I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve and had the urge to throw love out into the world in excess. Obviously this has gotten me screwed over one too many times, so these days I’m being a bit more conservative in my approach to dating.
I’m not too open about my feelings anymore. I used to meet a guy and be open about how I felt right off the bat. I’d tell him that I wanted to date him or that he was awesome, but sometimes it was just a case of too much too soon. Dating’s supposed to be a gentle dance, not someone dragging another person across the dance floor. That person doing the dragging was always me and it was exhausting.
I check myself before I wreck myself. Instead of rushing into a new relationship feeling blissed out on love, I try to pace myself. I steer myself away from the whirlwind romances and head towards something more lasting. I don’t run ahead with myself. I’ve become the wise parent voice in my head, urging caution so that I don’t get my heart smashed into pieces and end up with loads of regrets. Who needs those?
I let my head join the discussion. It’s crucial to let my head and heart decide things together. I let my head help determine if someone’s worth pursuing, realizing that logic is just as important as the emotion that my heart brings to the table. The two have to work together and be on the same page before I make a decision. If they can’t agree on things, that’s a problem.
I have healthier boundaries. I never used to have boundaries with guys I was into. I’d be too open and giving, and it wasn’t just my heart that would get hurt—it was my energy levels and wallet too. Now, I only give of myself when it’s reciprocated by the person I’m dating. Hey, what’s fair is fair.
I hold back a bit. This isn’t about playing hard to get or being cold. Instead, it’s about looking out for myself. I have to trust myself before I can even think about trusting other people. If I rush in with my heart blazing, I’m like that guy in the movies who doesn’t listen to reason and gets blown into smithereens by an oncoming army.
I support myself. I have my own back. I stick to my list of red flags and dating deal breakers so that I don’t get into a relationship that just doesn’t work for me. See, my heart doesn’t have time for red flags and deal breakers. Honestly, it doesn’t even really know what those words mean. My heart wants love and happiness and sometimes gets a little too imaginative for its own good. I need to bring it back down to earth a little sometimes.
I lead with my standards. I’ve learned how important it is to let my standards (not always my heart) lead the way forward. My high standards have become my second backbone in dating. Without them, I’m just floating around like a dead fish.
I don’t enter soulmate territory. I do believe in soulmates, but I’ve learned it’s best to avoid this topic with the guy I’m dating—at least until he becomes my BF and we are in the process of talking about marriage. I used to let my heart run ahead of me in relationships, thinking about soulmates and destiny. I’d wonder if the guy I’d just met was “The One” and get these crazy ideas in my head. I’d end up crashing and burning in heartache because I wasn’t living in reality.
I take a long time to let someone in. I have my walls up, but they’re there for a good reason. It’s not so much to isolate me but to make people who want to be with me earn my love and respect. I’m not handing these out like pamphlets anymore. They’re priceless and need to be respected by someone who sees them in the same way that I do. They’re valuable jewels, not something to throw away.
I listen to my gut. My intuition is very strong. In the past, I’d sometimes try to block it out, which is a shame because it would always steer me away from drama and pain. These days, I let my gut join my head and heart when it comes to choosing the right dating path. With that voice of calm reason in my head, gently reminding me of my worth and warning me when something looks shady, there’s no way I’ll find myself backing the wrong man. I’m so done with that.
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