Monday, February 2, 2015

Dating in Your Twenties: Do you know what you want?

Dating is hard enough as it is, but it's even harder when you don't know what you want. Do you want something casual? Do you want to start a serious relationship? Are you looking for someone who can become your best friend? Or are you looking for someone who you can just go out with from time to time? There are ENDLESS possibilities and chances are that 99% of the people you meet (whether dating potential or not) are not looking for the same things you are.
Dating in your twenties changes rapidly as you grow older. You may go from a casual dater to a serious one looking for a long-term commitment. Bar hopping and scoping the crowds gets less and less appealing as you age. For many of you, graduating college means leaving behind a dating pool full of potential significant others. It can also mean leaving behind the one-night stands and the "casualness" that comes naturally while in college. This can be a serious breath of fresh air. However, don't expect the "games" to end just because you left college. For some reason, no matter what age, as long as you're in the dating fieldthere will always be games to deal with. 

Games and players and all that bull gets frustrating enough as it is while you're young, but as you get older and mature, it becomes a serious nuisance. Dating in your twenties can still be a roller coaster ride, even if you feel yourself maturing and wanting to settle down and get serious with someone. There's not much you can do in how others act or feel, but there are things you can do to make dating in your twenties easier (and less time-consuming).

Let's face ityou don't want to play the field and date someone for awhile only to discover that you were never looking for the same thing to begin with. You don't want to have to keep putting yourself out there only to come up empty handed each time (and sometimes with a broken heart). At least if you're anything like me, you don't want any of these things. For the past couple of years or so I've dealt with a lot of these problems and I've grown exhausted of wasting my time and energy on people who just don't deserve it.
Which is one of the reasons I've found it so important to figure out what it is exactly that you want out of a relationship and what you're looking for in a significant other. You don't have to get all Sex and the City and make a list of characteristics you want in a mate, but having a general idea of what you're looking for is good to have. Another HIGHLY important part of this is making sure you stick to it. Don't make exceptions. For anybody.

For example: You want a relationship. One that may start off casual but eventually get serious. You know in your heart that is what you want. You start seeing someone who seems like the perfect match and you get along great, but he or she is only looking for something casual right now. You may end up getting close and feeling that eventually if you spend enough time together, he/she will change their mind. Truth is the majority of the time that doesn't happen. People don't tend to change. We like to wish and hope they will, but it's a very rare occurrence. If you know right off the bat that they are not looking for the same kind of relationship that you areback away before it's too late, for your own sake.

These same rules can apply for lots of other things we look for in relationships. Maybe someone in their late twenties knows that eventually they want to get married and have kids but they start dating someone who knows they do not want kids. This person hopes that eventually they will change their mind. What happens after you're in that relationship for a couple years and you bring up the kid situation and they are still firm in their beliefs?

I'm not saying that any kind of dating or relationships you have that don't end up working out is a waste of your time. In fact, many times we end up learning valuable lessons from these people and experiences. It's just important to have a firm idea of what you're looking for when you're dating in your twenties, especially as you start getting older. Sometimes these things don't even have to be related to commitment level. They can be simple wants, such as someone who has the same sense of humor as you or someone who is willing to hang out with you every weekend. The better understanding you have of yourself and what YOU want, the easier it will be to date in your twenties (or just dating in general!)

What is the one thing for you that is non-negotiable when it comes to dating?


  1. I want to start by saying I love your post. Then, I'm going to answer your question and it's going to go against half of what you've said. (Despite this, I still love your post and very much agree with it!)
    I had two big qualities that were on my list of non-negotiable when I was dating. I didn't want to date a smoker and I didn't want to date a guy in the military. (I went into my reasons for these on my blog last February.) I ended up dating a smoker who is in the military. We met randomly one night when I wasn't looking for someone to date and I saw no future with him, but decided a little casual dating (something I'd never tried before) would be fun.
    Now, almost 3 years later, we are happily married and I even moved across the country to join him at his new base. He quit smoking cigarettes, but he's still in the military. I don't regret for a moment taking a step away from my list. It wasn't planned though - it just happened.
    Dating in your twenties is SO much harder than dating in high school or college. Love your post on the topic. :)

  2. Thank you! I'm glad someone likes it :) And I think the story about you and your husband is funny because I've actually heard SO many stories about people ending up together who never in a million years thought they'd fall for someone like that. That's why it's important to always keep an open mind! Which I know I certainly do. But there are some things that I think in general I need to have in order to have a good relationship with someone. For example, if we don't share a similar sense of humor (something that's a big part of my personality) it most likely won't work out. My biggest thing right now is just making sure before I jump into any kind of dating with anyone I know that they are looking for similar things that I am. That's partially because I've had too many experiences already in which I jump into things in a casual manner but then end up falling for people and getting hurt because we end up wanting different things. Everyone's different though! It's just important to know yourself and be true to yourself. I'm glad to hear the way you met your husband because it gives me hope ;)

  3. Definitely keep hoping! I was literally at a giving up point after a string of bad relationships when I found Josh. I honestly didn't realize just how bad some of my other relationships had been until I met him. I'm so glad I didn't write him off!
    There are definitely things, like sense of humor and whether or not you want a family that shouldn't be budged on. The biggest thing for me was feeling like I could be myself and stand up for myself in the relationship as needed.

  4. I don't know why it's so hard to think of non-negotiable things. I think someone who is always willing to put in the effort, which sounds incredibly vague. But the worst thing to me is to be with someone who won't try after you express something is bothering you.