Maybe this year you’re ready to meet the love of your life, or maybe you just want to get back out in the market. But before you set out on your quest, thoughtful intentions can be very helpful—especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Just like we set resolutions for health and prosperity, setting goals for our love life is equally (if not more) valuable.
But with evolving gender roles, different dating apps to chose from, demanding work hours, and differing life philosophies, the “playing field” has nuances that are challenging to navigate for anyone. So to kick off your 2019 love life with the right state of mind, we consulted with dating experts and relationship psychologists to identify 37 dating resolutions, goals and intentions for your big year. Because you should never give up on love.
See each person you date as a teacher, whether it’s the knowledge they bestow or a big lesson you get from dating them. We’re all here to learn from each other.
Look beyond type. Type is irrelevant when it comes to love. Instead of paying close attention to their profession or eye color, pay attention to how you feel when you’re with the person. Can you be yourself? Do you find the other person fun to be with? This will far outweigh where they went to college.
Don’t assume that the person you’re dating has shared experiences or similar viewpoints points to you. Instead, learn about them.
Actively listen, without judgment, to the person on the other side of the table to get a genuine understanding of who they are. It will also help you to be present and in the moment making your date more fulfilling.
On the first few dates, avoid turning your get-to-know each other conversation into therapy. You may eventually get to a place where you can reveal all the skeletons in your closet, but keep it light in the beginning. Oversharing can often make the other person uncomfortable if they aren’t ready to respond.
And on that note, don’t speak negatively about your ex. There’s no bigger turn-off than thinking someone is still hung up on a past relationship—especially if their remarks are disparaging.
Don’t apologize for who you are. Even though you have years of trial and error under your belt, those were valuable mistakes you learned from. And they are now part of your blueprint as a person—smarter and wiser.
Be mindful of schedules. If you don’t get a text back when you’d expect, instead of taking it personally, think of how your date’s career, personal, or family responsibilities could have them preoccupied. This will save you from unnecessary emotional anguish (and staring at the phone).
Make it fun! Each date you go on takes up hours of your life, so find ways to enjoy it. Even if you know there won’t be a second date, take in the ambiance of where you are, or have a playful conversation. After all, this is also your playtime.
Know how to manage social media in your relationships. Ask the person your dating first if you can post photos of the two of you together, as everyone has different public-facing boundaries. Or know when to stop following someone you used to date if it spurs up negative emotions.
Learn quickly if your date has moved past their big relationship, and take ownership if you haven’t moved past yours. If one of you is still processing the past, neither of you will be set up for success.
Be the person you want to attract. If you want someone who is polite, be polite. When it comes to meeting your match, this philosophy can work like a charm.
Balance independence and interdependence in your dating life. It’s good to show someone that they are needed, but also continue to do you, as it’s essential to your empowerment. Plus, as a nice by-product, it’s an attractive quality.
Be clear on your agenda because your time is valuable. If you know you’re looking for a serious relationship or for something casual, find a way to lightly bring that up sometime in the beginning stages of dating when the moment is right. This will help to secure what you have together or prevent potential heartache on both sides giving you the opportunity to meet someone else who is on the same page.
Trust your gut because you’ll know when a relationship feels right and when it doesn’t. And if you can’t get a good read, try this trick: Say the person’s name out loud and see how your body responds. Do you feel open and excited? Or wrought with anxiety?
If you’re ready to be exclusive but your partner isn’t, understand it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t invested. Don’t immediately second-guess their intentions, as it can derail your relationship’s progress bring out your insecure side. Give them the chance to catch up to you. Reaching a mutual commitment doesn’t always come at the same moment.
Bank memories. Plan fun activities together, as this helps to inspire familiarity and commitment, and will get you two through rough patches.
If you’re planning a date, make it an adventure. Find ways to do inspiring things that take you and your date out of their comfort zone. It’s a great way to build camaraderie. For example, exploring a new part of town neither of you have been to.
Try dating during “off” times. Dating on a weekday offers you the excuse to cut it short if needed. Plus you’ll be less tempted to sleep over when you aren’t quite there yet intimately. Also, mornings are a great time to connect with people, as we tend to be at our best—energetic and positive. Try breakfast or a morning urban hike.
Unless they’re awful or offensive, give someone a two-date chance. Did you consider that your date might be more nervous than you are? Chemistry can take time to develop, and people can take time to open up.
If you want to get a better understanding of someone, consider their friends. People surround themselves with like-minded people. This will give you a sense of who they are, who they attract, and who you may be spending a lot of time with.
Be inquisitive. Try to get to know your date on a genuine level. Start by asking thought-provoking questions. For example, instead of inquiring about work or mutual friends, ask where they’d like to travel this year and why. As a nice result, you’ll come off as more interesting.
Be adaptable, not rigid. As we get older, we also get set in our ways. But this can be a challenge when you need to collaborate with other people—especially romantically. Know when to be flexible and when to stand your ground.
If you have a bad date, only be sad about it for one day. Because all it means is that you two didn’t have a promising connection—nothing to do with you. Move on quickly, as there are many other people you will connect with waiting to meet you.
If you’re looking for the long haul, chose wisely, not hastily. Don’t waste your time away by settling for Mr. or Ms. Right Now.
Do something bold this year: Ask someone out. When someone catches your eye, go for it. Even though you saw them first, you should feel empowered to make the connection. And if they reject you? Be proud you took control of your destiny.
Speaking of rejection, don’t take it personally if someone is no longer interested in dating you. Many things have to align to make a great match—not just presentation but timing, emotional availability, chemistry, current needs and values. If they’re “just not that into you,” move on ASAP to someone who will be.
It’s 2019, a time when women have reached unthinkable heights in society and still going. Know how to navigate gender stereotypes in society, at work, and at home are changing. If your date doesn’t pick up the check when you’d expect, they may think you’d like to pay. Find a moment to have a positive open discussion about gender stereotypes.
Spending too much time picking out your date outfit? Go to your favorites. Wear what feels like you so the other person can see you as you are, you can be as you are, and both of you can quickly determine if there is a match.
Don’t drink too much. When under the influence of alcohol, not only do you not present as well, but you aren’t able to get a genuine read on the person you’re with (aka beer goggles). As a general rule of thumb, have one to three drinks (depending on your body’s limits), and drink water in between.
Recognize when it’s over, because wasting time can be your greatest enemy when it comes to meeting your match. Don’t miss the person you’re supposed to be with because you stayed in an unfulfilling relationship three years too long.
and take it easy. Sometimes we are ready to move a relationship to the next level when the other person—despite how much they may like us—is just warming up. Realize that if there’s resistance on the other side, it could be because things are being rushed. Plus, if a relationship develops too quickly, both of you can easily miss the most important part: getting to know each other.
If you hate them, ditch the dating apps. You can always go back if you change your mind. Dating, though not always easy, shouldn’t be too stressful. If you’re flooded with anxiety every time you open your dating app, it’s time to take a break. There are many other modes of meeting new people where you’ll be in a better headspace.
For example, one of the best ways to meet someone that you’ll hit it off with is to go through a close mutual friend. As mentioned, likes attract likes. So ask to be set up.
It’s important to be open to meeting new people, but that said, know when to sit it out. If every bone in your body is telling you this person is all kinds of wrong for you, feel empowered to politely decline. You won’t “miss out” if your internal compass is clearly telling you to take a pass.
Maybe you’d like to get married or end up in a long-term partnership, when that day comes you may, on occasion, miss these single glory days. Enjoy the rush of getting ready for a first date or leaning in for a first kiss. Enjoy it while you can.