Dating After College: Drop the Myths, This is a Great Time to Date
Introduction: Rethinking Dating
I was just reading an article on modern dating after graduating college. I only made it halfway through, and from the first line I was thinking, “No, no, no, no… and no.” When I find myself feeling that against casual dating advice online, I figure it’s time I should put my own two cents out into the Internet. And now that I have a large base of people going through my dating articles, I’m finding that some of what I read isn’t exactly how others feel.
Dating after high school, college, or even grad school is great. You’re mature now; so don’t take the myths that you’re in a scare rat race for love once you get a diploma or 8 Master's degrees. I still don’t advocate dating apps, especially since I work in journalism (surprise!) and get a large stack of papers daily on the dangers of dating apps, the low likelihood of successful long term relationships through online dating, and the hookup culture at large is bogus and will be obsolete before you know it.
There’s a lot of methods when it comes to dating. There are a lot of tried and true ways, and some new experimental ways in this dawn of modernization. Ultimately, you need to find someone that you have a good connection with. Period.
Dating Past 25 is Your Prime
Dating when you’re fresh out of college is great. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise or let yourself think that you are in a hopeless bubble. For one, all marriage statistics show that the closer you are to 30 to first getting married… the more likely you are to stay married happily. You haven’t fully matured while you’re in college, that's if you went straight into college right after high school. You haven’t fully matured by the age of 30 either, but you stand at a much better position in society of being able to take on another incomplete person by your side.
Take things in stride. If you actively put yourself out into the dating world beyond what your emotions can handle, you’re only going to make yourself anxious and attract anxious people... or you will become a serial dater. As fun as serial dating may sound at first, it doesn't really help you in the long run. Having a successful partner by your side will help you progress at work (according to studies, those partnered up get promoted faster), you'll have someone tied to you to help with the children, and a lot of other perks.
What you need to do to find and create a good connection with someone is go to places where you can grow your own interests. There has to be some hobbies you’ve considered pursuing, there has to be a job with people that you’ve considered wanting since you were a kid, and there is probably a religion you’ve thought about exploring. The number one place to find your spouse – the office. You spend a great chunk of time at work, and you’re at an advantage to find someone like minded that's in the same career. Sure, some of us end up in jobs where the opposite gender or finding someone of the same sexuality can be difficult. That’s where going to places that have the same interests as your bad self comes into play – or go to support groups, like the guy in Fight Club did.
Drop the Dating Apps
You need to get out of the Internet world. I know you’re reading this right now from the Internet, but I’m here to tell you that the digital world needs to be supplemental to the experiences and what you do in the more present, physical world. This is why it’s important to say no to dating apps and try to create a real connection in person.
Don’t sweat this dating stuff because it’s actually really easy. The more comfortable you are with putting yourself out into your city and enjoying yourself, the more you’ll draw someone you like next to you. People like people who are comfortable with themselves. We like to see people who have their crap together. Yes, you’ll probably get rejected, ghosted, and maybe cheated on – but don’t let that scare you right now. Honestly, you have the guts to handle these things if they come up in your dating relationships. You are an adult and you can handle these things like an adult, and if you can’t – then hit the gym, read some books, get a job so you can mature some more before trying to throw another person into your life. You deserve to be financially stable, be an intellectual, and be healthy.
Being Single Does in Fact Rock
You’re not required to date anyone. It Is one of the perks of life if you get to spend your life with someone more directly than let’s says your friends. Accepting your singleness is honestly a precursor to having a solid relationship. You have to learn and accept the principle of one before you can move on to the number two (or more). So let all your dating insecurities drop to the floor. You should define how you want to go into dating, don’t let the world do it for you. Being single does not mean that you are lonely. It does not mean that you are unlovable. It does not mean that people don't like you. It also does not mean that you are unattractive. Being single has its advantages. You are not tied down so you have more opportunity to grow, travel, take on crazy jobs, and learn a few tricks here and there. You can be as clean as you want or as dirty as you want. You get to decide ALL the house rules, and that is a great deal of fun.
Cutting out the Fat: Here's Your Challenge
Seriously, I’ll give you a six month challenge. Instead of being slave to your dating apps and friend’s dating advice, delete all dating apps. Delete them now from your phone. Instead right now make a list of the things you’ve always wanted to do whether that’s learning French, making pottery, Photoshop, perfecting the art of accounting – make a list of these things and figure out where you can learn them in person in your community. Try going to a number of these places for the next six months, make new friends, and find yourself growing. Try to find someone in one of these places that you feel like you have a good connection with and try to keep the conversation going, try to befriend them, and get along with a new community. It may take time, but eventually in reinventing yourself, you’re likely to end up having one on one time with somebody, and the good news is that you’ll have developed a friendship which is a precursor to having a healthy relationship. A romantic relationship is really just a friendship on drugs. And the best relationships come from those that took longer to court, from strong friendships, and from situations where you have “forced togetherness” (such as working together, hobbies, school, etc.) The bar scene – not a great place to start a long term relationship, or even a good casual thing.
By being more active about your hobbies and what you want to do with your life, you’ll end up creating something you can share with someone else. If all you’re going to do is sit in front of a television and eat the best potato chips on the planet, what exactly are you expecting if you want to share your life with someone? Consider what is the best possible you that you can share -- if that's being a bum, then you are keeping your odds low of finding an amazing match.
Your challenge is to ditch swiping on apps and start doing something more creative with your life. This is in order for you to share who you are with someone worthwhile. Do you want to only be talented at scanning and going through dating apps? Why create that clutter in your life? Some of these dating methods cost money too, which isn’t effective for your wallet. And it will be a pain if you've accumulated a lot of them to delete them and all of their details from the Internet.
People are getting married older. It’s normal to be unmarried past 30. Don’t rush into a relationship just because the people you know may have tied the knot before you. It doesn’t matter. Focus on you and your needs. People find love at different ages, after different experiences, and at the right time. Don’t jump the shark. Be kind to your own heart. Focus on your mind and heart over other body parts when it comes to love. The hookup culture route mostly just ups your chances of running into disease, anxious people, and getting yourself lost. You actually will have more fun time in the bedroom if you commit to someone then if you play hookup culture games that are essentially Russian roulette with your love life and emotions. You are not controlling game as much as you think if all you do are one chance meetups.
Overtime your experiences in relationships will improve, your knowledge will increase, and you’ll get more healthy. Consider your bad dating habits and cut them today. Make a list of what you think isn’t helping you out – and end it. We all have some housecleaning to do, and an honest realistic check with yourself, and doing this will get you headed in the right direction.
Here’s the stitch – people have been figuring out this courting thing since the dawn of time. Sure, there’s been a lot of changes as civilization adapts to the times, but dating, or finding a mate, isn’t as hard as some people want you to believe. Loads of people have been in successful unions. You could put all the greatest couples together from Earth stacked on top of each other and it would stretch beyond the Moon (if gravity worked that way). Literally, there is an endless sea of successful couples. If all of them can do it, I believe you can too.
Don't make a fast food version of dating be your lifestyle. Instead shoot for the stars and aim for a strong connection, like a steak made well at a 5 star restaurant, covered in red wine.
© 2016 Andrea Lawrence