You spend a few months getting to know them. You fall in love. You’re together for a year or two. Things don’t work out. You break-up. And then you spend another year recovering before you’re ready to date again.
You’ve just lost a couple years (or more!) of your life and now you’re back to the beginning. Andy Whaling, MFT calls this serial monogamy. You’re dating one person at a time, over and over.
Date Lots of Different People
Andy says it’s a “numbers game.” Instead of wasting a lot of time on one person, you want to date a lot of different people. And you want to you go slow enough that you don’t get attached before you really know them. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you just stop dating them. That’s it. No horrible break-up. No down-time recovering. And you get to keep dating the other people you were seeing, while you were seeing them. No time off the dating market.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Andy recommends dating 3 people at a time. And spreading your dates 3 weeks apart. Because if you’re going out weekly, that’s a relationship. This also helps you go slow (no getting physical). And it keeps you from getting overly focused on one person. Remember it takes 3-6 months for infatuation to wear off. So, before then, it’s mostly hormones. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to become exclusive with one person right away.
Smile and Make Eye Contact
How does Andy suggest you find 3 people to date? Women — you have to let men know you’re open to being approached. Remember to smile and make eye contact. Men — you have to read her signals and wait for that opening. If you smile at a woman, give her a couple minutes to smile back. It may take her a minute to realize you’re actually smiling at her. She might even look away at first (to see who she thinks you’re smiling at). But, if she smiles back, that’s a sign that she’s open to being approached.
Become a Dating Machine
You’ll be amazed how many people you’ll meet once you start smiling and making eye-contact. The other thing Andy recommends is to change your dating criteria. The only requirements for a first date are 1) You wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with them in public and 2) They’re age-appropriate (not old enough to be your parent or child) That’s it. You can find out the rest once you start going out with them.
Do You Want to Get to Know Them Better?
The best part about dating more is you’ll get lots of practice. So, when you do meet someone interesting, you’ll feel more comfortable. You’ll know what to do and say. You’ll be able to just be yourself. And you’ll know how to take it slow. And you get to decide when you’re ready to take it to the next level. (For more on this, see 5 Steps to Building a Healthy Relationship)
Whaling, A. (2000-2002). Sunday Night Singles. Pasadena, CA.