Life Lessons While Dating
You know what they say – you learn your biggest life lessons in relationships with others. Well, they’re not wrong! Love, sex, and romance teach you so much about what it means to be human. Although it’s certainly not always easy.
Whether you’re dating to look for a life partner or just for funsies, you can learn a whole lot about life, love, and yourself during the process. We’ve rounded up some of the best life lessons that dating teaches you, and some perspective to help keep you grounded in the process.
We’re All Figuring it Out Together
When dating, it’s easy to feel like the person in front of you has it all figured out, and that you’re trying to live up to their standards. This is especially true if you have people-pleasing tendencies or a fear of rejection. The truth of the matter is, no one comes here having it all figured out. Life, especially love, does not come with an instruction manual. So the person sitting across from you at the hip cafe in town is not further along in life than you are, even if they’re killing it in their career or are constantly going on cool adventures.
Everyone is trying to navigate life. We’re all figuring it out separately, and together.
It Feels Good to Lift People Up
If you’re not totally into the person you’re on a date with, it can be easy to shut down and be less than engaging. When this happens, let it be a practice in lifting people up. Making them feel good in a genuine way by being curious about their life, and staying present in the conversation.
Even if you know this isn’t going past this round of drinks, it’s an important skill to know how to make people feel good and comfortable around you, from a grounded place.
You Have to Take Risks
One of the biggest things that holds people back in dating is being risk-averse. But you have to take risks and put yourself out there. In dating, and other areas of life. Growth happens outside your comfort zone, ya know?
This means asking the questions you might be scared to ask, telling someone that you like them or that you feel sparks, and maybe making the first move if it feels right. When you take risks in one area of your life, it tends to spill over to others.
Similar to taking risks, you have to stay open. If you’ve had your heart crushed, it can be easy to close yourself off and not let people in. We know this seems easier, but in the long run, it’s actually harder. We need people, we need love, and it’s ok to stay open to that with people that you feel safe with. In the same vein, it’s also important to have boundaries when necessary, and close the door if something isn’t feeling right. But overall, people are good, so put your heart out there and see what can happen.
Rejection is Protection
It’s easy to want to hold onto something (or someone) that you really want even if it isn’t right. An amazing quote to keep in your back pocket while dating is “Rejection is protection” or “Rejection is redirection.” This can be hard to believe when you’re experiencing a mini heartbreak but think about the times that things didn’t work out and how hindsight is now 20-20. You can see why these past circumstances didn’t come to fruition, or turn out the way you wanted, and are thankful that they didn’t. If you experience rejection while dating, repeat this quote to yourself until you believe it, and soon you’ll be able to see why things didn’t work out.
Life is Meant to Be Fun
Dating can be heavy. Especially if you’ve been at it for a while and have expectations or hopes of a certain outcome. This is understandable, everyone wants and deserves love. Or to have a relationship that fits their needs. But amidst this heaviness it can be easy to forget this truth – life is meant to be fun. It has so many opportunities for joy, pleasure, and fun. Dating is the perfect place to be able to practice that. Not only can dating be fun, but it should be. There’s nothing more magnetic than being around someone who truly knows how to enjoy themselves. That’s the ideal attitude to go on a date with.
Above all else, be yourself. While we’re throwing quotes around, remember this one – “You have to be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. You might find yourself trying on different personas or trying out different hobbies trying to be the person you think someone wants to date. But the best person you can bring to the table is yourself. Being yourself helps you connect with people authentically, and is the easiest way to stay comfortable through the dating process. Besides, you’re awesome, why would you want to be anyone else?!
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.