I’ve never been a casual dater, but recently I was stuck in such a rut that I knew I needed to change the way I was looking for love. Instead of having all sorts of restrictions and dealbreakers, I decided to keep my options open and date a bunch of different guys to see what I’d been missing out on. I don’t know why I didn’t try it sooner, to be honest.
Dating the same type of guy clearly wasn’t working for me. I’d always thought I didn’t have a “type,” but when I looked back on my past dates and relationships, I found that all the guys I thought were so different actually had a LOT in common. Realizing this pushed me to leave my comfort zone and see what it would be like to embrace people I probably wouldn’t have given a shot.
I had to step out of my comfort zone and truly branch out, which was actually a lot of fun. I knew that my little experiment was going to take some real effort on my part but I hoped it would be worth it. I’d accept invitations to go out with friends to new places and I joined a few dating sites and even some of the dreaded apps. Nothing could be off-limits; if I was really going to do this, I had to keep a very open mind. Once I was out there doing it, I found it surprisingly easy to strike up conversations with almost anyone and get asked out on a date. I decided I’d try for five different guys to give myself the best chance of meeting someone awesome.
Dating totally different guys exposed me to totally different experiences. Not only were the personalities of the men I dated totally different but they all planned completely unique nights out. I went out for five nights in a row on dates that consisted of the opera, a karaoke bar, laser tag, a jazz club, and a monster truck rally. Spending time with someone new while experiencing such drastically different activities up close and personal told me a lot about the guy I was out with. Each guy had picked their respective date because it was something they enjoyed and it gave me a greater appreciation for and understanding of each of them.
Different guys in a short amount of time = easier to narrow down what I want. The whole point of dating so many people so quickly was so that I could really compare each experience as they were all so fresh in my mind. I started to piece together all the things I liked about each guy and looked for the commonalities between them. I then knew what I was really looking for in a long-term partner when I started to see a pattern.
I also realized my real dealbreakers instead of the ones I’d imagined previously. In addition to all the good things I started to pick up on, I could also pinpoint the things that I absolutely couldn’t deal with. No matter how contrasting these guys were, there were things they all did that I knew wouldn’t work for me long-term. I could see my future a lot more clearly because I was able to narrow down exactly what I was an wasn’t looking for.
I became much more comfortable not just in dating but in my life as a whole. Since I’d never been good at dating before, this experience really forced me to be a lot more open with people in general. I had to put myself out there and be a little vulnerable. If I could do that on a date, I figured I could certainly adopt that quality in other aspects of my life. I became more confident around my friends and family, I could assert myself at work, and I found that I was generally a lot happier. I was able to let my guard down a bit and not worry about what everyone was thinking about me. I just wanted to be my honest self and let people get to know that person. I finally felt proud of who I was, and that was completely unexpected!
Even if it wasn’t a match for me, I met some really great guys. I will say that none of these guys turned out to be an official love connection, but I’m still really glad I met and went out with them all. I learned something from each guy, and some I was able to keep in touch with despite the fact that we’d never have anything romantic between us. True, I was looking for something more romantic, but I’m not one to turn down expanding my social circle.
I learned that the right person is worth waiting for. The whole experiment did me a lot of good, but the biggest thing I took away from it is that I’m willing to do the legwork to find the person that works best for me. I used to look at dating as an annoyance and just wanted to get to the good guy already, but now I view it in a whole new way, which makes the journey to the right guy a lot more bearable.
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