Peace. This post was inspired in part by a series of Twitter discussions (which inspires everything here nearly) about relationships and the even-handed advice I’ve tried to share. I’ll be speaking to the Men in this blog. I’ll follow-up with a post devoted to the Women soon.
Just mulling over this question in my head and wondering if I’d even trust myself to be good at such a job. I don’t think I give stellar advice, at least not to my gender. I also don’t pretend to be an expert as I’ve got plenty of failed relationships to look back on. I’m still working out my kinks on that end but I digress. My advice to (hetero) men USUALLY has been:
1. Go out and do it often.
I feel like there’s always more women than men in every major metropolitan area so the odds are in your favor. I find that if a man can’t find a date in a large city, he has some manner of personality defect. There’s no way a single man can’t find a date in these current times. I’m out and about a lot and I see nothing but packs of women and rarely do I see more than three single men in any social setting. I should add that be honest in what you’re looking for when you approach women and be upfront with your intentions at all times. Do not use this as a moment to puff up your ego. Meet people because you want to get to know them.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously & stop being pushy/impatient.
I don’t know all the reasons why some men date. I’m sure one reason is to find someone to love, marry, grow old with, etc. That’s a fantastic goal and I’m not even being sarcastic. However, nobody’s gotta know all that in the first five dates. Keep a lot of your aspirations close to your chest early on. The women you’re dating don’t need to know your every move so soon. It’s good to be genuine but don’t be pushy. Just try and be open to any path of conversation and just be natural. OK so that might have been corny but I love that song.
3. Be as forthcoming as your prospects.
I find that people hide the ball far too often about their feelings and expect the other side to be this open book. I believe in equality and balance when dating. If your date or prospective partner isn’t showing their cards, you shouldn’t have to show all of yours. I think being genuine should be offered equally and honestly on both sides. I’ve had female friends tell me that they’ll wait and see what a man says before they share their side. Or rather, they want to know all that they can about a person without offering as much as a crumb about who they are. That’s unfair and please don’t get suckered into it. (full disclosure: this is definitely something I need to take heed to as well).
4. Own Your Faults & Toss Your Baggage Away
I know it’s difficult for some men (maybe most) to admit that they indeed accumulate baggage but it’s definitely true. I also know how difficult it is to admit to your faults. Maybe your date or prospective partners need not know all of your faults upfront but they don’t need to suffer under them either. Don’t bring your past hurts into your present. Don’t allow what someone else did to you prior affect a person who had nothing to do with it. Invest in therapy or self-help books if you need to. Find a strong confidant to unload your baggage upon. Don’t use your new relationships for that purpose.
5. Just enjoy and love yourself. Remember to have fun!
I think the best part about being single is the self awareness that comes along with it. Sure it gets lonely and you want to bounce that energy on someone but the reflective moments are key. After every breakup I’ve suffered through, I mourn for a very BRIEF moment of time and I’m back to being me. I am never, ever down for long. I share all of that to say you can do it too! It’s so easy to be dour, sad, morose. That’s an emotional state that’s easy to cling to. The best medicine for the doldrums is love. Love of self, love of life, love of people. Get out there and live. There’s no reason just sit around listening to Portishead’s second album in the dark. Heal yourself (of course at your own pace) and don’t rely on a new relationship to “fix” you. Don’t rely on sex to “fix” you. Don’t take on a lover to help you through the pain. FIX YOURSELF! LOVE YOURSELF! That’s all you have to do.
And that’s all I got. I’m not a man of letters or somebody you have to listen to. I’m telling you what’s worked for me in the past and what I hope will work for me in the future (if need be). Let’s continue to grow from within and keep chipping away at the hard parts of ourselves so that we become anew again.