Romance has a way of sweeping you off your feet and insisting that you throw caution to the wind. It's all part of the whirlwind of excitement that's packaged into the first stages of dating, love, and connection. It's a literal high and oh so intoxicating.
Right now, the world is at your feet. You have big choices ahead of you both personally and professionally. You have youth on your side and in your pocket. Life experiences await you. You're meeting different types of men and falling in and out of love, including falling down and getting back up again. It's the Millennial dating dance.
I wish I could give you a magic potion to ensure you will never get hurt, frustrated, lonely, or heartbroken. To round out the rough edges that come with dating in your 20s and smooth every corner for you. But that would deprive you of dating lessons that will make you a stronger and smarter woman.
There is a way, however, to minimize potential pain and maximize potential opportunities.
You're young and it's important to have experiences, but you have to be careful. Too many negative experiences can accumulate over the years and make you shut down well before your time. Ever notice how some women almost start to look like they're permanently frowning as they get older? That's more than age and gravity. It's a loss of hope from the crushing blows of failed romance, bitter divorces, and sharing your heart with too many “wrong guys” in a lifetime. It's bound to take a toll on us. After all, we're women. We're supposed to be soft and sensitive. It's what men love about us!
The beauty of youth, that magical thing that makes this time in your life so appealing to men (and women), is your fresh and open outlook on life.
With age and experience, some women lose this openness along the way. So take good emotional care of yourself now, so you can retain all the freshness of youth well into your 30's, 40's, 50's, and beyond.
How can you gain experience and wisdom at the same time, all while taking care of yourself?
Here's my top three ways to be smart about your dating life while having fun along the way.
1. Date Smart with Your Heart
This simply means to keep your heart open but never check your brain at the door. A guy you like who only calls every couple of weeks to see you at midnight? The answer is no (regardless of how gorgeous he is). He's not dating material. Don’t sacrifice your boundaries for someone else. It's not vulnerability and an open heart that gets you hurt, it's making bad choices when you know better deep down. To be clear, putting up walls doesn't keep you safe. That actually works against you and attracts all the wrong men. Having both a good head on your shoulders and an open heart will serve you well. When you know how to do this, you're a woman who generates love wherever she goes and never feels the need to guard her heart. That will help you find the love that is right for you.
2. Have Fun and Enjoy Dating
Get your eye off target of marriage. That will come soon enough. Worry less about where a relationship is going and enjoy the moments, hours, and days you're spending with someone while dating. We've all made the mistake of working way too hard to turn a lighthearted flirtation into a serious relationship. Too much focus on the future will make you miss out on the present. It's okay that some of your relationships will be temporary and fleeting. Not every one of them is going to go the distance. Remember, you only need one. The rest is practice.
3. Don't Compare Your Love Journey
Your friends are getting engaged and married, and suddenly you're feeling left out. “When is it going to be my turn?” you ask. You've been to a few weddings and baby showers and although you're happy for your friends, (truly you are!) you can't help but feel sad and discouraged. Their story is not yours. Have faith that your time will come. I matched couples for a living all throughout my 20's and I wasn't married. In fact, I had a serious long-term boyfriend who never wanted to get married! I knew if I started to compare or feel the slightest bit of jealousy, my success in my matchmaking business would disappear.
Stay in your lane. Keep going. Love your life as it unfolds to you in every perfect moment.
You are unique and when you trust that the universe has its own timing and plan for your future, you'll see yourself start to let go of any preconceived ideas or notions of dating. You know the saying, “God laughs when you make plans.”
Next week, in Part 2, I'll share three more tips and give you my proven advice about what to do while you're waiting for your Prince Charming.
Post your comments and questions below. I'd love to know how your dating journey is going!
Read more great advice from this month's Lady Lennia April Beyers by reading her blog “Sparks!”