It’s relatively easy to find love (or lust) when we’re in college. Everyone is together all the time, we don’t have a ton of responsibilities, and most of us are exploring our first real relationships. But boy let me tell you: for better or worse, things change drastically when we get out and start dating in the real world.
The following 10 points are applicable to anyone who is ready to date after college, whether you just graduated a week ago or you’re already in your 30s. They are also applicable whether you’re looking for a serious relationship or whether you’re not ready for that type of commitment. Which brings me to point number one:
Why? Do you want to date for fun? Why? Dating without clear intention is like getting into a car with no GPS and driving 100 miles until you finally arrive somewhere.
What type of person is a good match for you? What are the character traits and values that you look for? What are you NOT willing to tolerate? Be sure that the type of person you want is compatible with who you are.
So much of the reason we choose the wrong partners is that we don’t understand our own emotional needs, which means we don’t understand how to choose someone who is compatible with those needs. The sooner you understand how attachment works, the easier your dating life will be.
What are you willing to offer? Who are you? What can you give to someone else? True love is a love of giving, not a love of receiving. Both are important of course, but always lead with what you’re willing to give.
We should have stopped playing games after 8th grade. After college there is really no excuse. The basis of every successful relationship is successful communication, so start communicating effectively.
What is important to you in life? What do you believe is worth fighting for? What are some core principles you’d like to teach your children? Get clear on this and find someone who shares most of your values. With shared values, your relationship can outlast anything. Without shared values, your relationship will crumble as soon as the wind blows.
Stop doing childish (or collegeish) things. You’re out of college, so no more binge drinking, smoking pot all day, sleeping in until 11am, having one-night-stands, et cetera. This is a major step in successful dating post-college.
If you want to get better at tennis, you learn from a great tennis instructor and model his/her moves. Similarly, if you want to get better at dating, you learn what goes into successful dating and begin practicing it. Unfortunately nobody teaches us this stuff in college.
Again, this applies whether you’re 22 or 35. Learn why this is so important.
Integration is the process of bringing all of the areas of your life into harmony with one another: your career, your romantic relationship, your family & friends, your mental & emotional health, and your hobbies. Make sure there is balance and that your dating life fits in appropriately with the rest.
Good luck out there, and let us know how we can help.
Kevin Nahai from the Keys team
Dating & Relationship Coach