One issue we get asked about is “How to Date in a post-#MeToo Era” where there is an increased regard for, and consideration of, gender equity and consensual engagements with women — and rightfully so!
It’s very likely you’ve found yourself in situations and experiences where you’re a bit unclear how to proceed. You’re not sure how to properly communicate your romantic interest and desires without offending your date.
Many guys still have traditional thoughts around dating in a world where things are far from traditional. For generations, we were told men should chase after women and men are to do all the work. On the other hand, as women continue to have equal roles and success in the world, that hasn’t translated into courtship all that well.
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What might have once been regarded as “OK” for men to do is now considered creepy (again, in some cases, rightfully so!). But, for men who are truly conscious of this, it can make guys even more reluctant to approach and strike up a conversation with women they find attractive. This leaves so many of us confused. Let’s not place this all on the men. Women have just as important of a role to play in this as well.
So how do we navigate it all? I’ll break it down into 3 simple rules:
1. Know the Difference Between Reality and Fantasy
Most of what you read and see online isn’t accurate or doesn’t properly reflect reality. This may seem contradictory since you’re reading this article right now. We tend to look for information on challenges we have when it comes to dating, but what you end up with is a one-size-fits-all solution, which never feels “just-right”.
The issue with that is, there is not one piece of information that can work for all humans in all environments. We wish it was easier but it’s just not the case, especially in today’s world.
That being said, it’s important when you do seek advice through content and personal coaching to know the difference between reality and fantasy. Those Instagram models you see revealing lots of skin and cleavage? Not an invitation for overtly sexual comments, gestures, and advances toward the woman who may reveal lots of skin and cleavage at the bar tonight.
On the flip side, keep in mind, while you can control what you wear and it’s your right to wear what makes you feel great, you can’t control the interpretation of others who are checking you out. This also goes for your behavior, especially on dates, which leads to the next major step.
2. Communicate Openly and Honestly
When you fear rejection, the most common belief is if you hold back or hide your thoughts and feelings from your date, you’ll avoid being rejected. When you do this, you’re subconsciously saying you don’t trust the other person.
This belief is counterintuitive and especially doesn’t make sense if you desire a romantic relationship with them. The truth is your date knows if you’re hiding something and THAT is likely to be the reason they wouldn’t want to date you again –– they can’t trust you.
So by doing this, not only are you taking away your date’s ability to decide how to receive your thoughts and feelings, you are also taking away any chance of knowing if your thoughts and feelings are mutual.
The best thing you can do is be open and honest about who you are and your intentions. You’ll know exactly how they feel in return and it’ll limit any possibility of misinterpretation. This goes for both verbal and non-verbal communication. There’s something really powerful about a man who can communicate openly, and with confidence. It shows you are self-assured.
3. Persistence Isn’t Confidence
Previous advice would tell you if they don’t show interest, keep trying or “wear them down” and eventually they’ll “give in.” You’ll see advice saying to ignore the initial indication of disinterest and keep going because “confidence is about seeing no as ‘not yet.’”
This is where boundaries get crossed and you enter into “creeper” territory.
If you’re following the first 2 steps, then you should be seeing more direct feedback from your dates and what they’re communicating has no room for misinterpretation. So if someone isn’t interested in you and has expressed it, it’s unlikely anything you do will change their mind. In fact, it may make things worse.
Trying to bypass the “no” is what makes your date feel creeped out and uncomfortable. This holds true especially when on a date and things are going well. If there’s a limit that’s reached and your date expresses it, it’s important to acknowledge and respect that boundary.
True confidence comes as a result of accepting and respecting yourself and your date.
Openness, Honesty, Acceptance, and Respect
Dating and relationships in the #MeToo era can be intimidating and confusing but my belief is it’ll create a stronger platform for openness, honesty, acceptance, and respect for each other while dating and in a relationship. At the end of the day, we all want connection and love and if you express it clearly, it’ll only be a matter of time before that connection and love is reciprocated.