I love watching the television show The Bachelor.
I’ve realised that for me it is not too dissimilar to how my partner watches football. I have my favourites that I cheer for; I scream at the television when there’s been foul play and I am left disappointed when attempts to score are thwarted.
And it is as an armchair player at home that I offer my words of wisdom to all of the players. The following are the things that I like to shout at the telly and the real world tips we can take away for dating without the cameras.
1. You’re on a TV Show!
Real World Take Away: Context matters
If you are drinking in a bar when you meet a guy don’t be surprised if he doesn’t notice the full complexity of your personality. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get how smart and competent you are at work, or how caring and thoughtful you are with your family and friends.
You are in a crowded space, you are drinking, and it’s loud. He is most probably not going to look past how attractive you are to look at to, how much fun you are having and how warm and flirty you are. Not because he is a player, but because it is logistically hard to do otherwise.
Enjoy it for what it is, fun. You don’t need to push against your context by resenting the shallowness of it.
2. Don’t worry about the other girls!
Real World Take Away: Be Present
He may be dating other women, flirt with another girl at the party after he just met you or have other girls checking him out in a bar; but when he is with you he is with you.
When you are talking with him give him your full and absolute attention. Let go of worrying about anyone else and when he is front of you be in the moment with him. Enjoy your conversation, your interaction and your spark if there is one.
Don’t get caught up by his physical absence, he could be thinking of you when he is on his next date for all you know. So save yourself the energy and don’t concern yourself with it.
Worrying about other girls early on sends our self-esteem the message that he’s the more valuable person in this interaction. Remind yourself of just how much of a catch you are.
3. He gave you a rose for a reason!
Real World Take Away: Stop looking for more signs that he’s into you after he just gave you a sign.
If he tells you that he likes you; that he enjoys your company and he’s looking forward to getting to know you better then believe him. Chill out, relax and trust that it will unfold organically.
And if it doesn’t then he’s not the one for you, so you will be free to move on.
4. Make friends with the other girls!
Real World Take Away: Put your eggs in more than one basket.
New relationships are exciting, whether they are romantic or not. Developing other new relationships whilst you are dating is a great way to mitigate your emotional risk.
This could be a simple as saying good morning to strangers on your way to work, flirting with your local barista, or following through on a planned catch up with someone you clicked with at a party. Create interactions that put a spring in your step.
Don’t let a text message from your new love interest be the biggest highlight of your day. Let it be one of many that make you feel giggly inside.
5. That’s not his mansion or his boat!
Real World Take Away: The life you are currently living is going to look similar to the life that you would live together.
When we are first dating it is so easy to get caught up in all of the exciting and superfluous stuff around our new beau.
We all love to fantasise and that’s great. But if he doesn’t offer you a rose, then don’t morn the loss of this fantastic and glamorous life that you dreamt you could have had together.
He’s just a guy made from the same flesh and blood as you, you would have had similar frustrations with your new Bachelor as you have experienced with all of your ex’s.
The level of glamour and adventure that you live in your own life is totally up to you.
6. Keep your Crazy in a Bottle!
Real World Take Away: Not because you don’t wish to scare him off. I say this to mean if your insecurities are popping up; then be open and let him know rather than unleash upon him out of context.
Give him something to work with; if you are feeling jealous then let him know about it. He may be empathic and supportive or he may not be, but at least you’ve given your relationship the opportunity to see how you navigate these issues together.
If he was tired and frustrated from work for instance, wouldn’t you prefer him to be open with you about it then take it out on you in a confusing context?
7. Be Yourself!
Real World Take Away: You are only one good date away from never dating again.
Dating is a fantastic opportunity to get to know lots of new people who will help you to define what it is you are looking for in a mate as well as your life. Being yourself is going to enrich this process, being what you think your new mate is looking for is only going to take you further from where you want to be.
The best way to be yourself is to be in the moment. As best you can try blocking out your fears and expectations of the future, and your regrets and hurts from the past.
8. He’s not your boyfriend!
Real World Take Away: Respect the men you are dating as people who are on their own journey that has happened to intersect with yours.
Things that you both thought were absolutes in life may now change and shift because of the new information that you have brought to each other. All you need to worry about is right now is, are you enjoying his company?
Dating is nothing more than a ‘toe dip’ of a relationship. By the time you both decide to dive in headfirst your dynamic is going to be very different. So relax and try not to keep a scorecard or a checklist early on. Try not to judge him on paper or from what he or anyone else tells you about him.
Let it develop naturally over a period of time that is reasonable to you, what’s the rush?
9. It’s not his loss! It’s your gain!
Real World Take Away: You were really keen on him but he didn’t give you a rose. It’s not because you’re a lousy prospect, it is because he has seen something about your interaction that you’ve ignored.
He get’s that there is a better match for him elsewhere, and if it’s true for him then it’s true for you too. He has helped you dodge a bullet by ending it before things got serious.
10. This is not the end!
Real World Take Away: Finding Prince Charming and marrying him doesn’t end with a happily ever after in real life so why do so many of us buy into the fairy-tale?
Whether you make it through every rose ceremony and he proposes or you are booted off the show in the first episode, your romantic journey is still going to continue.
Have you ever hit a big goal or milestone in your life and then everything has been smooth sailing from there on in?
Your relationship with your Bachelor is going to have just as many ups and down and just as much good and bad as your current dating life. Now please don’t let me hear you say “Well at least I’ll have someone to help and support me through those challenges, I won’t be on my own.”
You’re not on your own right now; I’d say there are at least 10 people in your life who truly and deeply care about you. Start paying attention to all that you have rather than all that you don’t.
After all, isn’t this the most precious gift that you can offer to your Bachelor? Who wouldn’t want to be with a girl who is appreciative of all that she has, because once the shine wears off you’ll need to make that same effort to appreciate him too.
Enjoy the journey no matter where you are at because your enjoyment of the final rose ceremony will be fleeting. Finding and falling in love with your own Bachelor is a milestone, it’s not your end game.