A Guide to Self-Care While Dating It's a jungle out there. Take care.

By Mary Adelle



Hello, babes. How is the summer treating you? My summer self-care includes being barefoot as much as possible, eating all the fresh fruit and being a little more lax with my “responsibilities.” Love those lazy summer days!

This month’s column is all about how to take care of yourself while dating… which as many of us know, can be a grueling, exciting, terrifying, awful, electric experience. (P.S. If you’re not currently dating or you’re partnered up, I still think these tips could be of value. The main point is to live your truth.)

Write down what you want.

This. Seriously. Helps. Maybe you’re just looking to have fun right now, which is totally and completely fine. In that case, you probably don’t have to get too specific with your requirements. Just be safe! If you’re looking to meet someone for a more long-term thing, write down what you want out of this human being. Be as picky as possible, right down to their favorite snack. Okay, maybe that’s a little too specific (though it should obviously be chips and guac), but try not to critique yourself while writing down your expectations for/of/in a partner—you’re allowed to want and need things in a relationship. Once you’ve written a list, go through and circle the nonnegotiables. As you’re dating and meeting new people, visit that list every once in a while and remind yourself of your autonomous, important desires.

Take breaks.

…particularly if you’re using apps or online dating sites. Don’t burn yourself out swiping through pictures and reading through “Hey what’s up” messages. If you’re going to bars or meet-ups, participating in intramural sports, etc. to meet potential dates, be sure to schedule these outings carefully. Maybe plan on one day/night a week for “date scoping,” for example, and fill the rest of the week with friend visits, work, or alone time/relaxation. I would, however, change up which day you “date scope” every week so that you’re not seeing the same people at the same places all the time.

Be yourself.

This is so much easier said than done, particularly when meeting new people who you’re attracted to and want to impress. (And also because we’re constantly learning new things about ourselves, so self-definition is variable…but that’s another story.) Try to be aware of your words and actions as you’re getting to know a potential partner, but don’t overthink it. Dating is a balance of feeling and genuinely experiencing and learning about each other while keeping your most authentic self at the forefront. If you find this extremely hard to do, then you’re most likely dating people who are not right for you (check your list!). Also keep in mind that little white lies are natural and they just slip out sometimes (i.e. “Oh yeah! I love that band!”…that you’ve never actually listened to). Don’t beat yourself up.

Take time for you. 

If you’re moving past dating/playing the field and have started seeing someone regularly, take time for yourself outside of the relationship you’re building. Work out, create things, rest, cook, be with friends, etc. I personally believe the most important relationship you have is with yourself, and no matter what age you are, you should be taking time to discover new aspects and dreams and desires. At the same time, I also want to make a case for indulging in a new relationship. Just like summertime, a new love can make you a bit lackadaisical with any outside responsibilities. That’s okay. Be happy. Live life. Live your truth.

I leave you with a quote from the wisest, strongest, most sensual single woman I know, Tina Belcher: “Flirt a little, wink a little.” Oh, and trust your gut! Always.

Take good (self) care,

Mary Adelle

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