I don’t typically watch trash TV, but I recently found myself compelled to watch Season 14 of The Bachelorette on HBO Max (originally released in 2018). I knew nothing about this season, but I remember years ago when I watched the very first season of The Bachelorette (with Trista and Ryan) and felt so warmed that they actually got married, had children, and seemed to stay happily together. I was also tired of watching promos for The Bachelor, seeing women throw themselves at this one man who just sat back and enjoyed the view, only to break up with them after the show ended. These women were gorgeous and deep and smart, and I just couldn’t stand to watch them make asses of themselves for this one guy. However, I felt much more intrigued to watch a woman, genuinely looking for love, have multiple suitors try to win her heart. It’s all trash, I know, but sometimes I love indulging in trash.
MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH FOR SEASON 14 OF THE BACHELORETTE, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…
I just finished the finale, and during the season, I made a point not to Google anything so I wouldn’t accidentally absorb any spoilers. However, during the finale when the two had become engaged, I decided to Google both of them to see how happy and in love they now were. Apparently, just three days ago, they decided to part ways. Oy. Telling. And it’s the inspiration for this blog post.
Becca and Garrett from Season 14 of The Bachelorette. If you’ve never watched, sorry, I just spoiled it.
Back when I was single, I would have been much more upset to hear this news of breakup. When I was single, I looked mostly to pop culture media in order to learn about love and dating, and this completely–and incorrectly–informed my dating habits for years and years. This brings me to my first Do/Don’t Rule.
DATING DON’T #1: DON’T SEEK DATING ADVICE FROM UNHEALTHY, TOXIC, OR FANTASY SOURCES
It’s truly okay and fun to let yourself get swept away by a RomCom on a Friday night. However, don’t take any messages from pop culture media sources as truth when it comes to your own personal love and dating journey. Just don’t. It’s not true. Hollywood is false, and taking anything you see in the media as truth can really complicate your motivations and mindset when it comes to love.
Don’t seek dating advice from single people. Some of your best friends might also be single and they may be the wisest people you know. But asking your single friends for dating advice is like the blind leading the blind.
Don’t seek love advice from unhealthy, unhappy, unloving, toxic couples. You may have a close friend or even a family member whom you are very close to, but who has been miserably married for twenty years. Do you want to be miserably married in twenty years? I’m guessing no, so don’t follow the advice of someone who is, even if they mean so well.
Film still from one of my favorite RomComs, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. It’s utterly and deliciously ridiculous.
DATING DO #1: DO SEEK DATING ADVICE FROM HAPPY COUPLES AND OLDER PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HAPPILY MARRIED FOR YEARS
Dating works up to a point. You can date and find someone you’re really attracted to. But if you aren’t looking for a person to be with for the long haul, you might be blinded by attraction and overlook red flags indicating a person’s potential immaturity. You may date for a few months, but once you hit your first snag, that is when you really need to pay attention to the way this snag is resolved. I know it’s hard to get your heart involved only to have it shatter after a few months. But that’s just what finding love requires sometimes. You will survive, and it will all be worth it. But it’s so much easier if you put your Goddess Status above all else.
Anyone who has been in a long-term, healthy relationship will tell you the truth about love. After the fancy stuff has faded, you really do get into the juicy meat of love. And that almost never looks like a RomCom. It’s better than any RomCom, it really is, but you won’t ever see that in mainstream media, and you won’t ever hear that from toxic couples. Real love and true partnership works if lots of healthy factors are in place, and one of those factors includes being able to handle disagreements in loving, respectful, calm, and solution-seeking ways. It doesn’t matter how hot, sweet, sexy, interesting, and fun your date is. If he walks away from you while you are expressing your feelings, disrespectfully talks over you, and/or never apologizes (even and especially if he disagrees with you), you must take those indications seriously. Those behaviors spell toxicity, pain, emotional abuse, and ultimate relationship immaturity. Anyone in a healthy relationship will tell you this, and this is what you should be looking for, even on a first date.
