you never got around to reading it the past 6 years, I implore you to do so right now (but, like, read it then come back here. Duh). If you’ve read it and your memory of it is hazy or if you’re just really into what I’m about to say on this blog post and don’t want to leave me (totally get it), I’ll sum it up for you real fast. In the article, Mark basically says that, with dating, if your general sentiment about the person isn’t FUCK YES, then it’s no. It’s literally that simple. He discusses the “grey area” and how so many of us end up there because we’re willing to make excuses for the people we’re dating or, worst yet, we’re willing to settle for good enough when really, we should be like
The Girls Gotta Eat podcast episode was fucking epic. Every word of it resonated with me so deeply, and only further fueled my fire to share the shift in my dating approach with you guys. I was walking Cece as I listened to it and saying “YES! EXACTLY. OMG.” over and over, out loud, in public, and didn’t give a care. Of course, I want all singles to listen to this, but I also think non-singles should, too so you lot have an idea of WTF dating is like in 2019 and what your friends and family are going through. Try a little empathy, ya know?
So. Since December, my new approach to dating has been this: Be blunt.
In fact, I’ve deemed this year my Year of Bluntness™.
Dating is hard because people fucking suck. And it’s only been made increasingly more difficult because of technology and the ability to “ghost,” “leave someone on read,” FIND THEIR WHEREABOUTS VIA “FIND YOUR FRIENDS” WTF?, and the endless assembly line of options. I heard Ester Perel say once that, back in the day, dating was simpler because you had no freedom. You were told who you were, what you were going to be, and who you were going to be with. So while choice and freedom were scarce, security and assurance were rampant.
Today, we have so much fucking freedom and choice, that our security and assurance has plummeted. Did I go to the right school? Choose the right major? Move to the right city? Take the right job? Marry the right guy? Buy the right house? We are a generation who is constantly questioning ourselves and our decisions—walking “what if” machines. Therefore, the introduction of dating apps and the constant stream of options they offer with a simple swipe left or right has only fed the beast that is casual, non-committed, “let’s move slow” dating that we deal with today.
When it comes to dating over the last 8 years of my life, I’ve tried every approach: being demure, being chill, being quieter, being louder, being more prude, being my true sexual self, being a bitch, being overly nice. Essentially, being whatever I thought the guy I was dating at the time wanted and what he’d best respond to. And guess what? None of it worked. I’m still single. Sure, some approaches would work for a time, but I’d ultimately grow miserable knowing I wasn’t being me, asking for what I wanted, or with whom I should be. Like I said up there, every time I think I’ve learned my lesson, I pull some shit on myself which is what I ended up doing in my last long-term relationship. I knew from the jump that this guy couldn’t/wouldn’t provide me the mental, physical, or emotional things I literally NEED in order to operate at 100% in a relationship. But I let my feelings, desperation, and delusion get the best of me, convincing myself that however I was acting or he was acting was justified by some greater cause of love or that I was expecting/asking for too much. That maybe I was ungrateful, needy, and unworthy of the kind of love I’m in search of.
All of this could’ve been avoided if I had simply stepped back when things got rocky and asked myself “FUCK YES OR NO?” Instead, I clung on for dear life and ultimately became miserable in the relationship because of it. So, when I decided to dip my toe back into the dating pool in February, I promised myself I’d do one simple thing:
I’m done pussy-footing around. I’m done with guys being indecisive and “wanting to take things slow” (because that’s just another way of saying “I don’t want to commit to shit right now, but I’m more than happy to see you when I see you/when it’s good for me and get some sex if you’ll let me”). I’m done with a complete lack of urgency. I’m tired of pretending like I’m okay with SO many things I’m NOT okay with and lying to them and myself about it. I’m tired of sitting there, theorizing 6 different ways to respond to a text without rocking the boat when, really, I should say what I mean.
“No, it’s NOT okay that you’re running 25min late for no real reason.”
“Oral isn’t your thing? Tight. See you literally never.”
“No, I can’t hang out tonight because it’s 5pm and you just asked me if I can hang out tonight.”
“Actually, I need an answer now on whether or not we’ll be seeing each other this weekend because I like to plan ahead.”
“Yes, I’m really not going to return the favor because you just asked me if I was going to, mere seconds after getting me off and you’re a fucking asshole.”
“NO. IT’S NOT COOL IF WE ‘TAKE THINGS SLOW’ BECAUSE SLOW TO MEN IS THE MOST CASUAL, NON-COMMITTAL BULLSHIT. I’M TIRED OF NOT FEELING DESIRED OR LIKE A HOT COMMODITY. I’M NOT HERE AT YOUR LEISURE. JUST SAY YOU AREN’T THAT INTO IT, YOU PUSS.”
I know what I want. I know who I want. And I’m over pandering to men who don’t. So, any man I’ve come into romantic contact with since February, I’ve been blunt. And honest. And completely forthright. “I’m ready for my person. I’ve dated a lot and know what I’m looking for and what I’m avoiding. I’m not fucking around anymore. I want my partner in crime. I want a committed relationship. I want the real deal.” These are all examples of the things I’ve said over the last few months, and it’s already proving itself to be a fantastic approach. Sure, I cut things off quicker than I ever have, but there’s a power in knowing I got out ahead of yet another disappointing situation. Plus, men genuinely respond to it. Remember: most men have little to no emotional intellect, so the more straightforward you can be, the better.
And all of this is what Mark, Ashley, and Rayna talk about in his episode of the podcast. Not only does Mark encourage women to BE HONEST and VULNERABLE, but he goes on to say that if a man doesn’t like that approach or gets scared/turned off by you so honestly stating your feelings and needs, HE FUCKING SUCKS ANYWAY. Sure, women being the aggressor or the chaser is still a new concept that we’re all getting comfortable with, but it’s happening more and more and it should. If you’re nervous to be honest and truly ask for what you want, please harken back to where NOT doing that has led you: THE GREY AREA. And it’s a terrible area. Really, it’s the absolute worst. Will I hear from him? Will I see him? Does he like me? Is he into this? Are we legit dating? What IS this? All questions you should never have to ask yourself.
My good friend who is 35 and just found her person said something that resonated with me deeply: “With every guy before him, I never knew where we stood or where I stood with him. With this guy, I’ve never questioned it. I know what we are, how he feels about me, and what we’re doing.” And God dammit if that’s now how it should be.
TLDR: People suck, but they would suck less if we were all just more upfront, honest, and blunt about what we’re wanting, thinking, and feeling. So do that for yourself and prepare to marvel at what it can do for your dating life. Also, if all else fails, take Rayna’s advice and ask yourself “If one of my friends or family members was pulling this (whatever ‘this’ is. Could be ghosting you, not showing up, belittling you, running late with no explanation, not attempting to make plans, etc), would I let it slide?” The answer is almost always no. Don’t let your love interests treat you any less than blood or a best friend would.
Stay blunt, my friends.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.