I was single for a fair while before coming to Australia, it is a cliché - but I believe a true one - you have to like yourself first. I wasn't happy before and therefore did not attract the best kind of man. But I am in a much better place one year on and since September, I have been dating someone new, so coming up to 5 months. Yay me.
At times it has been a challenge, which I believe is natural as you are learning about each other and understanding how each of you work individually and together. I have certainly been guilty of over thinking and worrying in the past but this time it is the new me, so this time I wanted it to be different.
So here are my top 6 tips for successfully dating someone new, and not driving yourself or them crazy.
Do not listen to gossip, opinions, or read too much into things - people always have an opinion and want to talk about others and analyse meaning but this can be so damaging. Only accept things as true from the person you are dating, if you hear or feel something then ask, not confront, make light of it and calmly ask.
I have tended in the past to react then think in this relationship because it means more to me, (and because at 34 I really need to behave like an adult) I am switching that around. Relationships cannot function on confrontations, accusations and always defending yourself - sooner or later that will become tiring and people deserve more. Only the two people in a relationship know what is going on, and where you are, if you are secure in that you don't need anything more.
Trust your instinct, this is especially true for me now I am slightly older, gone are the days of going for bad boy types and allowing myself to be treated badly. Ultimately we all get a sense about what, or who, is good or bad for us, we have a built in system that gives us a feeling about someone.
I think in most cases (but of course not all) we can tell if a person is going to be good for us, and if there is something real to build on. Also trust that whatever happens is meant to be, it may last or it may not but either way you are meant to experience it, enjoy it and take from it want you need. Trusting something will work out how it is supposed to is not easy, but I think, and it has worked for me, that living in the now and having a "what will be will be" attitude brings an element of calm to the relationship.
Make sure that you do a mix of things that interest you both, and try to get an equal balance of when you see each other. Sometimes, especially if you are trying to impress, you can over compensate and only do things one person likes which starts you off on an unequal footing. Be confident and stand your ground - by combining interests and going to a mix of places it shows each other who you are, and also makes everything that much more honest. Now, I believe couples should have opposite likes and interests - that's what keeps things interesting - showing a respect and willingness to try and learn shows great character. Plus it makes for more interesting dates - you could even alternate the planning and make it a surprise.
4). Be Open
I have finally got to the point in my life where if you like me, you have to like me for me, and not the pretend me. By that I mean it is all too easy to become the person someone wants, rather than be it. Too many times in the past have I said I liked something or lied about something to impress. That is dishonest and well it doesn't work. So I am being totally honest for this one. Obviously I don't mean tell them all the awful things you have done or worst traits about yourself in the first date, but I believe if someone is going to like you, they have to know the real you. So now when asked a question, I give my real answer, not what I think I should say.
5). The Past
That is where it is, and that is where it should stay. Of course you should discuss past relationships and things that have happened but mostly it should be about starting from scratch with someone new. A clean slate - I like to think of if like a job interview - you wouldn't go in and slag off your previous boss, the company and list everything that went wrong and what you did wrong and shout and moan. You take the best bits with you and learn from what didn't work. We all have baggage, but it should be just a part of you, and not define you.
6). Enjoy The Now
No one can predict what will happen in the future, if we stopped going places, meeting people and trying new things because we were scared or unsure we would never venture out of the house. If you don't stop and enjoy the time at the beginning it will be gone, you cannot go back to that exciting time. So take a deep breath, remain calm, let the small and silly niggles go and start to enjoy the journey without getting hung up on the destination.