The dating world is a complicated place. It seems like there’s always someone with advice to give you, and half the time the advice doesn’t match up with the advice you already have.
There’s overwhelming information, overwhelming realities, and overwhelming self-doubt. Surely, there’s got to be some secret formula – otherwise choosing who ends up in a happy marriage and who ends up single forever would all be a matter of luck… And that just wouldn’t be fair.
While I do think there’s a little bit of luck involved with it (and a little bit of destiny!), most of the time there’s a third component involved, too. This third component – we’ll call them the variables – is subject to change at any point in your life.
Maybe it’s your charisma – but you can learn charismatic traits, and you can unlearn them if they’re not practiced often enough.
Maybe it’s your location – maybe there just aren’t any nice women who enjoy the company of other women in your area. This one sucks, too, but technically it can be changed.
Maybe it’s even your external appearance, or your personality, or your social status… But chances are, if that is the reason you’re missing out on matches, they’re doing you a favor anyway – you don’t want to be with someone like that.
Most of the time, the underlying cause of your lack of love is probably hidden in one of two places: Your bank account, or your calendar.
Your Bank Account
I know it seems really shallow to start with your bank account, but hear me out. It’s not about how you make your money, or how much money you make.
Rather, it’s about what you do with your money once you have it. Are you investing in yourself – or are you going with the flow and impulse buying everything you think about?
Often, the way you spend your money is going to cross over into other areas of your life, too, in ways you might not expect.
For example, let’s say you put half your money in savings, because there’s something really big that you want. You consistently put half your money away, and if you can’t put money away, you’re at least not touching the savings account if at all possible.
This type of behavior shows that you know how to plan for the future – a great skill to have, and an important influencer for a lasting relationship.
On the other hand, if you rarely (or never!) put money in savings, and you’re often making impulse purchases, that spending behavior is likely to cross over into other areas of your life as well. Impulse shoppers tend to not think things through before doing them, and this can mean infidelity, unfair words, and emotional reactions to minor stressors.
It’s possible to unlearn this behavior, and thankfully your bank account is probably the easiest place to start – simply commit to saving a certain amount of your paycheck for the future. If you’re nervous about this, consider how much money you spend on fast food or coffee per week, and pledge that your future is worth at least half that much. Once you get started, it’ll be easier to bump it up in the future.
Finally, are you actively investing in your romantic future? I’m not talking about spending a ton of cash, but very few of the good things in life are completely free.
Do you read self-help books? (It’s totally not as lame as it sounds, as long as you’ve found a good book.) Do you pay to participate in league sports you enjoy? Do you go on writing retreats to meet other writers?
Any type of meet-up group increases the chances that you’ll meet someone who has similar interests. Don’t pass up these opportunities when you can afford them!
When’s the last time you bought clothes? I’m notorious for refusing to buy clothes until I either gain or lose weight, and my clothes don’t fit right anymore.
As much as we’d like to not be judged based on our taste in clothing, we should do our best to make sure we look presentable, if we’re looking for a match. There’s not one specific standard that you should try to fit – update your wardrobe in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
How much time do you have to look for a potential new partner? You shouldn’t have to carve out time from your other commitments to make this happen – most likely you’ve got some downtime spent watching television or playing on social media that could easily be diverted to another activity.
If you really don’t have any time available to go looking for a relationship, then you won’t have any time to maintain the relationship once you have it. Many of us tell ourselves we’ll make time for the relationship once we get it – but, most likely, you won’t.
This goes right along with the “snowball effect” with your savings account – once you get started, it’s going to be easier to keep it going, but starting under the high pressure of a new relationship is not the best time to start a new habit.
The amazing thing about analyzing and redistributing your time is that one of two things is going to happen: You realize you don’t want a relationship as much as you want, or you realize the other areas of your life that aren’t as important to you, and it becomes easier to see what you cut out.
More than just making time to meet people, you need to evaluate how you’re currently spending your time – as with your money, the way you spend it gives an important glimpse into your life and personality.
Are you spontaneous, or do you plan things way in advance? Are you flexible and willing to move things around, or are you set in your ways? Are you spending a lot of time on boring (but essential) tasks, or do you only do things that are fun, even if it means you don’t accomplish much?
Ideally, you’ll want to fall somewhere in the middle of all these areas.
If you do notice a negative trend in your time management – either you’re too well managed and have no time left over for new activities, or you’re not managed enough and you have no goals in mind – it’s never too late to start training yourself to overcome these things.
Humans, by nature, will default to taking the easy way out as much as possible, and it can be difficult to pick up speed from a standstill. Due to good old momentum, though, it can be really difficult to slow down and live in the moment, too – especially if you’re used to going a million miles an hour.
Once you’ve fully evaluated your scheduling priorities, you can start actually scheduling dating activities on your calendar. It’s ok – I promise it’s not weird at all. If something is important enough for you to write it down, you’re more likely to work toward achieving it. Is there a local ladies’ night at the bar (and are you interested in the bar scene)?
Write it down! Is there a lesbian book club in your area? Get the information and write it down. Put your goals on paper, and then put them into action!