It’s the end of an intriguing era. After two years as a hopelessly romantic editor navigating the ever-entertaining dating pool of New York City, it seems I have come to my final post. It has been quite a topsy turvy journey, and I think NYC is the only place in which you can learn as much as I have about casual dating in such a short amount of time – through my own experiences and those of my friends I can safely say there are some real lemons out there, and there are some pretty fantastic people, too.
As said friends will attest, my role as a heart-on-sleeve-wearing dating writer has not only bolstered me to tipsy romance therapist on the fire escape, it has also allowed me to look at dating, and ‘love’ in general, from a (reasonably) *analytical standpoint*. There isn’t much of a secret to it, ladies. It’s a fuck yes or fuck no. He’s either going to act like he is into you (and mean it), or he’s not. It’s really that simple.
In light of all this loony love literature I have been harping on about, however, I thought I might channel my acquired wisdom and let you decide if I make sense or not. After all, to go back to the fire escape when we have downed too much rosé, (or dates with inconspicuous fuckboys), it’s certainly all still up for debate.
Embrace the app-tastic generation
With our millennial lives coming to focus on the social dictation of technology, the key to a happy dating life in 2016 is embracing the dating app. Yes, it has been previously deemed embarrassingly uncool, but this is not the case. Online dating broadens your options, gives your life some much-needed balance, helps you learn about what you want (and don’t want) in a partner, introduces you to new people, and could possibly assist in a run in with your soul mate, if you’re lucky. SO, I am here to tell you to pick yourself up, migrate from your sad solo Netflix and chill, re-do your winged eyeliner after a day at the office, and dance at the goddamn dating disco!
Bottom line, if you don’t date, you aren’t going to meet the person that knocks your socks off. In our dreamy millennial existence, we all have this secret hope that fate will intervene and we will fall in love with a mutual friend or lock eyes with a sexy stranger at the bar who will end up being our mate for life. Guys, there is like a 5% chance that is going to happen. Online dating exists. And it exists for many reasons, one important one being that when people go out nowadays with their friends, they are not on the hunt for their soulmate. They are literally going out drinking with their friends. What do you think online dating is for? Stick to the game. That person is just around your proverbial corner! And probs on Bumble.
Perfect your online dating profile
Your online dating profile is your golden ticket. Whether you are choosing what photos to post or agonizing over the written word – deciding who you are is the key to finding a possible match. Confidence is sexy! The photos that you post tell just as much of a story about you as your written profile does. Creating the ultimate profile is all about showcasing your personality – let your photos do the talking about who you are and what you have to offer. Plus, an illustrative anecdote always elicits a positive reaction, but remember to save some information for the first date! Find out more here.
You actually can find romance in NYC
Yes, when you are dating in New York it can seem devoid of romance (most especially when you are on a date in direct line of sight of a young man vomiting across the road – yes that happened). BUT believe it or not there are some pretty spectacular spots in the Big Apple for date night. For me, it’s all about rooftops: The Wythe is a winning ticket.
At the end of the day, in New York the dating game is always awkwardly eventful! Whether you are rendezvousing in the park for a picnic, hitting up a grungy dive bar or going out to meet his friends at a club, sometimes you find yourself in some seriously unfamiliar (or unknown) territory. Lucky founder of eFlirt and author of ‘Love @ First Click’ Laurie Davis literally advised me on every single possible scenario. You’re welcome!
It’s true, there are some real dickheads out there
I mean, we have all been there. You think a guy is someone completely different from who they turn out to be. It is certainly a hum-fucking-dinger of a situation. The reason being, at the end of the day the sun sets on a shitty few months and you are too far gone. The worst part? You kinda like this person that you thought they were, and when it hits you, and you realize they were a complete waste of time, it is too little too late and you are already hurt.
What I have learnt? Be wary of the initial pursual – the way he approaches you matters. Here’s how to spot a fuckboy from afar and here is how you can tell if a man isn’t worth your time. (We all wish we didn’t have to learn this lesson – but a lot of the time, you have to learn it yourself before you realize what is and isn’t OK). Cue, fire escape rant.
Further, what happens when it’s you that’s just not that into the person? To ghost or not to ghost? A question that has (unfortunately) become a part of everyday single life. Nearly 80 percent of millennials have experienced being “ghosted,” and you have likely ghosted someone yourself. It is a typical human reaction to avoid conflict – especially with someone you don’t actually have to own up to in the long run. At the end of the day, if you are being ghosted it is not about the person choosing to ignore you or make you feel shitty – at it’s core, ghosting is about that person avoiding confrontation or conflict, and therefore avoiding hurting your feelings. This certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t completely cowardly and immature, but it can at least help you understand it. Here’s what to do when you get ghosted (or benched – yes there is another one).
Close the dusty books
My friend has an analogy for the way I communicate with ex-boyfriends: I constantly open my “dusty books.” According to her, whenever I get a little bored in singledom, or I am feeling très vulnerable for whatever reason, I pick up said “dusty books” (that I have definitely finished reading) for a skim, just to make sure they are still there. It always leaves me in a social media tailspin of stalking destruction, questioning every heartbreak and every decision to break-up. She is 100% spot on – and everyone has that “one that got away”.
