When it comes to dating, too many people try to jump into things not knowing what they are doing. Even as adults, I come across a range of individuals wishing to start dating and use dating apps but are clearly not ready to date quite yet.
Dating means being able to give of yourself to others. This means sharing your thoughts, opinions, fears, aspirations and talking about yourself, your upbringing, your family, your past relationships possibly and your friends.
Being closed off or dodging questions is a definite red flag and likely will prevent you from advancing beyond initial conversations or subsequent dates.
Related read: Harsh Reality Of Online Dating
What Being Ready To Date Doesn’t Mean
Being ready to date doesn’t mean your life is perfect and everything is the way you want it. Being ready to date means having self-awareness, having realistic expectations, being patient, knowing how to interact with others and being physically and emotionally ready to let someone in your life.
Everyone has some sort of baggage that they carry from their lives, past relationships. It’s more important to discuss these things if/when they come up when dating someone new.
Hiding things about your life or lying about your past signals that you don’t trust the person you just met to understand your situation. It’s not fair for you to make assumptions, despite how past dates might have reacted.
Being ready to date means you are able to give each new person the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate to explore, talk and discover things about each other.
Related read: Online Dating 101
Are You Happy Being Single? Do You Know What You Want? Would You Date Yourself? Is It Still Fun? Should I Date Or Stay Single
If you are not happy with yourself, you are not going to be happy with others. It’s that simple. Happiness, fulfillment must come from within, not from a stranger. Would you date someone in a similar boat as yourself? Do you know what you want?
Dating is like grocery shopping in that if you don’t have a plan and know what you want, you will end up in the junk food section making bad decisions. You can’t just wing it nor just dabble with dating.
Dating is an exploration and should be fun. If it is not, you should take a break. Chances are you are doing something wrong and avoiding confrontation around acknowledging said mistakes. No one is perfect but driving blindly can cause unfortunate decisions that can set you back months, years not just physically but mentally.
Related read: How To Be Happy, Attractive In Dating Photos
Being Ready To Date Yourself – Self-Awareness, What Does Dating Myself Mean?
Being date ready means you are ready to not only be present but give your entire self to someone rather than just bits of pieces, fun sides or best sides of you. It requires you to take a leap of faith and hope the other person is ready to accept all of you.
In order to date, one has to be prepared to make other people a priority and make time for others. Time is valuable. If you are not ready to prioritize others, you are not ready to date.
Being separated, recently divorced or recently single doesn’t mean you are ready to date. Seeking a rebound or distraction or validation or attention doesn’t mean you are ready to date.
Talking bad about your ex or thinking about your ex 24/7 means you are not ready to date. Before you can date someone new, one must be able to process grief, pain and begin acceptance for someone new.
In order to be ready to date, one must be in a good place in life. It means they are ready to share their life with someone and not seeking someone to make their lives complete, whole.
It also means not putting too much pressure on someone to be everything for them including a mentor, therapist, best friend, financial advisor, motivational coach etc.
It’s important to have some sort of balance and momentum as well as social circles so you don’t dump everything in your life on someone and expect them to fix it all for you.
Related read: Online Dating Sucks
Online Dating: Is Online Dating For Me? Realistic Expectations
Online dating is not a shortcut to dating. Dating apps are another channel for meeting others similar to meeting through work, friends, clubs, teams etc. Dating apps are not food ordering apps, despite the design, buzz.
Dating apps are merely introduction tools. They can’t make up for poor judgment, lack of self-awareness, bad expectations or inability to screen profiles and read people. Just because you create a dating profile doesn’t mean you are ready to date.
Being ready to date means you are ready to accept the bad with the good. It means being there is a strong chance you will likely go on some crappy dates sometimes.
Dating is defined as getting to know someone. It doesn’t mean pre-qualifying them because of a dating profile. It doesn’t mean you are sold on the person after 1-2 dates.
It doesn’t mean you listen to words only and disregard actions. Being ready to date means you put in effort and are present and not treating dates like auditions.
Related read: Is Online Dating Worth It?
Dating Profile Critique For Men & Women: Dating Profile Review (Hinge, Bumble)
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What Is Date Ready Mean? Are You Ready To Start Dating? Am I Ready To Date Again?
Dating yourself means you are respect yourself. It means you don’t go into dates expecting failure. It means you are ready to be presentable and approachable. It means you are ready to be vulnerable and yet unsure about outcomes. Being ready to date means you are ready for compromise.
It means being ready to adjust parts of your life to make time and space to accommodate someone else and their lifestyle, hobbies and interests. If you are expecting someone to do all the work and seamlessly fit into your life, routines, schedules and social circles, you are not ready to date.
Dating is not a one-sided street. It’s not a perfect, predictable balance. It’s a back and forth with each person giving and taking different amounts at different times and striving to balance each other out. With that said, it takes two people to build a relationship yet takes one 1 person to end it.
Related read: Online Dating For Single Parents
How To Be Single – Being Ready For A Relationship, How To Enjoy Dating Yourself
Being ready to date is one thing. Dating is an exploration where you learn about one another. It means being honest with yourself. That often means seeing if your needs are being met, and you are truly in love with someone, rather than settling because you don’t want to be lonely.
It means not surrounding yourself with cheerleaders who will only tell you what you want to hear.
Being in a relationship means making progress and taking steps to get towards where both of you want to be and not hoping things will change on their own. You can’t force people to change.