Another ridiculous thing about The Bachelorette, is that even in the getting-to-know-you conversations taking place (they often only seemed to last for five minutes once every week), they didn’t necessarily cover the basics in terms of fundamental values, preferences, and opinions. These interactions were much more about fun, attraction, and playing for the camera. But during a first date, in real life, you MUST ask the important questions.
DATING DON’T #2: DON’T AVOID ASKING IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ON A FIRST DATE
I get it, I do. If you are on a first date with a super hot guy and you just want to make sure you get to date number two with him, sometimes, you can’t help but lean into your insecurities, letting him lead the date, letting him ask the questions (or talk about himself the entire time), and avoiding asserting yourself. I was on a date once with a man I was so insanely attracted to, and I really and truly surrendered my entire self in his presence (not in a good way). This Goddess went bye-bye and in her place was this shell of a woman that I thought he might like a little better than my actual self. I think I actually intuited that this guy was not even close to being ready for or interested in the real, fierce, bold, goofy, intense, sensitive me. So I tried to play it cool. It was a terrible feeling, actually, and in general, it’s probably best to date guys on your level in terms of attractiveness! He felt a bit out of my league to me and I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend the rest of your life with someone who you feel like you have to constantly impress or keep up with. Anyway, my point is, on a date like that, I forwent the opportunity to ask those important questions, and if the guy would’ve called me again (he didn’t), I could have easily wasted weeks and weeks trying to impress him, completely forgetting about my needs.
DATING DO #2: DO ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ON THE FIRST DATE, WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT
The older we get, the less time we seem to have for dating. When I reached my late thirties, luckily I really started caring less about whether or not my date was bothered by certain things. My perspective was, “I don’t have time to waste with you, so let’s get some of this out of the way right now!” However, if you are dating a good guy, he will welcome important questions and will have important questions of his own for you. That’s when you know you are sitting across from someone looking for love as well. If you ask an important question and the guy gets all, “Whoa, jeez, it’s just the first date, why are you asking me all these personal questions?!” you should take that as a HUGE red flag. Umm, we go on dates to get to know someone PERSONALLY, so excuse me if I’m asking you PERSONAL questions! Child. Sorry, aaannnyway…here are some questions that are totally fair and mature and goddess-like to ask on a first date:
“What are your political views?”
“Are you interested in starting a family someday?”
“What do you do for a living and do you like it?”
“Where are you from and tell me about your family, any siblings, etc.?”
“How long have you been single?”
**It’s a slippery slope talking about past relationships on a first date. It can be invaluable to get the basics really quickly if it happens naturally, like, “How long was your longest relationship?” and just see where that conversation goes. But make sure you both don’t talk about your exes for the entire date**
Another caveat, there are some questions that you might want to save for another date. It’s great to know that your date is willing to be open and honest, but you don’t need to go super, super, uncomfortably deep on the first date, unless it naturally goes there. It’s also good to keep healthy boundaries and not tell your life story to him either. So, it’s best to save these questions for a later date:
“What is your most embarrassing moment?” (this is a maybe, but he will most likely be trying to put his best foot forward with you and he doesn’t necessarily want to think about something as horrifying as this on a first date)
“What is your worst fear?” (this can be fun sometimes, but use your best judgement)
“What is your biggest regret in life?”
“Do you have any childhood trauma?” (this also goes for sharing your own and it’s probably best to avoid getting into this too deeply on a first date)
The key is boundaries. Healthy boundaries. Keep this in mind when you are dating. But most importantly, remember, you are here for you, and you need and deserve information about a person that you are contemplating being intimate with. If the guy across from you is offended by questions, that’s super problematic and may be an indication of his communication skills and his interest in really sharing himself with someone.
PS If your date doesn’t ask you one question about you, that’s a hard pass. No. No thank you. Good-bye.