Unfortunately, in our ever-digital age, when a relationship is over it takes a LOT longer to get over it. To begin, if your ex is making new ‘friends’ you can see (and stalk) who they are on Facebook. If he is out all night partying, you can see all his shenanigans on his Snapchat story… if he is flirting his goddamn pants off, you can see the photos he has liked on Instagram – don’t even get me started on Twitter, LinkedIn, and every single DATING APP known to man! Breaking up is definitely not as simple as it used to be.
The answer? Cut all communication. Unfollow, unfriend, swipe LEFT. Delete his number (and please try to let those memorized digits go). No contact, y’all. In a week, in a month, maybe in a year – you will feel better. You will heal. And it will happen a lot faster if you have no idea what he is up to.
Be open to imperfection
We always want more. Get over it – you are never going to find the perfect guy. You are going to find the guy that will be perfect for you. This has nothing to do with looks, this has nothing to do with success – it’s about meeting someone who makes you laugh until you cry, and who makes you feel like a better version of yourself.
Don’t sell yourself short. The person you decide to commit to is meant to make your life better, not make your life. Don’t ever look back on a failed relationship and see the perfect in what was so clearly imperfect – it ended for a reason, let life happen. Move on, look forward, and wait for that diamond in the rough that just does it for you.
You have to work at a successful relationship
When you are happy, and in love, it is so easy to fall into a lazy routine of life with your partner. You watch TV all week, loiter all weekend, order takeout on date night and have sex every now and again. For some, (and we have all been here), this is what makes up a comfortable relationship. Without knowing it, you become ‘above’ the idea that a long-lasting relationship needs work and you settle into a day-to-day routine, hitting a wall years later. In a way, you can become so comfy with your partner that you block out the need to put in effort to show how much you care. The point is, every relationship, no matter how happy you are, needs some daily TLC. Here are some vows to get you there.
Remember that arguing is healthy. It makes what you have real. In a relationship, it is important to see the difference between arguing at a healthy level, and arguing at a toxic one. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re fighting about your boyfriend constantly cheating on you, that is a completely different kettle of fish – but if you are arguing about him spending more time with your friends, or where you would both prefer to live: hear each other out. And always fight fair, through the good times and bad.
Embrace your sexuality
Your body is your body. If you choose to sext a Tinder-date, if you choose to post a nude selfie on Instagram, if you choose to participate in a full frontal shoot on a magazine cover, it is your CHOICE. If anything our fast, “always on” digital era is showing us millennials, it’s that self-expression, in all its glory, is encouraged. For some, like Kim Kardashian, or even a Right-Swipe’s obnoxious dick pic, that form of self-expression is much more open than others – and that’s OK.
Should that alarm go off at the idea of sexting? Should you be outraged by a nude selfie? Should you feel uncomfortable at the thought of openly self-promoting one’s naked body? That is everyone’s individual decision, and that decision is what should matter. The feuds between different generations about this topic fuels the conversation about that decision – the more debates, the better for the evolution of women and sexuality. The answer is simple, really. Be honest with your own sexuality, and whatever makes you comfortable you should embrace. (I say get your sext on).
As the ever-fucking-quote-worthy Carrie Bradshaw can attest, being single used to meant that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with. It’s all about your attitude.
If you feel like you’re in a rut, make a change. To fall in love, people often forget that the first step, (no matter how cliché it sounds), is loving yourself. When you are the happiest in your own skin and proud of who you are, the right person will fall into your life naturally.
How can you make that change?
Say yes to everything: The answer is YES, for the invite to the party you definitely don’t know anyone at, the exercise class that is so not you, or the paintball date you would never usually go on – the key to changing things up in your life is becoming a ‘yes’ person.
Focus on you: Dedicate some time to improving your health, and get your pamper on!
Get inspired: Buy some fresh flowers, spend a Sunday in, and read a goddamn book. Be creative! Go sit in a park and read, plan a trip, write in a journal, or better yet, send a love letter rather than a text.
Value who matters: Value the people you may take for granted. Your friends, who know you better than most, and your family, the support that will always be there. No matter your circumstances, take time to show them that you care, and spend time with the people that love you for you.
Let it GO: Stop fighting with the past. No matter who broke your heart, what mistake you made, or what you feel you could have changed, understand your worth and what you deserve. End the relationship that isn’t making you your absolute happiest and quit the job that doesn’t fulfill or promise your every ambition.
The best lesson of all?
Who cares what anyone else has to say about your life, or who you should be – learn to love your edge. Do what makes you happy. Find who makes you happy. Love is love. Above all, treat people the way you want to be treated, and be kind.
In the meantime, you will find a tiddly old me on the fire escape ranting about all of the above.
Toodaloo! It’s been brilliant.
*Keep in mind my self-diagnosed hopeless romantic title above – the last few years have been groundbreaking. Thanks NYC!