Underrated Dating Tips From a Dating Advisor

By: - February 13, 2024

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My first article for Intellectual Takeout was “Top 10 Dating Tips from a Dating Advisor.” Today, I’m diving deeper and discussing the most underrated tips I’ve come across in five years of working with engaged and married couples and writing practical advice for daters in today’s crazy hookup culture. Many of the people I’ve met and interviewed have shared some truly genius tips and tricks for singles! Sometimes details really are everything. Here are some of the best ones I’ve come across that we can all start using today.

1. Call it a “date.” It’s amazing what a tiny bit of clarity can do for our dating lives! Using specific terms like date avoids any ambiguity, unlike the modern popular phrases like “let’s hang out” or “DM me.” Later down the dating road, putting a clear label on the relationship is also helpful: Are we a couple, or are we “just talking”? We shouldn’t settle for a situationship when we are trying to pursue a true relationship. Using clear wording and terminology will go a long way toward attaining this goal.

2. Meet up as soon as possible. Much of looking for dates these days occurs online, which, for its many benefits, also has a very specific pitfall: talking indefinitely. It’s easy to get trapped in messaging or texting and never actually meet in-person. We can fix this by putting a time limit on the talking phase. When that time limit expires, we can either schedule a real date or end the conversation and move on. This will help us stay focused on finding love in the real world without getting bogged down by conversations that lead nowhere.

3. When in doubt, go on another date. If we’re very serious about looking for a marriage partner, there can be way too much pressure on first dates. First dates are supposed to be for the purpose of getting to know another person, not to determine whether or not we should marry them. Unrealistic expectations leave little room for flexibility or giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. I can’t tell you how many couples ended up happily married simply because they gave each other a second chance!

4. Get off birth control. Hormonal birth control legitimately changes women’s brain chemistry and, as a result, can cause us to seek out men we wouldn’t find attractive otherwise. Obviously, this is disastrous for our dating lives! Ditching birth control so our natural hormonal cycles can return is one of the best ways women can set themselves up for romantic success.

5. Keep breakups amicable. We inadvertently build ourselves a “dating reputation” through our breakups, whether we handle them calmly and respectfully or dramatically and angrily. Friends will tell friends, exes will remember us, and word gets around. We should all strive to maintain a clean record not just for our future relationships but also for the good of those we date.

6. Don’t sleep around. I won’t harp on this topic further: Hookup culture has ample negative effects on those involved and on society as a whole. We do ourselves a huge favor by not participating in it.

7. Ask friends and family for date setups. Sometimes the best matches are hidden in our extended social circles! I’ve interviewed many couples who happened to meet online but later discover mutual connections in real life. I have three cousins and two friends who got married this past year; three of them met through mutual friends, and two were blind dates! I believe more of us could find romantic connections by exploring our existing social networks.

8. Choose online dating apps based on traditional values. For instance, my sisters and I all met our spouses on CatholicMatch because our religion was central to our lives. There are plenty of other dating apps based on religious views, political stance, and lifestyle choices. Turning to sites like these will help singles connect with others who share their values. Using mainstream dating apps and hoping to find a traditionalist match is essentially looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s far simpler to clear away the hay beforehand!

9. Know your personal pitfalls. On top of knowing what we want, it’s equally important to know our so-called shadow side. Some people have great values but unrealistically expect perfection in themselves and others. Other people might act on infatuation and ignore red flags. Some might hesitate to commit out of shyness or overthinking. The list can go on forever. The point is to know ourselves so we can be aware of our own particular demons when they rear their heads.

10. Have a default first-date plan. I heard this idea from fellow writer Lillian Fallon, who discussed the benefits of a go-to first-date routine. She specifically mentioned wearing a specific outfit and sticking to a time limit on getting ready. Another writer, Isaac Huss, expanded on this thought. He said men can even go as far as choosing the same location, restaurant, or even menu items! He suggests that this takes the pressure off all the question marks of a first date. If we don’t have to worry about what to wear, where to meet, or what to order, we will be more mentally free to focus on the other person.

Traditional dating is making a great comeback! Not only is old-fashioned love and marriage surviving, but it is thriving in the circles I am in. Take heart! The work, time, and energy we pour into our dating lives is worth every moment. The key to romantic success is to truly live our values and seek other singles who do the same. That’s how the best marriages are built!

Image credit: Pexels


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