Change has to be voluntary. If you are not changing, growing then you are staying still and that is not what being in a relationship is about. Relationships are full-time endeavors and not something that can exist part-time, out of convenience only and on one person’t terms.
Being ready for a relationship means knowing when to end things and being strong enough to prefer being alone rather than an unhealthy relationship with someone.
Related read: Online Dating As An Introvert, Man etc.
Don’t Date Someone Who Doesn’t Prioritize You, Take Initiative Or Is Enthusiastic About You
Things will not change, things will not improve. Life is too short for companionship or putting up with the lesser of two evils. Being with the wrong person is worse than being alone.
Be with people enthusiastically, not relunctantly or because you have nothing better to do. At the same time don’t pre-qualify people too quickly. Dating takes time but outlook, personality, energy and effort is necessary to have a chance.
Taking A Break From Dating To Focus On Yourself
Too often, people rush into new relationships because they are not comfortable being alone. This is a bad reason to start dating again.
Being ready to date means you are confident being alone but want to share your life with others rather than fill a void, avoid being lonely.
Related read: Why Dating Apps Won’t Solve Your Problems
How Do You Take A Break From Dating, Is Taking A Break From Dating Good? Dating Yourself Ideas
Too many people overly invest themselves in strangers or put too much pressure on themselves and others when dating. Dating should be rather effortless but that doesn’t mean you should not try.
Taking a break from dating can simply mean pausing accounts, deleting apps and taking the time to focus on yourself. This can include making new friends, exercising, eating well, building new hobbies, updating your wardrobe, getting feedback on your appearance, do things for yourself rather than go to endless singles mixers.
People can easily meet others without even trying if they go to the places that attract the people they want to meet, if they dress up and look good, and if they work on their communication skills and learn to carry on conversations effectively and enthusiastically with others.
Going to new neighborhoods, moving out of your area, revamping your style, doing something new, different can make all the difference in your outlook and energy you put out. Do all the things you want to do, wanted to do when you were in a relationship but your partner did not want to do. Explore, try new things, surprise yourself.
Rather than think am I going to meet the one tonight (too much pressure, not healthy outlook), focus on having fun, meeting quality people and enjoying the people, ambiance and energy around you.
More on taking a break from dating here.
How Soon To Date After A Divorce? How Soon To Break A Breakup? How To Date After A Divorce, How Long To Wait After A Divorce?
There is no universal answer for this as it depends on how long you were together for, how checked out of the relationship you were before things officially ended, what progress is made in terms of moving out, filing for divorce, separating assets, etc.
For most people, deal-breakers include still living with your ex, having an abusive/harassing/difficult ex, bad-mouthing your ex or sharing custody of a dog. Most people want to see at least 6-18 months of separation and being in a good place mentally and physically.
Should I Date Someone Who Just Got Out Of A Relationship? Should I Date Someone Who Just Got Divorced?
That depends on the person, mental state, amount of time they were in a relationship and how long ago it ended. Everyone is different. Some people need more time to be alone than others before dating.
Should I Try Online Dating Again? Should I Give Online Dating Another Try? Should I Give Dating Apps Another Shot?
That depends on what your experience was last time. Did it wreck you emotionally? Did you get good dates? What has changed since last time? Do your photos still look like you? Have you made any improvements? These are the tough questions you need to ask yourself. Dating apps don’t work for everyone.
Dating Coach Services - Men & Women
First date ideas, wardrobe styling, places to meet singles, where to sit at bars & restaurants, body language, vocal intonation, eye contact, conversation skills, how to be more approachable, conversation starters, grooming, hygiene, hair, wardrobe, style, hobbies, lifestyle choices, uncovering blindspots, reducing biases and more.
Clients from NYC, LA, Chicago, Washington DC, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Seattle, London, Sydney & beyond. As seen in the NYT, WSJ, AskMen, Women's Health, Forbes & More
Related Reading: Becoming Date Ready, Are You Ready To Start Dating, How To Know You Are Ready To Date Again, Taking A Break From Dating To Focus On Yourself, Signs You’re Not Ready To Date
How To Meet People In Real Life: https://eddie-hernandez.com/how-to-meet-people-irl/
Never Stop Meeting People Offline: https://eddie-hernandez.com/never-stop-meeting-people-offline/
Online Dating Safety, Verification: https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-profile-background-checks/
Dating Apps That Are Better Than Tinder: https://eddie-hernandez.com/best-dating-apps/
Online Dating Doesn’t Work For Me: How To Be Successful With Online Dating
The Art Of Being Single: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-art-of-being-single-11553005457
Taking A Break From Dating Apps: https://eddie-hernandez.com/dating-app-fatigue-burnout-taking-a-break/
For those that are seeking specific places, opportunities for meeting people offline, I offer tips during online dating photo shoots. These shoots are natural, relaxed and taken like a friend would if he/she was good with a camera. Based in San Francisco but travel regularly to NYC, LA, Chicago and overseas.
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a dating coach for men & women and a professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, Silicon Valley, London, Washington DC, Boston, Sydney and beyond as seen in the NYT, WSJ, SFGate, ABC7News, AskMen, Women's Health Magazine & more.
Former analytics professional and user of dating apps himself, he possesses unique insight into dating app algorithms, user behavior, first impressions and communication styles. He provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, messaging, image consulting, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, and offline tips for meeting people organically.
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