What is it about red flags that make us want to ignore them? Here are all the things I wish I knew about dating when I was younger
Nobody actually prepares you for how exhausting dating can be; at some point, you can become so let down and disillusioned that you think about giving up on love altogether. When this happens, recalibrate and give yourself time to process your disappointments (and cynicism). Because when you allow yourself that grace to learn from that particular season in your life, you’ll be surprised at how things can turn around! Most of the time, it’s also just telling yourself that you did your best with what (little) you knew at the time.
Navigating the perplexing yet rich world of dating especially in a pandemic (!) takes time and a lot of energy. If you’re thinking about getting back out there this Love Month, here are some things to keep in mind.
Alie, 27, Doctor
When I was younger I wish I wasn’t caught up in finding the “perfect one” and being so keen on “forever.” There are romantic entanglements, like any other relationship, that may perish in the long run—and that’s okay. It’s also a matter of simultaneously discovering yourself. We get what we can (both the good and the bad) from those relationships to help become better beings.
Anonymous, 26, HR
You can be objective about your relationships and call it quits earlier than expected. Sometimes, we drag out the relationship probably thinking “I’ve invested too much time, emotion and resources to waste [it],” but in the long run, it will still end in grief. Properly thinking about where the relationship is going earlier would spare you some pain.
Sarah, 34, Business Head
Cut the bullshit and be upfront about boundaries. Tell the other person if you're not looking for anything serious and are open to just casual and fun dating. If you want to take it to the next level, open communication is key. Say that you'd like to exclusively date, but be respectful if the other person declines or isn't ready.
Anon, 29, Social Media Girl
I wish I knew how to be more ~transactional, lol. I've “dated” a lot of men in my 20s (air quotes 'cause some of them got stuck in the talking stage), but I would always think if they're giving me time and attention (bare minimum, btw), and if we have a lot of things in common, it means they're into me. Guess they're just into…my pants. 😩
I wish I also knew how to be more assertive when dealing with men. Younger me would just agree to what they want without thinking hard enough about what I really want for myself. I just thought things would work out if I was always amenable to whatever. Now, I'm putting myself first! 🙂
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Greg, 27, Banker
I wish I knew how hard it can be to deal with breakups. Nobody ever really tells you how much a heartbreak takes a toll on both your mental and physical health. It would've been nice to have some idea of it to kind of prepare yourself—though I'm not sure you really could anyway.
Jebby, 30, Partnerships Lead
You may have all the standards in the world—handsome, smart, funny, etc.—but if the person you're with is not kind: to you, to family, to others who are less fortunate in life, then they are not the one. I've [been] in the dating scene for a good four years (2014 to 2018) and met a gamut of men. As in siz, meeting all the physical standards but none really worked out until I met my current SO. He is the kindest person I know and rubs a bit of it on me. Sobrang icing on the cake na lang ‘yung pogi, matalino at successful siya (It’s just icing on the cake that he’s handsome, smart and successful). Kindness should be your #1 standard. Hindi ka magkakamali dun (You can’t go wrong with that).
Matthew, 27, Medical Doctor
I wish I had been more picky when it comes to the people I dated. If only I had a better understanding of my self-worth back then, it would have saved me from dating a lot of people that I wish I had never dated to begin with. That it's okay to wait. That it's okay to be picky. That we should really never settle.
Kimmy, 31, IT Support Manager
How I wish I knew my nego and non-nego when it comes to dating or being in a relationship when I was in my teens or early 20s, so that I would not have [had] a hard time communicating my feelings and didn’t stretch my boundaries. Love is indeed not enough to keep the relationship going, it’s a balance of everything. Well, good news for me, because as a single-with-no-talking-stage-left currently, I can apply my [wishes in] my present life 💖 Lessons learned!
Anonymous, 27, Physician
There’s no hurry in getting into a relationship. The length of relationships should not be the basis if you should stay or go.
I wish I knew that my gut is more trustworthy than my head. A bad feeling about someone shouldn't be ignored, no matter how well you or the person can reason away any doubt. Trust 👏🏻 your 👏🏻 gut 👏🏻
Also: Attraction doesn't lead to love, love leads to attraction.
Bryan Laroza, 24, Stylist
When I was younger, I wish I had special glasses that [had] the ability to distinguish guys who are flirting [from] those who’re only being friendly. I’ve caught myself in countless situations wherein I [hoped] I [could] read their minds to tell whether they’re trying to hit on me or they just want me to be their friend. Because back then, it was always so embarrassing to reciprocate the other person’s gesture as if you think they’re trying to non-verbally court you. LOL!
Pee after sex because you can get a UTI.
Anonymous, 28, Physician
Not everyone has the same heart as you.
Anonymous, 26, Physician
1. Dating is not all about love.
2. Red flags should also be embraced.
Anonymous, 24, HR
Dating can definitely be intimidating at first, but it’s one heck of a teacher. Take in the lessons, and let others teach you—but discernment is key, so you won’t lose yourself in the process.
Want to share the things you wish you knew about dating when you were younger? We’re here to listen. Send yours via this form, and you might just find your thoughts published on Wonder. Don’t worry, you can be anonymous!
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