Looking for love can be a journey full of butterflies and rainbows — but it can also be one full of “seen” messages with no replies and being ghosted after first dates that you felt went great.
Sometimes dating sucks. If you feel like you’re honestly trying your best but always seem to be striking out, perhaps it’s time to flip the script.
And we mean the literal script: the one depicted in so many Hollywood rom-coms, that tells us “true love” is supposed to look and feel a certain way.
Yes, a big part of our beliefs about love and dating comes from the movies, the shows and the fairy tales we’ve been exposed to from a young age. And although pop culture is finally shifting towards more realistic depictions of romance, there are still some dating myths and stereotypes that most of us carry around (often without realizing it).
Struggling to get ahead in the dating scene? Here are 5 dating myths — and why you need to shake them off before your next date.
“You Need to Know Exactly What You’re Looking For”
If you’ve ever been on a dating app, you’ve probably seen many people listing the things they want in a partner: anything from the “appropriate” height to lifestyle and personality traits. You may have been tempted to do the same thing, thinking that if you’re super specific about your wants and needs, you’ll weed out all the people who are not right for you.
But here’s the thing: unlike grocery shopping, where going without a comprehensive list is a bad idea (unless you don’t mind returning home with pizza rolls instead of leafy, green vegetables), having a “grocery list” when it comes to dating can be more limiting than helpful.
Knowing what you want is great, but a big part of the dating game is allowing yourself to be surprised. By other people and by life in general.
So next time a potential new date asks you “what you’re looking for”, instead of responding with “only a serious relationship” or “someone low maintenance I can go hiking on Saturdays with”, perhaps you can say: “I don’t know, but I’ll know when I find it.”
Check out this guide if you’d like more (scientifically proven) tips on finding lasting love.
“Nothing Beats Love at First Sight”
This one may be the oldest myth of all — and the toughest one to shake off. See, the idea of looking at someone’s eyes and instantly knowing you want to grow old with them is super enticing: who wouldn’t want that?
For one, it would save us a lot of money from having to go on any more dates. And so, we have been conditioned to expect the sparks right away; from that first electric eye-contact, to the first first firework-worthy kiss. When that doesn’t happen, we feel like there’s something wrong, or missing.
Well, the only thing missing is time.
In real life, people often need more time to really open up and be themselves. The love of your life may very well be the one who gave you a sloppy, or shy first kiss, or the one you didn’t notice right away.
That’s not to say you need to continue pursuing a meh romance in hopes that it will transform to something great. But you probably need to take some time to really see and listen to that person sitting across from you, before you decide that the fireworks are not happening.
Second kisses sometimes can be way better than first ones, and third ones even better still.
“You Need to Play the Field Before Committing”
We definitely don’t live in a time when marrying your high school sweetheart is the norm. Having a rich life, full of exciting experiences is healthy and something everyone should strive for. (Although, if you do want to marry your high school sweetheart that’s great and we’re very much rooting for you.)
But playing the numbers game and dating for the sake of dating, can actually hold you back from finding love. If you’re viewing people as entries to your little black book of conquests, you’re probably not paying enough attention to each and every one. And that’s how you let some really special ones slip through your fingers.
By all means, have fun while playing the dating game. Getting intimate is proven to be good for our health (when practicing safe sex, of course!). Psst. Here are some libido-boosting foods to look for on the date-night menu if you’re feeling a little out of practice.
“Same Tastes = Soulmates”
Laughing at the same dorky jokes and loving the same superhero shows is great. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the one.
If you think back to your most defining relationships (of any kind, not just romantic) you’ll realize they were the ones that allowed you to grow and evolve to the beautiful human you are today. And the way we usually grow and evolve is not by only doing the things we know we like and are good at, but by trying out new things and being around people who challenge us and excite us to try them.
So, don’t be afraid to give a chance to someone who has different hobbies and tastes than you. Who knows, you might just uncover this whole new part of you that you never knew existed before!
“Your Other Half Will Complete You”
As far as dating myths go, this is frankly the most harmful.
Because you are already, a complete and awesome being. Your pets, friends, family and yes, your significant other, are here to enhance and compliment that awesomeness — not create it.
If you feel incomplete on your own, you may find yourself in codependent relationships, where your happiness and your sense of self-worth are defined by what the other person thinks or does. It’s better to spend some time focusing on self-care: love yourself for what you are now, not for what you can be with/for someone. And then, re-enter the dating game from a place of acceptance and of knowing your worth. Here are some great tips on feeling happy and contented as a singleton.
Try not looking for your “other half”, but rather another human being who you can be your weird and awesome selves together.
Above all – when you’re dating: remember to have fun. Enjoy the process and know that your Mr or Mrs right will enter your life in good time. In need of a little boost? Why not check out this confidence boosting playlist to keep you upbeat and confident throughout your journey to love?
Had enough with dating already? We hear ya. Here are 5 solo date night ideas just for you. Take yourself out: you’re worth it.