When you’re single, dating can be extremely fun and elating – but it can also be a bit of a downer. Here, Kimberly Moffit, Relationship Insider for Match.com, explains why Canadians like to prepare an exit strategy when on a date and how to have a happier dating life.
Q: Does how you date say anything about the kind of relationship you’ll end up in?
A: Yes, how you date will certainly have an effect on the kind (or quality) of relationship you’ll end up in. The concept is simple: You’re more likely to find a quality match if you’re willing to date more often. Many unsuccessful daters have an ‘all or nothing’ view of love. Canadian singles often count on getting into a relationship with the first person that walks through the door – or in recent years, with someone they speak to within days of joining an online dating site. Whether it’s fear of rejection or lack of confidence, ‘dating neediness’ can result in settling for someone you don’t feel absolutely crazy in love with. My best advice is simple: focus on going on more dates. For many Canadian singles, dating is difficult. But it is a great – and really important – experience to have. Dating helps you learn about yourself and find out what you are truly looking for in a partner. The idea is to meet more people, especially people outside of your normal social network. You might just end up finding that extra special somebody.
Q: Does preparing an exit strategy before a date mean that you have a bad attitude about dating?
A: It’s true that more than one in four Canadians prepares an exit strategy before a first date – but this definitely does not mean that Canadians have a bad attitude towards dating. Preparing an exit strategy is the modern way to be prepared for a date. Let’s face it: we can’t always be compatible with the people we go out with, and preparing a way out is a good way to prevent wasting time if the date is going nowhere. Whether it’s prefacing the date with, “I might only be able to stay about an hour because I’m on-call to work” or even “I’ve been working all day and haven’t made it home to feed the dog,” exit strategies don’t necessarily denote a pessimistic point of view. In fact, having an exit strategy might make you feel more confident about dating more often if you know you’ll have a means to leave if things are not going well. However, the modern exit strategy does have to be more sophisticated than the routine of having a friend call and fake an emergency – we’ve seen this one before and no one is buying it!
Q: Is there any way to ensure that dating is a happier experience?
A: As with most experiences in life, your attitude is the number one factor in determining what kind of dating experience you’ll have. Going into the dating experience with a positive attitude, open mind, and open heart is the most effective way to meet someone you’ll find attractive. Dating should be fun! It’s important to leave the picky, critical attitude at home and understand that you can gain something from every date you have. Even if he isn’t your prince charming, you can still learn a lot from your date’s life experiences, the obstacles he’s overcome, and his feedback for you.
Q: What’s your advice for anyone who wants to be in relationship but isn’t sure where to start?
A: Through my practice I’ve seen hundreds of Canadian singles who want to be in a relationship but aren’t. My advice is to first think about not only what you want from a relationship, but what you can offer in return. Relationships – and dating – are two-way streets. You can’t get something from nothing! If all your friends and friends of friends are hooked up, join an online dating site. Not everyone meets their soul mate in university. Because Canadians can be really shy when it comes to asking someone out, online dating can make it easier and less intimidating for singles to date. In many cases asking someone out via an email is a lot easier than in person. For both men and women, this can make the awkward process of going on a first date seamless and psychologically less intimidating. One of the things I love about online dating is that you can see in advance what your shared interests are before you even talk. Before your first date, you will feel more comfortable knowing that you can break the ice and have a conversation based on a shared interest or value.