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8 ways to go for what you want when dating

Instead of waiting for the ‘right one’ to appear, go for what you want in your love life.

In the realm of adult dating, there’s a prevailing notion that you should approach relationships with a more laissez-faire attitude, taking whatever comes your way without explicitly stating your wants and needs. However, this mindset can lead to confusion, miscommunication and dissatisfaction.

Knowing what you want in a partner shouldn’t be a deterrent when dating. In fact, it is the cornerstone of building fulfilling and meaningful connections – just don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

“At the end of the day, it’s out of your control, so take a deep breath and flow with life. You’ll live a much happier experience that way,” says Thalia Ouimet, a New York-based dating coach, matchmaker and author of How to Attract the Right Guy. “The key is to have an abundant mindset that whatever is meant for you will come.”

Know yourself

Before diving straight into the somewhat murky dating pool, take time to introspect and understand your values, priorities and non-negotiables. What are your expectations of a partner? Which qualities do you admire and appreciate? How do you respond to conflict? Knowing yourself first empowers you to articulate your desires with more clarity and confidence, opening your line of sight to individuals who align with your core values and beliefs.

Set boundaries

Boundaries serve as a guiding framework for healthy relationships. Identify your boundaries concerning physical intimacy, communication frequency and personal space, and express them clearly. Remember, setting boundaries isn’t about being rigid or unyielding, it’s about honouring your needs and fostering mutual respect within the relationship.

Embrace assertiveness

Assertiveness is a key attribute. Be confident when expressing your opinions, concerns and preferences, and practise assertive communication by using ‘I’ statements to convey your thoughts and feelings. This will avoid shifting blame or jumping to conclusions. Assertiveness not only garners respect but also cultivates a deeper level of authenticity and connection.

Communicate openly

Effective communication is paramount on dates. Whether you’re seeking a committed relationship or casual companionship, communicate your desires honestly and respectfully, being transparent about your expectations, intentions and boundaries. This ensures that both parties are on the same page, preventing any misunderstandings down the line.

Trust your instincts

“Discernment is very important when it comes to dating. You want to use your intuition or ‘gut feeling’ to vet people,” Thalia says. “Remember, not everyone is truthful, and practising discernment allows you to stay clear-headed and seek truth.” If something feels off or doesn’t align with your values, address it or walk away. Your intuition or ‘gut feeling’ is a valuable compass that will guide you towards compatible partners who honour and appreciate you for who you are.


Resist the urge to mould yourself into someone you’re not to fit societal expectations or please a potential partner


Stay true to yourself

Authenticity is magnetic, especially during later stages of adulthood. Resist the urge to mould yourself into someone you’re not to fit societal expectations or please a potential partner. Embrace your quirks, strengths and vulnerabilities – the right person will value you for your realness. “I encourage singles to not compare yourself to others when it comes to anything, but especially to love. Everyone is on their own journey and everyone’s journey looks different. Stay focused on you, be happy for others and show gratitude,” says Thalia.

Seek support when you need it

Dating can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when you encounter challenges or setbacks you might not have planned for. Remember to be patient and don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family or a professional counsellor who can offer you guidance, perspective and encouragement.

Practise self-care

Dating isn’t all the movies make it out to be! Take things at your own pace and engage in solo activities that nourish your mind, body and spirit, whether it’s practising mindfulness or pursuing hobbies, and spend quality time with loved ones and friends. Cultivating self-love and resilience helps you to navigate the ups and downs of dating.

These steps that are designed to equip you with an arsenal based on your needs and wants, so that you can empower yourself to navigate the landscape of modern-day dating with confidence. The journey to finding your perfect match is a process of self-discovery and growth. Stay true to yourself, trust your instincts and approach each interaction with an open heart and mind. Your ideal partner is out there, waiting to embark on a journey with you.

Words by: Insaaf Abrahams
Photo: Gallo/Getty Images

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