We’ve all run across one of the many dating pitfalls that can trip us up in our search for romance. To help guide your way, I give you the top five dating mistakes — with advice on how to avoid them in the future.
1. Seeming needy and desperate
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but the problem is that we don’t often realize that we have bathed in the perfume of desperation until someone tells us.
The main thing to avoid here is giving away too much too soon. This isn’t always expressed verbally and can come at a new partner in a number of ways: your sexuality; your time, energy and attention; expressing an obvious sense of urgency; forcing a connection; and an overactive desire to please. It may seem cliché, but generally, men like it when a woman is hard to get. If a man feels like he is after someone special, and that he needs to put forth a good effort to win the affections of that someone special, he reaps the benefits of a boosted ego once he does — if he does — win her over.
2. Not having your own opinions
On the first few dates we would all like to avoid any major conflicts and seem flexible and adaptable. But when we can’t even answer a simple question like “Where would you like to go for dinner?” without responding with “Wherever you want,” we give an impression of over-compliance, trying too hard to please, or worse — mental simplicity. So be yourself and stick to your opinions, because nothing is sexier than someone with the confidence to express her own thoughts.
3. Talking about past relationships
Talking about the past can be important, but on the first couple dates, it’s best to leave your ex at home. Hashing out horror stories about your dating life can bring about anger and unresolved issues, making you look bitter — and that doesn’t look good on anybody. Or the heartache and loving feelings that never healed from the previous partner may seep out, painting you with the “she’s not over her ex” brush.
4. Playing up the eyes and the ears
We all want to show off our assets and draw attention to our good qualities, physically and mentally. However, showing too much and talking too much are a deadly combination. Choose only one physical asset to draw his attention to on each date, and be mindful of who is doing the most the talking and bragging. The attractiveness of listening is highly underrated! Nervous rambling, long-winded stories, too much boastfulness, and sharing overly personal details about yourself don’t just take over the conversation — they also stifle your ability to really learn about the person you’re dating. Let him do at least half the talking; that way, you can gauge for yourself if there truly is a connection.
5. Dropping everything for him
If you are constantly cancelling your plans and rearranging your schedule to fit his, you are portraying yourself as a needy, overly flexible doormat. If he can make last-minute plans with you at 10pm on a Saturday night, you may be too available. If, in the beginning of the relationship, you are cancelling girls’ nights, shifting your exercise schedule and reorganizing your work life to meet his needs, you are asking for trouble. He is either going to run for the hills, or use the realization that his life is already more important than yours to his advantage.
It is important to keep to your previous activities going, because nothing is more attractive than a person who is confident, busy and happy. After all, you will feel complete on our own when you start looking for someone to enrich and share your life, rather than looking to meet someone before you’ve really begun living.
Dr. Teesha Morgan is a sex therapist based in Vancouver, BC.