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Where were you a year ago when I could use YOU? ;-)
So let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Suddenly one of the big birthdays pass. Yes, you are in a whole new decade, and if you are anything like me, that in and of itself brings its own worries and concerns. But this go around, you find yourself flying solo, and the only problem with that is, for once in your life, you might actually could use someone by your side. You don't want to be the "old person" in the bar, and you definitely don't want to attend the next gala alone, so what do you do?
Pray? Sure. That will help in the long run, but what about some actual practical advice?
I've got you covered.
These are things I have learned.. and boy oh boy... it's like going through puberty again and trying to figure out how all of this works.
1. Rebound- I don't care what anyone else says, I think you need to find yourself a good rebound guy and just get it out of your system. Of course, you are going to develop some irrational crush on this person, and of course, they are going to NOT be the one for you, and yes, they will probably leave you high and dry - regardless, get it out of your system and be done with it.
2. Put yourself out there. While visiting my favorite herb farm in Baldwin County, the owner of Olive Forge, Darrell, said to my roommate, "Well, sweetie. Mr. Right is not going to fall out of the sky and into your house." This is true. You can't sit at home pining away for the one that got away. Just get out there. Go to art openings, attend a festival, go to the library, take yourself to the movies, go to dinner - yes, even alone. Just go. I do it all the time, and there is something incredibly liberating about that. Not to mention, you'd be amazed at how more comfortable men feel approaching you when you are not surrounded by 5 of your friends.
3. Say yes to most dates - at first. I'll admit, I went on dates I knew would not go anywhere. But it was important for me to be able to just be comfortable talking with someone other than my ex. It's weird at first, and I think as females, we all understand what I am talking about. Plus, it's nice to have someone treat you to dinner, or make small talk, or try really hard to impress you. I can only imagine if your relationship/marriage just ended, you went awhile without all of the attention you deserve. So enjoy yourself - no one says the next guy is the one you have to settle down with.
4. Now that you have experienced a few dates, let's weed through the red flags.
- Does he live with his parents?
- Does he constantly complain about money?
- Does he talk about his ex a lot?
- Does he talk poorly about his ex and about child support and other things pertaining to that.. a lot?
- Does he ask to borrow money?
- Does he only seem to want to come to your house, or you go to his, and nothing else?
- Does he seem to drink every - single - night?
- Does he ask you to do chores for him when you are around?
- Does he look at other women when the two of you are at dinner?
- Does he have you pay for dinner more often than not?
- Does he always prefer to do activities he is interested in and does not seem to listen?
- I could go on and on....
Needless to say - Back away from the guy immediately. Those red flags will become the death of anything good. You were given a fresh start, and I don't care how much of a crush you have on this guy - you DON'T want to end up in therapy during your first year of marriage. That's never a good sign.
5. DO, however, try to date people you may not typically give a chance. Just see.. and be open to the process.
6. Remember - the effort should be equal.
7. Monogamy before intimacy is a must. I'm not saying you have to marry the guy... just have some sort of commitment first.
8. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want and need. We are not 16 anymore, and technically, we can take care of ourselves. If you need a label, then ask for one. If you need more quality time, then ask for it. If he can't provide - then bye, bye.
9. Remember, at this age, people are looking for their future life partner. Make sure your non negotiables are covered before you make any long term commitments. There is no reason to squash your hopes and dreams now - again - treat this as a new lease on life!
10. Finally - remember, you will not make a good partner until you are okay with you. Let's be honest, getting in shape is sort of important when in dating. Heck, it should be throughout your relationship. I'm not saying any of us are ever going to have our 21 year old body back, but try to stay active, as best as you can. Take care of your skin. Buy the cute dress. Get your hair and nails done. You are back out there, and you need to look your best. Then work on the other parts of you - your spiritual side, your financial side, your interests side. Do you - and do it better than before!
PS - Please note, the ex may from time to time make an appearance, and yes, sometimes they pull some "I miss you card." Stay the course and DON'T look back. Happiness is around the corner for all of us.