I’m no relationship expert, but did I find Mr. Right? You bet your sweet caboose I did.
Not to make this post gross with our lovey-dovey-ness, but Dan really is a sensational partner (and hunky too!). I found a real smartypants with an aptitude for so many things and a curiosity that keeps him interesting. He complements me, challenges me, and is exactly the person I need. We have so much fun together, but balance it out with a wonderful ebb and flow of time together versus time as individuals. On top of all that, we have amazing romantic chemistry. I’m pretty lucky.
I had some major AHA moments on my dating journey. and for those out there looking to find that epic romance, maybe my words of advice will help. Again, not an expert, but I’ve learned some things.
Why Dating is Important
I’m a big believer that you should date a lot before you tether your boat to one dock. With advice that would make my father cringe: try to date as much as possible. Sample the figurative menu and meet all kinds of people from different walks of life. It’s good for you.
Dating around will help you understand your actual type a lot better. The type of person you think you like and the type of person you actually want to build a life with aren’t necessarily the same person—which is a good thing. If I hadn’t spent much time in the dating pool, I seriously doubt that I would have ended up with Dan.
To find this kind of love, you need to put in some effort as well as trial and error. Don’t expect all your suitors to be top-shelf material. We all have some dating horror stories.
I’ve Dated All The Wrong Guys
It’s no secret: I have dated more than my fair share of losers and guys that were definitely Mr. Wrong. Let me give you a sampling of the dudes I’ve spent time with over the years:
- Mr. Narcissist
- Mr. Booty Call
- Mr. Criminal Record
- Mr. Privacy Invader
- Mr. Emotionally Unavailable
- Mr. Old Guy
- Mr. Drug Addict
- Mr. Control Freak
- Mr. Boring
- Mr. Married to His Job
- Mr. I Have a Girlfriend
Oh, younger self. You certainly knew how to pick them. What a list of…let’s just call them what they were: buffoons, degenerates, and losers.
Why did I date so many losers, you ask? Great question. If I’m being honest, I was blinded by good looks a lot of the time. Shallow? Certainly.
There are actually MANY reasons it took me forever to meet my husband. Here are the top five lessons I learned in hindsight that would have helped me find love sooner:
1. I wasn’t being myself
Fact: I’m a bit of a weirdo, and that’s cool. I like who I am. It’s important to appreciate yourself as a person before you invite anybody else to spend a lot of time with you.
Before I had this AHA moment, I was basically the social media version of myself out in public—trying to keep up an idealized version of yourself does not work long term and it won’t lead to a quality relationship. If you have a foundation built on lies, you better have some damn good insurance when that foundation crumbles. Once I realized that I didn’t like who I was pretending to be, I stripped away all my phony parts and was left with somebody that I actually appreciate.
Over the years I’ve become more self-aware, more secure in who I am, and praise myself for being able to make myself happy. This is actually the best advice I can give you if you’re looking for the real deal in a relationship: Be your true self. Frankly, if I was the person I was a year before I met Dan, he probably wouldn’t have given me the time of day (rightfully so).
2. I kept fishing in the same pond
The next AHA moment came when I started thinking about my routine and where I typically met guys: at work, bars, clubs, and other poor choices where degenerates hang out. There are some exceptions out there, but for the most part, you are not likely to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right while you are throwing back tequila shots and listening to EDM. Please reference my list of all the guys I met above for the types of dudes you’re likely to find in these places.
In which case, where do you meet Mr. Right? Literally anywhere else.
Try online dating. I’m a big believer in online dating if you do it right through a reputable site. Take the time to build your profile – you may want to race through to get started but trust me when I say that you want to be thorough so the site’s algorithms can work in your favour.
Other options for meeting new people: say yes to any and all invitations you receive from your friendship circle. Your buddy’s work is having a party and they get a plus one? Go check it out. There’s a live art show happening in town? Yes, please! Are you interested in taking a class on outdoor first aid? Okay! You will meet a whole new batch of people by simply saying yes to invitations from friends.
Fun fact: Dan and I met through a combination of online dating and saying yes to invitations from friends. If you have a spare minute, read about how I met my future husband.
3. I was afraid to put myself “out there”
I know I’m not unique when it comes to this thought. However, as I’ve gotten over myself I’ve realized that the worst-case scenario is that somebody does not return my interest. That’s actually pretty great. The sooner I know that you’re not interested, I can stop wasting my time. Because who wants to be with somebody that doesn’t want to be with them? Sad people, that’s who. We all deserve happiness.
You want somebody that smiles when they see you and wants to hold hands with you in public and kiss at stoplights in traffic. I’ve always wanted all the little things like that but settled for less because my ego was too fragile to be told “no thank you” (it’s generally not as polite as “no thank you”, but this is how I framed these types of pursuits that did not end as intended). Now I have Dan in my life and we do all these cutesy things… I’m sorry if you ever see us in public.
Being transparent and stating what you want will bring you so much closer to the happily ever after you imagine for yourself.
4. I had a preconceived notion of Mr. Right
When I first started dating, I had that mental checklist of all the things my beau needed to be, including what he looked like—tall, dark eyes, dark hair, great muscles, a little scruff on his face. My husband only has a few of these physical features—he’s taller than average, dirty blond, and only grows out his facial hair for my benefit (I go into dramatic mourning when he shaves it off).
There are plenty of partner traits I thought I wanted versus the traits I ended up with:
My perfect man needed an exquisite sense of humour and impeccable comedic timing. Dan is a man of a thousand puns and dad jokes that solicit more groans than laughter. To his credit, every once in a while, Dan lands a pretty good one-liner.
I wanted somebody who said all the right things. Fun fact: this is an easy thing to fake. My husband rarely says the right thing, but it’s truly part of his charm and the lines he does come up with either make for laughter or a good story.
I wanted a man who drank scotch or was a wine connoisseur. My husband is a fan of making his own brand of hot chocolate using a fine measurement of instant mix and cocoa.
There are many other examples I could share of my checklist compared to who I actually fell in love with, but I think you get the idea. The person you think you want and the person who fits you are seldom the same.
5. I wasn’t actually ready for a relationship
Looking back, I realize that I thought I wanted to be somebody’s girlfriend, but I wasn’t actually at a point to contribute to a relationship in a meaningful way. Turns out, it’s not just the guy who is the problem—like the saying goes, “it takes two”.
Full disclosure: I was kind of a jerk in my mid-twenties. Even when I was somebody’s girlfriend, I wasn’t emotionally invested the way I should have been. Were there any fellows I can honestly say I truly cared about? Only a couple.
There were times in my life I dated multiple people at once, not really investing enough in any of them to call our time together significant. I also wasn’t upfront with some of these folks and just let them presume that we weren’t seeing other people, thinking that my ethical loophole was that we hadn’t had a conversation of exclusivity. That’s so many kinds of uncool, past self, bad karma points awarded for sure.
I was a young kid and didn’t really know what it meant to be surrounded by the warmth of a partner who is equal parts best friend and paramour. I’m glad I sorted myself out eventually, but the point is, if you’re not ready for a relationship, don’t jump into one.
If you’re looking for your life mate, don’t rush the process. Check in with yourself and make sure you’re ready before sending out your mating call (aside: how bizarre would it be if humans had mating calls?). Your person will come along when the time is right; I know it.
To all the happy singles out there who stumbled on this post, keep living your best lives; there’s no need to settle down if you love being unattached. We live in a beautiful time where we don’t have to partner up if we don’t want to (it’s not Noah’s ark, after all). Be frivolous and have fun, friends!
Photo Credit: Everton Vila