Some of us become ready to date before others do — we all grow up at different rates. I was a late bloomer.
t I spent a lot of time blaming various women for my singleness — she’s not ready, she doesn’t know what she wants or she’s crazy (OK, some were crazy). Looking back, it seems like I wasn’t ready to date because I essentially hadn’t grown up.
t Don’t get me wrong — women I date don’t actually think I’m a “grown-up.” But my internal growth from spastic/angry 20s to thoughtful and laid-back 30s led to a slight shift in thinking that made all the difference. Some of us become ready to date before others do — we all grow up at different rates. I was a late bloomer.
t Here are seven changes and developments that helped me go from floundering, confused single to single with a purpose.
I started to enjoy being alone
t It started when I got older and my friends started settling down. Without so many friends going out, my FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) dissipated. I then cherished my personal Friday nights after work: bourbon, YouTube and Wikipedia. In fact, once I started dating again, that alone time became even more valuable.
I mastered the use of time in dating
t Time is mastered somewhere in between realizing you have a lot of time to find the right person and not wasting time on the wrong person.
I stopped getting wasted
t Alcohol amped up my natural propensity to say stupid things, and it caused me to lose focus. With my low tolerance, it never took long for me to morph into a haggard town drunk. Eventually, the fun of being wasted wore off, and I learned my limits. Getting wasted only led to negative outcomes.
I discovered there really are many fish in the sea
t In the old days, I used to hyperfocus on one woman. I thought there were only a few women who were actually compatible with me. Once I realized there were lots of women out there, I was able to move on with no regrets after things didn’t work out. Of course, there were “ones that got away,” but I was able to learn from them and keep the experiences in perspective.
I started to care more about my career
t One day, I woke up and said, “I’d better try to make as much money as I possibly can while I’m single.”
t I originally paid much more attention to dating. Once I started moving along in my career, I not only got more comfortable being alone (see No. 1), but I gained confidence that helped me in the dating world.
I stopped looking for the perfect woman
t I finally accepted that even “The One” would sometimes annoy me or might not look flawless every minute of our lives together. Looking for that walk-on-air dream girl eliminated 95 percent of potential girlfriends in a bar or at a party. Plus, I’d be setting myself up for serious disappointment when she didn’t turn out to be perfect.
I found more practical dating circumstances
t I used to only be attracted to situations with insurmountable challenges. My dating requirements included never-ending, magical whirlwind romance, long-distance triumph or replacing a boyfriend to rescue a damsel in distress. Things got better when I looked for situations that were more of a natural fit. I avoided the dramatic stories I once sought. My dating life took off once I stopped trying to get the square peg into the round hole and instead started looking for a complementary puzzle piece.