The following is an extract from an article originally written by The Modern Gay for match.com.
“The Dating Game” as it is often referred is an intricate play of tactical maneuvers, distinct rules, and pre-determined positions between two foreign teams who are brought together to achieve mutual victory. The problem though is that nobody knows the rules, the positions are ever changing and the maneuvers that are learnt in training normally don’t work on the field. What’s even more complicating is that after kick-off the game rarely goes to plan as off-sides are called, red cards are given, fouls are made and penalties awarded. More often than not, someone is bound to get hurt or sent-off and ultimately one or both teams leaves the pitch feeling like a loser. In the end, when we date as if it were a game, nobody wins.
While I don’t claim to be a love professional or a coach, I have certainly been on my fair share of dates and I feel that I have learnt a few lessons along the way.
Like many other guys there was a point in my life when I didn’t want to play the game anymore.Wait three days before you message him. Don’t write back straight away. Play it cool. Be mean, keep them keen. Don’t act too gay. Sleep with him regardless. I followed all the rules and believed that with practice would come perfection but I never seemed to score a goal. Then came a series of terrible dates. There was the guy who spoke only about his ex-boyfriend for the duration of dinner, the personal trainer who refused to eat anything that wasn’t green and the gorgeous Italian boy whose English skills were much better online. After a season of disappointing results I was ready to call a time-out or retire early.
I decided to take stock of the situation, to look back over all my dating experiences to see if there was a common problem that could explain my past failures. To my surprise, after deep analysis, I realised that I was in fact the problem. There were three mistakes that I continuously made which could explain why dating was so daunting. These mistakes turned into three lessons that have changed my entire perspective on dating.
Firstly, I realised that I was placing too much pressure on the outcome of the date, willing for it to be a ‘happily ever after’ love story before the referee’s whistle had even been blown. While I have always considered myself to be an independent person, in retrospect, I went through a stage where I was eager to be in a relationship. I empathised with Charlotte from Sex and the City who in one episode desperately exclaimed, “I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” I shared her pain and translated it into a period of binge-dating where every failed attempt at love seemed to be one step further away from Mr. Right. One should never approach dating or love from a place of such desperation. That was my first mistake.
My second mistake was framing dates as if they were job interviews. Will he like this outfit? What questions will he ask? What questions should I ask? What if he doesn’t like me? I hope I give a good impression. Should I be myself? Should I be who I think he’s looking for?
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