When it comes to dating, there are certain "shoulds" or expectations we often hold onto. Sometimes we’ve adapted these from unsolicited advice we come across on social media. Other times we’ve built up these “shoulds” after our own heartbreak, as rules to uphold in hopes that we’ll minimize the possibility of getting hurt again.
But dating with all these “shoulds” takes the joy out of the journey. Letting these go can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling dating experience. Here are some "shoulds" to consider letting go of:
“You should play hard to get.”
Let go of the notion that you have to play games or be elusive in order for someone to be attracted to you. Authenticity is often more appealing than playing the hard-to-get game.
“You should follow a specific timeline.”
Attempting to follow a specific timeline keeps you hyper-focused on the outcome rather than enjoying the journey. Each person and relationship is unique, and there's no set schedule for when certain milestones should happen. Don't feel pressured to follow a predetermined timeline for dating.
“You should only date a certain type.”
Be open-minded and release any rigid expectations about the type of person you should be attracted to. Sometimes, the most fulfilling connections are the most unexpected ones. Allow yourself to date beyond your usual type.
“You should change yourself to please others.”
Changing who you are to fit someone else’s idea of an ideal partner will only lead to future hurt. You’ll often wonder if the person you’re dating would actually like you, like the real you that you haven’t let them see. This rejection of your true self will feel like a dark cloud hanging over the relationship you're trying to build. Authenticity is key to building a lasting connection.
“You should keep your feelings to yourself.”
The foundation of a healthy relationship is built on open communication. Suppressing your feelings or avoiding difficult conversations might feel more comfortable in the moment, especially if you’re uncomfortable with conflict, but honest communication fosters understanding and connection.
Remember, dating is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. Letting go of these "shoulds" can help you approach dating more authentically and with more flexibility, leading to more meaningful connections.