DATING DON’T #3: DON’T SLEEP WITH HIM ON A FIRST DATE OR BEFORE YOU ARE READY
If you haven’t already, read about my GODDESS DATING GUIDELINES to uncover (and hopefully find some much deserved validation) some dark truths about sex and dating.
I worry that many women, whether they admit it to themselves or others, sleep with a guy early on because they are afraid he will lose interest if they don’t. How many women have done this? Please don’t. Sleeping with a guy on a first date is ludicrous to me. He’s literally a stranger whom you have had words with for maybe a few hours. There is NO way to know who he really is, no matter how well you “connected” on your date. Your home is your temple and your body is your sacred place of worship. Would you let a guy off the street enter into either of these locations? In case you didn’t realize, your date is literally a guy off the street–a complete stranger. If your date is too impatient to wait until you are ready to sleep with him, he would make a TERRIBLE partner. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by making concessions for a man you have just met. If you do this, you will make concessions for him throughout your entire relationship, and that sounds terribly un-fun.
DATING DO #3: DO WAIT UNTIL YOU FEEL READY TO SLEEP WITH THE PERSON YOU ARE DATING
I do think it’s a good idea to get started with the sex earlier rather than later, just because it is part of a relationship, and it is good to know if you are compatible in this way. The sex doesn’t have to be perfect early on, but the way he behaves before, after, and during sex, is very important. However, I think it’s incredibly telling to see how a guy handles not getting sex on the first (or after the first) date. If he’s so desperate for sex on a first date that he pushes or expresses his displeasure when you indicate there will be no sex coming his way, then he is just ew. Ew! He’s also kind of scary and you should not go on anymore dates with him. Sex should never be non-consensual for either party. The guy may want to wait, who knows, and you need to respect that as well.
If you get the feeling a guy is wanting sex at the end of the date, I would nip that in the bud and set a direct and clear boundary. On many dates, I have said something along the lines of, “I like to get to know a man before I become intimate with him, so I just wanted to let you know that, in case you were wondering about tonight.” Sometimes a guy is relieved to know where you stand. Other guys may play it off like that is fine with them, but then keep pushing. No. Just no. You have stated a healthy boundary (the good guys will actually find it super hot when a woman has a strong enough sense of herself to lay out a boundary like that), and he needs to 100% respect that and also assure you that he’s fine with that and that he’s in no rush. This is just me personally, but honestly, if I sense a man is actually anticipating sex on a first date, I will most likely not want to go out with him again. A good guy will want to take things at a healthy pace, will know how to keep it in his pants even if he’s super attracted to you, and will understand that there is more to love than sex and attraction. If a guy’s super horny on the first date, it’s a huge gross turn off. You also need to think about your safety, and if he seems pushy, set a clear boundary and then try to get out of there as quickly as you can.
Again, I talk more about safety and boundaries in dating in this post GODDESS DATING GUIDELINES and I encourage you to read it.
Regardless of how much time it takes you to find your true love, you can really optimize your process if you start following these dos and don’ts. I wasted so many years running in circles, taking advice from single women who slept with men on a first date and who were just as lost as I was. I took so many fairy tale stories from the media as truth and constantly compared myself to Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, or even a random woman on the street who seemed to have it all together, walking hand-in-hand with her hot boyfriend. For all I knew, he could have been a totally abusive narcissist (hopefully not), but they looked great together, and I thought I sucked for not being able to find that. The sooner you can pull back on all of that and begin focusing on how awesome you are, you can start to lead from that goddess vantage point. From this point, every date you go on, you will be presenting yourself as the goddess you are, with high self-worth, healthy boundaries, realistic expectations, and an unwillingness to compromise when it comes to your needs and wants. You deserve all of it, and if you lead with that, that is what you will attract. Good, caring, mature, and loving men will love that about you!
Good luck out there, and please let me know how it goes! xoxo
Image obtained here.