With 2018 a few days away, it's the perfect time to reassess your dating life. By making a few New Year's dating resolutions, it could mean the difference between continually falling into the same dating patterns — that may not have your best interests at heart, literally and figuratively — or upping your dating life to a higher level. By making dating resolutions, you'll have a blueprint for your dating life, and it'll be easier to stick to them than you may think. For instance, you can find a friend to make dating resolutions, too. Then, write the resolutions down, share them with your friend and set a time and date each week to check in with each other to analyze your progress.
You can make dating resolutions regarding just about anything, from going on more dates per week (if you're someone who wants to date more but doesn't make too much of an effort) to dating less and focusing on getting to know one person at once instead of getting lost in a sea of online dates. Or perhaps your resolutions will be more about your dating behavior, i.e., you tend to dismiss people who you think are on a different level when one may actually be your soulmate.
"New Year's resolutions are vital because we have a tendency to run patterns in life, and our dating and love lives are no exception," Shlomo Zalman Bregman, Rabbi, matchmaker, and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Most of the problems we encounter in life stem from the same patterns, but merely applied to a new set of operative facts, circumstances, places, or people. To turn your love life around and create the types of outcomes you want in 2018, it's crucial that you become adept at spotting the recurring limiting beliefs or attitudes in your life, and then to break that pattern."
Below are some ideas for dating resolutions for the New Year. You can make a list of the ones you want to try or even just pick out one to focus on in 2018.
1. "I Will Have Higher Standards"
When an old therapist told me I needed to have higher dating standards, at first, I was insulted. What was wrong with my last few relationships? As we discussed them and wrote down their similarities and differences, I realized many of the guys had been carbon copies of each other: addiction issues (alcoholics), emotionally unavailable, different values, etc. That talk with her changed the way I dated, and, ever since, I try to pay attention to the warning signs early on to avoid old negative dating patterns.
2. "I Will Make Sure We Have A Solid Friendship Base Aside From Our Romantic Relationship"
You may often hear people say that friendship is the most important foundation for a romantic relationship, and I agree. If you look at other couples whose relationships you admire, especially older couples who have been together for years, you'll probably notice that the friendship between them is solid.
For instance, if you find that you don't confide in your partner about most things, or don't even want to, you may want to figure out why that is and do something about it. "Getting to know a date more as a friend first is very good for establishing a foundation for a relationship," Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, tells Bustle. "Give yourself that gift."
3. "I Will Focus On What I *Need* From A Partner More So Than What I Want"
If you don't know what you need in a partner, go make a list right now, followed by another that lists what you want. Maybe you want a partner who's taller than you, but you don't need someone who is since you'd rather have a good-hearted partner first and foremost. However, you do need a partner who's on the same page as you, politically, because you've tried dating someone with opposing views before and it made things a lot harder since it affected your whole value system. Writing is all down helps, and helps you focus on what you need versus want. You'll see.
5. "I Will Know What My Relationship Goals Are"
Goals are an important part of many facets of life — career goals, financial goals, friendship goals, and so on. Relationship goals, too, are important to have. By knowing what you want out of a relationship, whether it's something serious or casual, before entering into one, it will not only help you manifest and attract what you want, but also help prevent disappointment.
Rabbi Bregman agrees about focusing on the type of person you want to be with. "You should ask yourself: Are you choosing people with different or the same personality and character traits?" he says. "Are you meeting people in the same places you used to, in the same ways? Or has something substantial in your approach indeed changed?"
6. "I Will Give More People A Chance Who Initially May Not Seem To Be My 'Type'"
Sometimes, you may go on a date with someone and it was fine, but not amazing. "They weren't my type," you may say. However, some of those "fine" first dates could end up being amazing partners, but you won't know unless you see them again.
"Make a promise to yourself that you'll give people a proper chance," Dating Coach & Relationship Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Author James Preece tells Bustle. "Dating has become very disposable with so many dating apps, with singles not making enough effort. It's so easy to get a date with someone else, and people have become fussier, ruling each other out for no real reason. Nobody is going to be themselves during a first meeting, as they'll be nervous and trying to impress. So if you do think there's any possibility, go on one more date. You might find yourself liking them more. If you don't, then you've not lost anything!"
Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert, agrees with Preece. "Decide what areas you might be open to meeting someone that, last year, you wouldn’t give a chance to," Safran tells Bustle. "Just remember that a date is just that, a date."
7. "I Will Listen To My Instincts When Something Feels Off"
I've been there and you've probably been there, too. The person you're dating exhibits some behaviors you don't like, but you excuse them. "OK, they 'forgot' to text me when they said they would — NBD" or "They said we'd go out Friday and didn't follow-through," etc. A few instances of this early on, fine — you believe the reasons, erm, excuses. Maybe they really are not a big deal. But if they continue to show signs that they do not do what they say they'll do, it's not a good sign. I mean, how can you trust someone who cannot even follow-through on small promises? Basically, you need to listen to what their actions are saying. Because, trust me, there are people out there who will do what they say they'll do and not make you ill at ease.
8. "I Will Pay Attention To Red Flags"
Like it or not, relationship red flags are bound to come up when dating someone, but some will probably carry more weight than others. After all, while some people may think it's a red flag if someone hasn't had a lot of long-term relationships, another person may not think it's a big deal, especially if they talk about it together and/or if they haven't had long relationships either. However, other red flags often bleed into many areas of the relationship. For instance, if your date is rude to the waiter, it's likely a matter of time before they're rude to others, and to you. The more you ignore red flags, the more glaring they'll become.
9. "I Will Date Someone Emotionally Available"
You know these types — they pretend to be all in, or perhaps you get clouded by their other great traits and make yourself believe they're all in, but when it comes down to it, they're not. In essence, they cannot give you what you need, emotionally. For instance, I'd been dating a guy a few months who kept saying he wanted a girlfriend, but his behavior didn't match his words. When it came time for me to get an ultrasound at the hospital, I was scared and he'd offered to go with me. But when the day came, he didn't show up. So, pay attention to when and how someone you're dating shows up.
10. "I Will Remember That Not My Dates Are *Not* My Ex"
You may hear time and time again not to compare a current date or partner to an ex, and there's a good reason why: They're not your ex. I know, sometimes it may be hard to believe, because they'll do something that reminds you of your ex, and then you'll go into a mental downward spiral of thinking that everything they do is just like your ex. But, that's not true.
"Just because you were treated badly in the past, or were burned before, does not mean that you should generalize all potential new dating prospects as being 'all the same,'" Rabbi Bergman says. "In fact, this kind of negative thinking can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, if you were treated badly in the past, you should now invest your energies into reflecting on the type of person you'd like to be with in the future."
11. "I Will Continue Having My Own Life Outside Of My Dating Life"
It's easy to get sucked into dating or seeing someone so much, you soon lose your independence and your focus on what's important to you — hiking alone every Saturday morning, writing a new blog post every night before bed, seeing friends, etc. So, while it's great to work on your dating life, I'd say it's even more important to maintain your healthy relationship with yourself, the one you had pre-dating.
You may remember Sherry Argov's tongue-in-cheek dating book, Why Men Love Bitches, where she says the person you're dating is a piece of the pie of your life, not the whole pie — and it's true. When I find myself losing track of this, I think of Argov's quote, and I'll continue to as a dating resolution in 2018.
Whether you use some of the above dating resolutions, one, or create your own, the most important thing is to learn from what hasn't been working and make some changes in the upcoming year. Here's to a healthy dating life in 2018!