A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Dating: Part Two

19.08.18

If Part One of A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Dating felt a little depressing, that’s because it is.

I’m kidding!!! We’re all going to be fine. But there’s some sh*t you need to know.

As I mentioned, last week I put the word out to readers to share the things they wish they’d known about modern dating, and the feedback I got ranged from the basic to the borderline-crazy (no judgement). Alice said, “We’re all in one big episode of The Bachelor. Which is to say, don’t assume a person isn’t seeing somebody else while they’re seeing you. Until you’ve had the talk, they’re technically free to play the field.” Before you’ve had “the talk”, Sophie said one way to know if a guy really likes you is if he “deep-likes a photo on Instagram.” You know when someone scrolls all the way back to a family holiday you took to Thailand in 2015? That’s a “deep-like” and apparently it’s a good sign.

Another good sign is the kind of language people use. According to research published in Science Advances, women will use positive language when engaging with a person they like, but the opposite is true for men – the more desirable the woman is perceived to be, the less frequently men will use positive words. It’s like negging: the act of emotional manipulation where a man tries to win a woman over by insulting her. Classic (??) .That same study revealed that people will initiate conversation in dating apps with people who are “at least 25 percent more desirable than they are”. So if a guy starts talking to you, he thinks you’re 25% more fire than him. Mood!! Speaking of technology, Frances said that if you match with a guy on Tinder and he claims “messaging on here is overwhelming, let’s Snapchat!”, it means A) he wants to send unsavoury dick pics, B) He can’t commit, because he can’t even commit to messages that last longer than 10 seconds, or C) He has a secret girlfriend. Alice believes that when a guy asks how are you? on Tinder or Bumble, he doesn’t actually want to know how you are, “he doesn’t want to know if you cried today and he doesn’t want to know if you have your period.” Oh.

Speaking of online, if you’re single you have nothing to lose by being on Tinder or Bumble. Think of it like community service; you’re showing solidarity for those who are in the same season as you. Kate stressed that it’s 2018 and either party can message first, “I was waiting for a guy I liked to say something and got sick of waiting so I sent the first message. We’ve been seeing each other for almost a year now and are so in love. Don’t hold off because you’re afraid you’ll seem needy.”

If you’ve been successful in securing a first date, there’s some new developments in this arena too. For example, gone are the days where the man is expected to pay for the drinks. However, a gentleman will always attempt to pay, at which point you can either offer to split the bill or suggest that you buy the next round. If he still insists on paying then for Gods sake let him. If you take anything from this article let it to be to never turn down free wine.

Okay so what are the rules once you’ve found someone?

Lucy believes a good rule of thumb is to only plan for things in the future that are as far away as the time you’ve been together; so if you’ve only been together one month, don’t buy tickets to a concert in six months time. Stella said, “Don’t punish yourself about the rules surrounding when to sleep with a person. If it feels right to sleep together on the first date, trust your instincts. If you want to wait a month, wait. “Holding out” versus “putting out” are irrelevant concepts if the guy isn’t interested.” And speaking of not interested, Harry said to “know when to pull the pin. If you find yourself constantly vying for someone’s attention, it’s never going to work.”

As for my advice?

I agree with relationship expert Esther Perel who lives by the mantra that the quality of our relationships dictates the quality of our lives. Humans are hard-wired for connection, but that isn’t limited to only romantic relationships. One of my goals for 2018 was to put more romance into my friendships. Buy my girls flowers, shout them coffee, send them random messages of love and encouragement. I also believe that it’s okay to want to be single for a season in your life. It doesn’t make you lonely or a spinster. And it’s equally okay to want to be in a relationship. It doesn’t make you needy or co-dependant. When you lie about the things that matter to you, you are disavowing them and that will only lead to greater unhappiness.

In other words: You’ve come this far, don’t settle.


Header image by Wono Kim for The Twenties Club